One facet of anti-Semitism has been the notion of blood libel, the claim that Jews sacrifice non-Jews for ritual or other purposes, especially cannibalistic. Throughout the history of Christianity, blood libel have been used to justify many atrocities against Jews. One would think that, in the occidental world of the 21st century, the blood libel would be found only among the “lunatic fringe” of anti-Semitic folks.

But one would be wrong to think that.

Recently an allegation along the lines of blood libel has been leveled against Israel, and it was found in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, as reported by the Israeli paper Haaretz:

Top Sweden newspaper says IDF kills Palestinians for their organs

A leading Swedish newspaper reported this week that Israeli soldiers are abducting Palestinians in order to steal their organs, a claim that prompted furious condemnation and accusations of anti-Semitic blood libel from a rival publication.

“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.

The original Aftonbladet article may be found here (in Swedish).

The nation of Israel and Jews around the world have condemned this report, based on otherwise-unsubstantiated claims by Palestinians, as anti-Semitic. And since this report fits the centuries-old mold of the blood libel, it’s hard to refute that. Nevertheless, Aftonbladet stands by the story and claims it is not anti-Semitic, as Haaretz reports in a follow-up story:

A Swedish newspaper provoked outrage in Israel and drew condemnation from Sweden’s ambassador on Wednesday after it ran a story on transplant organ theft, a report an Israeli official branded anti-Semitic “hate porn”.

The editor of Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, hit back hard, at both Israel and at the Swedish envoy for attacking his paper’s coverage.

Donald Boström, the Swedish journalist whose article accusing Israel Defense Forces soldiers of killing Palestinians to obtain their organs evoked outrage, denied on Tuesday that he was motivated by anti-Semitism. “I’m very sad to hear people accuse me of anti-Semitism,” Boström told Haaretz on Tuesday.

Gee, I dunno … it sure looks like ages-old anti-Semitism, so how unreasonable is it to assume it is?

The Swedish paper is even offended that the comparison to blood libel has been made:

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.

Helin called it an opinion piece raising questions of Israel in the context of a suspected link to Israel in that U.S. case. He denied any suggestion of anti-Semitism from his paper.

Calling it “an opinion piece” relieves them of the obligation to show the accuracy of the report, and effectively removes them from critique over its weak sources. Here in the US a lot of “commentators” on news channels often use the same excuse to explain why they have no duty to be accurate … so there’s nothing new here.

In other words, it’s a weaselly evasion.

The persistence of anti-Semitism in Europe is just one of the many disgusting legacies of Christianity’s history. When, exactly, are we going to finally realize this sort of thinking has no place in the 21st century?

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