Friday, August 28, 2009

"They Plunder The Organs of Our Sons."

Bernie Farber, hitting one out of the park:

"The problem with blood libels is not merely the hate in their words but the poisonous and all-too-often lethal violence they encourage in their wake. These lies must be seen as equally repulsive when cast against 'Jews' in the abstract or against the one state in the world that represents Jewish nationalism within a vibrantly multicultural and inclusive society. Aftonbladet's offensive and unsubstantiated story alleging Israeli organ trafficking is the latest shameful addition to an infamous trail of lies, innuendo and fabrications that have historically set the stage for the violent and deadly persecution of the Jewish people."

Bernie lets off the Aftonbladet journalists too lightly, however, when he writes: "Despite the absence of any independent evidence to substantiate these lurid allegations from clearly biased sources, the paper, which is owned by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, published the article without any research and with no effort at any sort of due diligence. This was not even a matter of facts being contorted to fit a hypothesis; there are no facts here, simply baseless mendacity."

As it turns out, the Aftonbladet appears to have relied on rather less than even "lurid allegations" in order to whore a blood libel as a journalistic "investigation." The Palestinian mother at the centre of the organ-harvesting hubbub never even made the claims in the first place, Khaled Abu Toameh reports. The Swedish photographer whose grisly pictures accompany the Aftonbladet article was in a Palestinian village during a funeral and he managed to take a number of pictures of the body before it was buried. "That was the only time we saw this photographer," said the brother of the dead man. Said a family friend: "Maybe the journalist reached that conclusion on the basis of the stitches he saw on the body."

Why is the Swedish government being so pathetically equivocal about this, anyway? If whoring in dirty innuendo is fair game in Stockholm, then I'll see the Swedes and raise them: Osama bin Laden once asked this rhetorical question, in an attempt to refute the famous assertion by George W. Bush that Al Qaida's problem is that it hates freedom: "If so, then let him explain to us why we don't strike for example – Sweden?" By noticing this, I now invite everyone to infer that the Aftonbladet case offers something of an answer. Why the hell not?

While we're trading one thing for another, here's my good chum Ben Cohen having a go: Let's trade Gilad Atzmon for Gilad Shalit.

Seems fair to me. A soldier for a whore, and of course I mean that in a good way. Here's the great John B. Keane to explain:


21 Comments:

Blogger Fred said...

Sweden has a history of getting rich on the war misery of others. They sold weapons and military technology to both side in WW2 and made a bundle.

Nothing new here . . . Sweden just being Sweden.

1:48 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

The story about organ theft is a fraud as you've correctly pointed out, perpetuated by a tabloid magazine which Israel actually wants us to focus on to distract from the reality on the gorund which is increasingly been highlighted. Im thinking now of an excellent article in the New York Times, by Ethan Bronner, about the ongoing non violent protest against the wall and demolitions, in the Palestinian village of Bilin, which is by now one of the longest running acts of civil disobedience agains the occupation. The demonstrators were recently visited by a group which included Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson and praised for their courage as they protest and organise in spite of soldiers who fire on them. Discussion about the occupation should focus on the real and all to often ignored horros of blockades, house demolition, in prisonment and the like not some lurid conspiracy theories.

On that front, that is advancing the dialogue in hopes of genuine reconciliation, always aware of the suffering all too often condoned by western policy, im wondering if you caught Zizek's column as it was the clearest, most morally sound articulation I've heard from him on Israel/Palestine. He thankfully takes us away from the usual back and forth and focuses the structural forces which create and perpetuate this inequality inbedded by the occupation itself. He does this without double speak or hypocrisy. Its a good read

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/18/west-bank-israel-settlers-palestinians

2:26 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

The story about organ theft is a fraud as you've correctly pointed out, perpetuated by a tabloid magazine which Israel actually wants us to focus on to distract from the reality on the gorund which is increasingly been highlighted. Im thinking now of an excellent article in the New York Times, by Ethan Bronner, about the ongoing non violent protest against the wall and demolitions, in the Palestinian village of Bilin, which is by now one of the longest running acts of civil disobedience agains the occupation. The demonstrators were recently visited by a group which included Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson and praised for their courage as they protest and organise in spite of soldiers who fire on them. Discussion about the occupation should focus on the real and all to often ignored horros of blockades, house demolition, in prisonment and the like not some lurid conspiracy theories.

