THE SPINE AUGUST 20, 2009
If Mary Robinson is entitled to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Swedes are certainly entitled to refabricate one of the great libels in European history. The very leftist Aftonbladet, the most popular evening tabloid in Sweden, has published a story, "They Plunder the Organs of Our Sons," accusing the Israel Defense Forces of seizing Palestinian young men and then returning them to their families without crucial and transferrable parts. (The two stories in Ha'aretz unveiling this vile piece of journalism are here and here.)
Mrs. Robinson has fronted for other such libels against Israel. So maybe she can convene one of her many NGOs and once again put Israel in the dock, perhaps with journalist Donald Boström as prosecuting attorney or plaintiff.
The Swedish ambassador to Israel said that the Aftonbladet story is "shocking and appalling to us Swedes."
But the editor of the paper, Jan Helin, had an answer: "It is 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." So it is his tabloid's critics who are using anti-Semitic images, not the writer and not the journal.
This is repulsive, and the fact that Arab media regularly traffic in such blood libels doesn't make it less so.
If you don't believe that anti-Semitism is now on the rise in many places, you are blind. Mary Robinson's award conveyed the sense that at the White House this ugly trend was of no consequence.