Indeed — they’ve even spread to me. An update on this story. “Anatomy of a Swedish Blood Libel: Allegations of Israeli organ theft are ugly, false, harmful–and they spread,” by Andrea Levin in the Wall Street Journal, October 14 (thanks to Dan):
Allegations that Israel plunders and trafficks Palestinians’ organs are ugly, false, and harmful to peace efforts. No less dangerous–such libels spread.
The Aug. 17 story by Donald Bostrom in Aftonbladet, Scandanavia’s leading daily, has quickly metastasized to mainstream Muslim media, spawning cartoons of Jews stealing body parts and drinking Arab blood. These have been published in Syria, Qatar, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman, to name a few.
In early September, Algeria’s al-Khabar newspaper echoed Mr. Bostrom in a new fantasy claiming Jewish-directed gangs of Algerians and Moroccans round up Algerian children, spirit them into Morocco and thence to Israel to have their body parts harvested and sold. On Sept. 17, Iran’s PressTV breathlessly declared “an international Jewish conspiracy to kidnap children and harvest their organs is gathering momentum.”
Hate-filled Web sites have also taken up the theme. Almost invariably, wherever such permutations on the idea of Israeli organ theft appear, Aftonbladet is cited.
Of course, Mr. Bostrom has enjoyed newfound acclaim in some quarters for his article. As the fresh rumors of child-snatching and organ theft circulated in Algeria, the National Federation of Algerian Journalists welcomed him last month to bestow an award for excellence, and promised support for his work.
Meanwhile, editors at Aftonbladet have neither acknowledged nor corrected any of the factual errors that litter the article, and instead react with indignation to charges of misconduct. In a perversion of journalistic standards, Editor-in-chief Jan Helin admitted on his own blog on Aug. 19 that Aftonbladet had no evidence for the incendiary charges against Israel. Nevertheless, according to another Aftonbladet editor cited in Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper on Aug. 20, Mr. Helin’s publication “stands behind the demand for an international inquiry” into Israeli actions….