On that front, that is advancing the dialogue in hopes of genuine reconciliation, always aware of the suffering all too often condoned by western policy, im wondering if you caught Zizek's column as it was the clearest, most morally sound articulation I've heard from him on Israel/Palestine. He thankfully takes us away from the usual back and forth and focuses the structural forces which create and perpetuate this inequality inbedded by the occupation itself. He does this without double speak or hypocrisy. Its a good read

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/18/west-bank-israel-settlers-palestinians

2:26 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

The story about organ theft is a fraud as you've correctly pointed out, perpetuated by a tabloid magazine which Israel actually wants us to focus on to distract from the reality on the gorund which is increasingly been highlighted. Im thinking now of an excellent article in the New York Times, by Ethan Bronner, about the ongoing non violent protest against the wall and demolitions, in the Palestinian village of Bilin, which is by now one of the longest running acts of civil disobedience agains the occupation. The demonstrators were recently visited by a group which included Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson and praised for their courage as they protest and organise in spite of soldiers who fire on them. Discussion about the occupation should focus on the real and all to often ignored horros of blockades, house demolition, in prisonment and the like not some lurid conspiracy theories.

On that front, that is advancing the dialogue in hopes of genuine reconciliation, always aware of the suffering all too often condoned by western policy, im wondering if you caught Zizek's column as it was the clearest, most morally sound articulation I've heard from him on Israel/Palestine. He thankfully takes us away from the usual back and forth and focuses the structural forces which create and perpetuate this inequality inbedded by the occupation itself. He does this without double speak or hypocrisy. Its a good read

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/18/west-bank-israel-settlers-palestinians

2:26 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

yikes sorry for the accidental triple post :-(

2:28 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

"against the one state in the world that represents Jewish nationalism within a vibrantly multicultural and inclusive society."

-Bernie Farber

This is a fairy tale and in fact the inverse of the obviously false charge that Israel is uniquely evil or bad. Now, instead, we get the idea that Israel is instinctively good. Critics of Israel's treatment of the Palestinian population would be correct here to mention that a "vibrantly multicultural society" wouldn't go about erasing its indegenous population in its midst including repopualting Jeruselam in the hopes that it can rule, undivided, over a city with 200 000 Palestinians, nor would it transplant its citizens into another peoplesl aldn, defying international law and building Israel only roads in the process, nor would there be widespread approval for a law making it illegal to teach the nakba, and nor would it create a siatuation whereby over 90 per cent of the land can only be legally owned or leased to one relgious grouping. Bernie needs to wake up to reality, n'est pas?

2:38 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Btw, Shalit should be released on Im aware that we are supposed to assume an Israel life is of far greater value than a Palestinian one but Im wondering why people who support Shalit's release are often silent as a mouse about the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israelis jails, many of whom were detained without a trial. Here's Amnesty International a group I find to be pretty damn reliable, but for unreconstructed apologists for Israeli violence, are no doubt part of the grand Arab/Islamic/Palestinian trickery campaign


"Hundreds of Palestinians, including scores of children, were detained by Israeli forces in the OPT and many were held incommunicado for prolonged periods. Most were later released without charge, but hundreds were charged with security-related offences and tried before military courts, whose procedures often failed to meet international standards for fair trial. Some 8,000 Palestinians arrested in 2008 or in previous years were still imprisoned at the end of the year. They included some 300 children and 550 people who were held without charge or trial under military administrative detention orders, including some who had been held for up to six years."

