So in mid-August the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published a piece by Donald Bostrom in which he certainly implied though didn’t explicitly say that Israel was harvesting organs from Gazan Palestinians it had killed. (Part of the ambiguity, played out in later confrontations / interviews between Bostrom and others was whether he was claiming that the Palestinians were killed for their organs, who was doing the harvesting and for what purposes.) The Israeli government denied the charges completely and, of course, attributed them to antisemitism. (The controversy now has its own Wikipedia article for whatever that’s worth.)
In December, an interview with Dr. Yehuda Hiss from 2000 was released by an American researcher, in which Dr. Hiss admitted that when he was the head of Abu Kabir, corneas and skin were harvested from the bodies of Palestinians and Israelis without permission. The Israeli government then admitted that this practice took place but that it had completely stopped. (JTA story here, Kung Fu Jew’s Jewschool post here.)
So here’s the thing. Shabbes afternoon I’m reading the Jewish Journal while trying to fall into my short-windown, after lunch, before end of Shabbes coma, and I run smack into the following headline: “Fighting the New Blood Libel”. What follows is a story about a hardy band of Israeli satirists who are appalled that, according to Jerusalem Post senior contributing editor Caroline Glick, “[Israeli] news media don’t talk a lot about how absurd so much of the criticism of Israel is.” She goes on to say the following.
“Whether it’s the Swedish newspaper putting out this obviously false story suggesting that Israeli soldiers kill Palestinians to harvest their organs, or whether it’s the Goldstone report that accused our soldiers of committing war crimes during Operation Cast Lead [in Gaza] this past December and January, we don’t have the media saying: ‘Wait a minute. Why are we discussing whether we should be investigating ourselves when what they’re saying is completely outrageous?’”
Jewish Journal “contributing writer” Lou Marano did not think it appropriate to question whether any of Glick’s assertions might themselves be lest than completely accurate. In fact, the “report” was more or less a paean to Latma, the right wing satirical site which produced Israel’s robust response to the new blood libels.
So to circle back around to the conversation that was taking place here at Jewschool this past week about the relevance/importance/whatever of Jewish journalism and local Jewish newspapers—this was not a shining example of how to do anything that might be considered journalism. It kinda reminds of when I was a kid and my Dad would write “press releases” about our little shtibl having the best vegetarian cholent in Brooklyn and The Jewish Press would print them verbatim as news articles.