Herb Keinon , THE JERUSALEM POST
The Foreign Ministry responded furiously on Tuesday to a story in Sweden's largest circulation daily, Aftonbladet, that accused IDF soldiers of abducting Palestinians to steal their organs, saying this was a grotesque throwback to the blood libels of the Middle Ages.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor characterized the story as "racist hysteria at its worst."
"No one should tolerate such a demonizing piece of medieval blood libel that surely encourages hate crimes against Jews," Palmor said. "This is a shame to freedom of expression, and all Swedes should reject it unconditionally."
Israel's embassy in Stockholm was expected to issue a sharp denunciation.
In the story, headlined "They plunder the organs of our sons," and accompanied by a gruesome photograph, Palestinians are quoted as saying IDF soldiers kidnapped their sons and stole organs.
Haaretz quoted Donald Bostrom as writing the following:
"'Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,' relatives of Khaled from Nablus said to me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin, as well as the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who all had disappeared for a few days and returned by night, dead and autopsied."
The article makes reference to the recent arrests in New Jersey of several US Jews, including rabbis, for a number of alleged crimes, including brokering the sale of organs for transplant.
The story also cites allegations of similar instances of organ-snatching in 1992, during the first intifada.
The Foreign Ministry was not the only party aghast at the story, and smelling the stench of anti-Semitism. A competing newspaper, Sydsvenskan, ran an op-ed on the story under the headline "Antisemitbladet," in an obvious reference to Aftonbladet's name.
"Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors," wrote Swedish columnist Mats Skogkar. "That is all it takes. After all, we all know what they [the Jews] are like, don't we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything. Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: 'Anti-Semitism? No, no, just criticism of Israel.'"