Moments in time captured with various odd symbols referred to in the lingua franca as letters.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Anti-Semitism, Aftonbladet, and Freedom of the press.

I have no way of knowing how much you, dear readers, are aware of the current "crises" between the Swedish and Israeli Governments. I will however attempt to give you a quick rundown. First let me be honest; I am biased towards Sweden as I am half Swedish and up till a few months ago lived there.

Donald Boström wrote an article where he makes the accusation for the sake of bringing it to the public´s attention that the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) might be stealing organs from some of the palestinians that they kill in combat albeit those they take back to their base to do "autopsies" on. Question number one; why would you do an autopsy on someone you shot in combat, or do you not have any faith in the power of your own weapons?

The Israeli foreign ministry and also Mr. Netanyahu accuse Aftonbladet and Boström of bringing up old Anti-semitic claims against the jews and that they are showing off the racism that is apparently evident in that neutral land (we can discuss this at another time). They also demand that the Swedish government distance itself from this article and condemn it. The Swedish government refuses to do so and states (quite correctly) that according to their constitution they are not permitted to do so. Question number two; why are the Israelis reading Aftonbladet?

Aftonbladet is really a tabloid where celebrity gossip is mixed with fairly small snippets about international affairs and some actual first class sports journalism. Let me restate this: Aftonbladet is a Tabloid. Sweden´s law prohibits the government from making positive or negative statements about the press, that is their law. Why is Israel pressing a nation to go against its constitution when they don´t appreciate anyone telling them what to do? Whether or not the article is false or not I know not. Boström presents no evidence except a photo of a palestinian man who was killed by the IDF and then autopsied for some reason. He also connected it with some organ ring in the US supposedly run by a rabbi. Whether or not there is truth I know not. I doubt it however.

The next topic is the accusation that the Swedes are showing Anti-semitism here. This is Israels go to answer whenever it is criticized for anything. However the problem is that Israel is a state and not a people group. True the population of Israel is primarily Jewish but this in itself is another dilemma: is being jewish a religion or a race? Apparently if one criticizes the IDF which is a part of the state of Israel then one is Anti-semitic. Therefore any critic can be labeled easily as racist and ethnocentric and written off. That is pretty pathetic. If Boström had alluded that this was normal "jew" behavior then he would have been anti-semitic. He was however not making a claim like this and so I find the Israeli statement labelling this as Anti-Semitism fairly weak. Further Israel is now acting like they are going to not allow Swedish journalists access to the country. The Swedish Journalist association made a statement about this today in Dagens Nyheter; till now only dictatorships have done things like that.

Lesson learned; In Israel whatever a tabloid writes is cause for indignation.

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