The recent eruption of anti-Semitic bigotry in Sweden, amid lurid allegations published in the country’s top selling newspaper about Israeli soldiers conspiring with American Jews in harvesting the organs of Palestinian children, has now been pushed to the top of the European agenda. According to a report in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper today, Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini has brokered an agreement with his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt that a statement will be issued condemning anti-Semitism at a European Union foreign ministers meeting later this week.
However, given the Swedish government’s dissembling on the affair what matters now is whether the statement is as clear and unambiguous as Frattini would like it to be or whether it will be watered down. Frattini told Haaretz that the allegations in Aftonbladet were: “terrible conclusions, lying and hurtful, and they have the power to assist all those who seek to incite against Jews or who oppose the existence of the State of Israel.” Sweden, by contrast, has adamantly refused to condemn the allegations.
The issue arises following allegations in the Aftonbladet newspaper that Israeli soldiers routinely kill Palestinian children to cut out their bodily organs and sell them on the international black market. The reporter of the story himself admitted that he had “no clue” whether the allegations were true, as has the Palestinian source of the allegations, suggesting that the editorial team at Aftonbladet had simply ignored basic journalistic standards in order to smear the Jewish state in a manner reminiscent of medieval blood libels.
The affair has sparked a major diplomatic row between Sweden, the current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, and Israel. The Israeli foreign mininstry said it would be watching how the EU handles the situation closely.
Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor was quoted by Haaretz as saying: “Every initiative against anti-Semitism is welcome… But if the declaration is general and does not specifically relate to the article in Aftonbladet, it will not resolve anything.”
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