Op-Ed: Sweden's Shameful Blood Libel
Paula R. SternPaula R. Stern is the Founder and Documentation Manager of WritePoint, a technical writing company.
Sometimes, there is an anger that consumes. It burns from an outrage and an impotence that is so strong it threatens to cripple the soul and the tongue. You wonder how anyone could be so incredibly stupid as to believe the lies; you fight the desire to surrender in the face of such ignorance and absurdity.
You wonder how anyone could be so incredibly stupid.
And then, when you are nearing the height of your despair, you find the strength to rally one more time and beg the world to just think, just consider, just put two and two together and once, just once, actually come up with four and not some random number. There really are times when the absurd really is absurd, the lie really just another attempt to blur the truth. It really is that simple.
The first recorded case in which Jews were accused of sacrificing human victims appears in the writings of Apio, a Greek, in the 1st century. He claimed that Jews were sacrificing Greek victims in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Absurd then, absurd now - and yet, it was believed.
The next documented case appears more than a thousand years later when a 12-year old Christian boy named William was murdered and his mutilated body was found. According to one witness, he was last seen alive entering the house of a Jewish family; and thus, the entire Jewish community of Norwich was declared guilty.
Jews were accused of murdering and crucifying the boy. The only evidence came from a servant who claimed to have "with one eye only, caught sight through a crack in a door of a boy fastened to a post." This vision was seen as she was "bringing some hot water at her master's order." Absurd then, absurd now - and yet believed enough to justify murder, pillage, ruin.
The death of William stirred up pogroms and eventually led to the massacre of large numbers of Jews in Norwich and elsewhere, culminating in the expulsion of Jews from England for 400 years. I doubt William's blood was ever avenged, his real murderers brought to justice, but the child was given sainthood; the Jews falsely accused of his death received no justice either.
Blood libels against Jews became more common after William's death and stretched through the centuries. Despite great inventions and modernization, man's basic capacity to hate never really diminished. Even in the 20th century, in Russia and in post-World War II Poland, there were accusations that Jews murdered Christians in order to harvest their blood for some sacrilegious reason. Never mind what Jewish law prescribes, never mind the facts. It was a blood libel built on hatred, and it has thrived among the ignorant and the so-called enlightened equally.
A more recent, high profile claim occurred in December 1984, when the Saudi Arabian delegate (President of the World Muslim Congress at the time) Dr.Ma'ruf al-Dawalibi , spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Commission Conference on Religious Tolerance (and isn't that a joke by itself?). The "esteemed" gentleman from Saudi Arabia explained anti-Semitism through the centuries, to quote "Dr." al-Dawalibi, "But why? Let them answer this question themselves. The Talmud says that any Jew who does not drink every year the blood of a non-Jew will be damned forever."
Of course, the Talmud doesn't say that and of course, al-Dawalibi couldn't prove that it does, but that isn't the
And slowly comes the truth - they hate us.
point of a blood libel. The damage is done merely in the stating of the lie.
And so it continues today. Yes, that's right - 2009, Sweden.
Just a few days ago, a prominent Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet (which claims to be Sweden's largest newspaper, with 1.5 million readers), perpetrated the latest blood libel. Aftonbladet published a story claiming that the Israeli army kidnaps and kills Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. The Swedish story purports to be based on "Palestinian sources"; and I would laugh if I weren't so outraged; I would surrender to despair if I weren't so infuriated.
There is no evidence, no proof - in an article the paper later claimed was an "opinion" piece. Certainly we can all agree it was not journalism.
I want to rage and call them idiots; I want to laugh at their incredible stupidity. But most of all is the sick feeling that settles deep inside as the government of Sweden responds. They refuse to condemn this blood libel, merely suggesting the newspaper was practicing "freedom of speech", which is, the Swedish are quick to remind us, important in their "democracy." This is, of course, the same Swedish government that shut down Internet servers of those who had published the Danish cartoons interpreted by some as anti-Muslim.
Interestingly enough, the Swedish government ignores the fact that we too have a democracy, but even here, there are things that are not allowed to be said, lies not permitted to be published. We do not allow Holocaust denial, which is a crime in other democracies as well. It is recognized that in denying truth and perpetrating lies, danger and hatred is promoted.
You cannot, according to US law, rise up and scream, "Fire!" in a crowded theater, and you cannot slander and libel the innocent without repercussions. What I want is for all of Israel's soldiers to sue the Swedish paper in a class action suit for libel.
What I want is to believe this is an isolated incident of idiocy, and yet I can't. According to Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, Holland's largest newspaper, Die Telegraaf, has just published an interview with a woman who claims that swine flue and other diseases are created by a Jewish conspiracy in order to kill large numbers of people. Absurd then, absurd now, and yet people believe.
And Radio Sweden is apparently as credible as Aftonbladet, airing a program that once again claims Israel killed Mohammed Al-Dura, the 11-year-old child in Gaza whose death was widely claimed to have been caused in the midst of a gunfight between Palestinian and Israelis. Of course, independent agencies, including German and other studies, have proven this story false, but that won't stop Radio Sweden. And there again is the anger, bitter enough to taste. How stupid, these people? How ignorant, how wrong.
And slowly comes the truth - they hate us. It is as simple and as clear as that. They don't like Jews in Sweden, do they? No, we aren't the "poor Palestinians", the underdogs, the supposed victims in their beautiful blue eyes.
That same IDF now accused of such atrocities has traveled the world to save others time and time again.
The truth is there for all to see: they are as filled with hatred as the people of Norwich in the late 12th century, as backwards, as ignorant.
Jewish law is very clear, I want to tell these stupid people. Jews are not allowed to consume blood. Read the manual; it is there, so clear. That same IDF now accused of such atrocities has traveled the world to save others time and time again. We were among the first to reach earthquake victims in Turkey, tsunami victims in Indonesia. We dug in the rubble of Kenya to pull out victims when Islamic terrorists collapsed buildings.
Israeli soldiers do not murder people for their organs, you stupid, stupid Swedes. And the greatest shame, beyond the printing of the article, is that 1.5 million subscribers of the newspaper didn't go to the offices of Aftonbladet and dump the paper on the curb outside their offices.
If today, Aftonbladet still has 1.5 million people buying their newspaper, then all of Sweden should be ashamed.