antisemitism,  Your View

The Unbearable Lightness of Racism

This is HP reader Eyal’s view on Aftonbladet’s antisemitic article

A top left-leaning Swedish newspaper published this week a story claiming that IDF troops abduct young men from the West Bank and Gaza, and harvest their internal organs.

Haaretz reports:

“They plunder the organs of our sons,” read the headline in Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, the left-leaning Aftonbladet, which devoted a double spread in its cultural section to the article.

The report quotes Palestinian claims that young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israel Defense Forces, and their bodies returned to the families with missing organs.

“‘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,” writes author Donald Boström in his report.“

Simply put, the article is a blood libel. The author plays on the darkest and most perverse stereotypes of Jews, to depict IDF soldiers literally as child-eating monsters. According to the Haaretz report, the article makes a link to the recent exposure of an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey, headed by Jewish rabbis, which was accused of organ trafficking.

Fortunately, another Swedish paper was quick to call them out on that:

“We have heard the story before, in one form or the other. It follows the traditional pattern of conspiracy theory: a great number of loose threads that the theorist tempts the reader to tie into a neat knot without having been provided with any proven connection whatsoever,” writes leading columnist Mats Skogkär of Sydsvenskan.

“Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors. That is all it takes. After all we all know what they [the Jews] are like, don’t we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything,” the opinion piece says. “Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: ‘Anti-Semitism’ No, no, just criticism of Israel.”

This incident is so outrageous, that even the Swedish embassy in Israel was quick to condemn it:

“Sweden’s ambassador to Israel issued a press release on Wednesday condemning the article which appeared in Aftonbladet.

“The article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is as shocking and appalling to us Swedes, as it is to Israeli citizens,” the ambassador, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier, said on Wednesday.”

“Just as in Israel, freedom of the press prevails in Sweden,” Bonnier said. “However, freedom of the press and freedom of expression are freedoms which carry a certain responsibility.”

Seeing this story, and others like it that appear from time to time, reminds me of an old joke I heard years ago:

In Nazi Germany, a group of thugs jump an elderly Jew and pin him to the ground.

“Who’s to blame for the war?!” they yell.
“The Jews and the bicycle riders”, the Jew answers immediately.
“Why the bicycle riders?” they ask, puzzled.
“Why the Jews?”

The “joke”, of-course, being that the racists can’t fathom why a group of unrelated individuals would be held accountable for something that they obviously have nothing to do with, but are all too happy to accept the collective responsibility of Jews.

Nowadays, this behaviour is symptomatic of many ‘progressive’ groups in the left. The incredible lightness in which ‘enlightened’ people can blame Jews and “Zionists” for everything that they think is wrong with… well, anything…

Reading HP, I am sometimes absolutely dumb-stuck by how groups on the far left and on the far right find common ground by opposing ‘Zionism’. As if Zionism had some sinister globally-encompassing agenda that sent its tentacles deep into the affairs of all nations. As if opposing Zionism was the only thing that defined them. As if eliminating Zionism would solve all the problems of the world…

Fascists obviously hate Zionists because they hate Jews in general. But what amazes me is how people from the center and leftwards use “Zionism” as some sort of magical bean, some ambiguous dark entity, at which they can funnel all their hatred and bias, without being considered “racist”.

This trend of “opposing Zionism” is all too common among leftist groups. It is how supposedly progressive people associate themselves with authoritarian, right-wing or Islamist homophobes, women oppressors, and bigots. And this is how they can make themselves believe any fairy tale they hear, as long as it blames the “Zionists”.

As DavidT put it earlier this week, this is the anatomy of a lynching.

Imagine why that is.

Maybe next time something like this comes up, perhaps they will blame bicycle riders instead.

habibi adds:

As reported by Eyal above, Ambassador Bonnier offered some very frank remarks as the controversy began.

Well, according to this report, she has been verbally disowned by headquarters:

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday said a response by the Swedish Embassy in Israel to a report by the Aftonbladet news saying IDF soldiers killed Palestinians in order to harvest their organs does not represent the government’s stance.

The embassy had stated that the report was “appalling”. But the Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman said, “The embassy in Tel Aviv responded in accordance to Israeli public opinion, however the Swedish government is committed to freedom of the press.”

So the ambassador “responded in accordance to Israeli public opinion” to rank antisemitism? Oh dear. How terrible.

Aftonbladet’s editor is certainly feeling free to speak up:

Following the ambassador’s remarks, Aftonbladet editor Jan Helin said: “It’s deeply unpleasant and sad to see such a strong propaganda machine using centuries-old anti-Semitic images in an apparent attempt to get an obviously topical issue off the table.

He accused the Swedish ambassador of “a flagrant assault on freedom of speech” for her criticisms and denied any suggestion of anti-Semitism from his paper.

Ah, Jews running the “propaganda machine” when they are incensed by baseless blood libels. How dare they, the enemies of free speech.

Well, here’s what the Swedish foreign ministry got up to in another freedom of speech case – the Mohammed cartoons:

Levonline’s Anna Larsson confirmed in an interview with Swedish Radio that the foreign ministry and the security service were behind the closing of the party’s website.

“We have been in touch with both the foreign ministry and Säpo, and in discussion with them have decided that this is the best thing to do,” she said.

Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds denied on Friday that the government had applied pressure on Levonline.

“If someone closes down their site, or if a newspaper decides to do so in some way, then that is their own decision, based I hope on the information that they have received. I hope that we have been able to provide information,” she said.

Säpo’s director general, Klas Bergenstrand, said that agents had been in contact with the company and “forwarded our threat assessment to those who are responsible for the technical side of things.”

Bergenstrand refused to release details of the threat assessment to the press.

So, it seems, if there is a threat of violence, one gets serious Swedish results. If instead disgusting antisemitism is challenged peacefully, the answer is “get lost”.

Pathetic and sickening.