Friday, December 11, 2009

Obama: 'take your hands off the Land of Israel!'”

Americans may still be stuck in the dream world provided by the Obama illusion machine (although they are starting to wake up in record numbers), but Israelis are taking to the streets protesting the American imposed freeze on buildings in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. These are some of the photos from the Dec. 9th, demonstration in Jerusalem, organized by the Yesha Council and attended by tens of thousands of Israelis:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Blood Libels" fuel the New Anti-Semitism

The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet's August 2009 story accusing the IDF of harvesting Palestinian organs is the latest in the long and dark history of European Antisemitism. Donald Bostrom, the author of the offensive piece, duly demonstrated his utter lack of any basic journalistic standards when he said: "But whether it's true or not - I have no idea, I have no clue." On top of this, the story was further undermined as one of the Palestinian families interviewed said they never told any reporter that their son was missing organs.

With the credibility of the story in tatters one might have expected the outrageous accusations to have a limited shelf life or to disappear altogether. However, the Swedish blood libel is a textbook case study of how what starts as an article published in a language read by few from a country of limited international influence can turn into a poison that spreads much wider.

Perhaps no one can prevent the spread of such poison through the Internet and beyond. But it is still incumbent upon us to act as a bulwark and to ensure that the truth and an antidote to the poison appears online to counter the lies.

Such falsehoods take on a life of their own on Internet message boards. Some media outlets save their comments for perpetuity. For the miss informed, a comment or post on a message board may even become a valid source through a search engine such as Google or Yahoo.

A look at one example of this may be an indicator of the long-term consequences of the Swedish blood libel.

In a November 2008 story on the confirmation of uranium traces at a Syrian site bombed by Israel in September 2007, the discussion on CNN's message board invariably turned to accusations that Israel was responsible for the uranium.

One commenter posts from an article by Robert Fisk in The Independent from October 2006 that claimed that Israel had used uranium bombs during the 2006 Lebanon conflict. He then asks: "Israel used it [uranium] in Lebanon why should any one be surprised that Israel used it in Syria too."

However, the original story by Fisk was thoroughly debunked after a United Nations agency found the uranium charges to be false. The Independent refused to issue a correction or apology and so this libel is regurgitated on forums such as CNN's. The latest Swedish blood libel could be a similar story.

Several Ukrainian Web sites claim Israel has brought around some 25,000 Ukrainian children into the country over the past two years in order to harvest their organs. Vyacheslav Gudin told the estimated 300 attendees of the Kiev conference a detailed story about a Ukrainian man's fruitless search for 15 children who had been adopted in Israel. The children, Gudin said, had clearly been taken by Israeli medical centers, where they were used for "spare parts." Gudin said it was essential that all Ukrainians be made aware of the genocide Israel was perpetrating. In response to a request by the country's Jewish community Ukraine's police force is investigating ZUBR, one of the Web sites that reported the speeches.

The story spread into Canada via Al Ameen Post, a Canadian Muslim newspaper, which published an article repeating the libel that Jews kidnapped "25,000 Ukrainian children (...) over the past 2 years in order to harvest their organs".

The Palestinian Authority libel that Israel deliberately harvests organs from dead Palestinians has caught on in the Arab world. Last month Egyptian authorities temporarily denied Israeli doctors entry into Egypt to participate in a medical conference. The head of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate explained that this was because they "participated in torture" of Palestinians and because they "are also guilty of stealing the organs of Palestinian prisoners."

In response to the Israeli doctors' protest over Egyptian authorities not issuing them permits to enter Egypt for a medical conference, the head of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, Dr. Hamdi Al-Sayed said: 'We have no regard or respect for the Israeli doctors because the medical community has condemned them due to their participation in the torture of Palestinian prisoners.' He added: 'The Israeli Medical Association has acknowledged having participated in torture, noting that it had done so with the aim of protecting Israeli citizens.' He stated that the Israeli doctors are also guilty of stealing the organs of Palestinian prisoners, and that 'such people will not be permitted to take part in our medical activities." [Al-Ayyam, Nov. 27, 2009]

Saddly, in the 21st Century, the Antisemitism is alive and well.