2:44 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Some money quotes from Zizek a man who can hardly be described as doctrinaire

"However, 15,000 have already been fully approved, and 20,000 of the proposed housing units lie in settlements that Israel cannot expect to retain in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

The conclusion is obvious: while paying lip-service to the two-state solution, Israel is busy creating a situation on the ground that will render such a solution impossible. The dream underlying Israel's plans is encapsulated by a wall that separates a settler's town from the Palestinian town on a nearby West Bank hill. The Israeli side of the wall is painted with the image of the countryside beyond the wall – but without the Palestinian town, depicting just nature, grass and trees. Is this not ethnic cleansing at its purest, imagining the outside beyond the wall as empty, virginal and waiting to be settled?

When peace-loving Israeli liberals present their conflict with Palestinians in neutral, symmetrical terms – admitting that there are extremists on both sides who reject peace – one should ask a simple question: what goes on in the Middle East when nothing is happening there at the direct politico-military level (ie, when there are no tensions, attacks or negotiations)? What goes on is the slow work of taking the land from the Palestinians on the West Bank: the gradual strangling of the Palestinian economy, the parcelling up of their land, the building of new settlements, the pressure on Palestinian farmers to make them abandon their land (which goes from crop-burning and religious desecration to targeted killings) – all this supported by a Kafkaesque network of legal regulations."


Zizeks gets us back, thankfully, to what by now should be painfully obvious. It is the dispossesion of the Palestinians and the occupation which is, in fact, the root of the ongoing conflict something which is articulated too by Combatants for Peace, described by you as the real anti war movement, when they join with Palestinian villagers protesting the slicing up and theft of Palestinians land. Can Slavo get an aye for you Terry?

3:00 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

For Pete's sake, Mikeal. Take a bloody pill or something.

3:30 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Okay, overkill, probably, but I was hoping for a more, um, substancial response...

4:30 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

No you weren't, Mikeal. You were using the opportunity to tack up your posters. I'd prefer you didn't.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Fabián said...

Mikeal of course does the Livingstone formulation: to protest antisemitism is in fact to cover for Israeli policies.

Exactly as Terry has said, blood libels are dangerous because they are harbingers of violence against Jews. It cannot happen in Israel, but the Diaspora is less protected.

And if a pogrom happens, you can bet that mikeal will say "I condemn this violence but what about Israeli..." and maybe he will add "of course the violence was targeted to Zionist Jews in the Diaspora and they are not son innocent as you might think, because they support Israeli..."

You can pretty much see it from here. Jews learnt from history and we will never let the antisemites and the apologists for antisemitism live an easy life. We know you mikeal.

8:05 AM  
Blogger muscocamoca said...

I would have missed this in the NP had you not blogged it so many thanks.

I admire Farber for his consistant and strong defence of his community. He does it with much integrity.

And thank you for keeping us focused on this scourge too.

9:07 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

I prefer to treat Israel/Palestine in a serious way. Trade one Gilad for another you say and I reply with a statement from Amnesty about the thousands of Palestinian prisoners rotting in Israeli jails. Cite fairy tale like quotes about the vibrancy of "multicultural" Israeli society from the Israel is a nation on the hill crowd and I take issue with it, mobilizing Zizek's ability to cut through that nonsense. Yeah its my thing but Im not sure glibness is the way to talk about suffering. My bad

11:08 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

true to form, mikey spends half a sentence noting that the story is a fraud, and the rest of his weary tome criticizing -- wouldn't you know it -- the Israelis for having the temerity to bring it up, something that "israel wants us to focus on to distract from the reality on the ground."

This reminds me of the behaviour of some official Palestinians, who, after the a suicide attack or a bomb goes off, calls the event a "pretext" for Israeli retaliation.

Buddy, you can moan and whine about Israel's behaviour all you want, but this particular thread is about the actions of a Swedish newspaper spreading a modern version of an age-old blood libel. And the people doing it are people who share most of the same views as you vis-a-vis Israel. You might ponder that as you scribble your latest anti-Israel screed.

Incidentally, Zizek, going on as he does about ethnic cleansing as the population of palestinians both inside israel, in the occupied territories and everywhere else is rising exponentially, really sounds ignorant and stupid. Those who accept these ridiculous utterances uncritically and breathlessly are even more far gone.

As for the occupation: of course it's unequal. Has there ever been an occupying force that treated the occupied population equally?

Perhaps instead of incessantly whinging about the occupation, you might suggest some tangible steps for ending it. Step 1 might be getting the occupied and their enablers to actually, sincerely, accept the existence and presence of a Jewish state in their otherwise islamic corner of the world.

Terry: I know i shouldn't always step in, i can't resist refuting this pious, self-righteous garbage.

12:23 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Zizek suffers from selective ignorance when he tries to speak about Israeli occupation. I mentioned it once before on this blog. In "Democracy Now" interview he said that Palestinian farmers are allowed to drill only "three inches"(!) for water. And jokingly added: what are the Israelis afraid of? Of tunnels to smuggle weapons or something? He repeated this exact sequence (three inches/tunnels) in another conversation he participated in, which I believe Terry once posted here.

Neither Amy Goodman nor any of the others who heard him asked him to qualify or correct himself. When I plant tulip bulbs in late fall I have to dig 6 inches into the ground. Does anyone at all believe Zizek's pronounced facts, then? of course not. Maybe he meant to say "Three meters", and forgot that the tunneling Israel is afraid of is done in Gaza, not the WB. But no one, not even one, saw fit to comment on this mis- (dis-?)information. I assumed they all took him at his word. As probably do most readers. In his example he meant to suggest the sadistic measures by which Israel keeps Palestinians in misery. And the details, the accuracy, the truth, if you will, don't matter one whit. Nor does it seem to occur to him to find out a little more about the well-digging restrictions imposed by Israel, what were they, or why they were called for. When you assume that the entity you are discussing is all about evil and sadistic repression, you don't bother with the details. Somehow the "three inches" makes sense. How to explain this indifference to provable facts, this sloppiness with the truth?

2:50 PM  
Blogger Yariv said...

Farber's piece was cogent and very well written. He has the ability to write to everyone in a manner that is both urgent and informative. Thanks for this Terry.

6:50 AM  
Blogger mikeal said...

I'v always maintained that the story about organ snatching is bullshit and should be called exactly that. That said, assuming the story really is based on rumors circulating among Palestinians, it’s not unusual to have delusional fears like that about a brutal foreign army that’s occupying your land and shooting at your kids.

The Palestinians didn’t get to choose what ethnic group would come from thousands of miles away on other continents, confiscate their land, and set up an exclusivist state based on someone else’s religion. There aren’t 200 Palestinians in the world who have ever heard of the blood libel, which is a medieval *European* legend.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Own goal # 24:

Lurid organ-stealing conspiracy theories abroad among Palestinians?

It's all Israel's fault. It was originally Europe's fault. Now Israel's.

Badabing, tish!

4:31 PM  
Blogger mikeal said...

Sigh. That's not what I said and I prefaced my comment by saying that it would be true if the rumor originated in palestinians communities who, after all, in the real world, see their kids being shot at by the IDF, and are acutely aware of the callous indifference an occupying army shows for their lives.

Lets for sake if argument move away from Israel. In Spike Lee's documentary he talks to many poor blacks in Katrina who sincerely and passionately believe that the government of the US bombed the levees in order to wipe poor black in New Orleans out. There's no proof of this claim and its bullshit. That said the popularity of the idea itself originates from multiple lived realities and historical memory. The Tuskegee Experiment performed on African American males, America's long history of racial violence and the callous systematic indifference to the poor.

This is what I'm trying to get at

5:25 PM  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

"The story about organ theft is a fraud as you've correctly pointed out, perpetuated by a tabloid magazine which Israel actually wants us to focus on to distract from the reality on the gorund..."

Mikeal is half right. The story is a fraud, but it is perpetuated by us to distract from the real story: we are not stealing organs but plucking them in an orderly and highly hygienic fashion.

On the gorund, as Mikeal correctly surmises.

7:21 AM  

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