Swedish journalist Donald Bostrom, who gained infamy in August for claiming that IDF soldiers harvested organs from Arab rioters, landed in Israel on Sunday for the Dimona Conference. Bostrom was greeted at the airport with boos and jeers by dozens of activists from the Beitar youth group.
A second Zionist group, Im Tirzu, had attempted to block Bostrom's entrance to Israel altogether. The group filed an appeal to Interior Minister Eli Yishai, accusing Bostrom of “a modern blood libel that recalls the same form of anti-Semitism in Europe in the Middle Ages.”
Despite the appeal, Bostrom was allowed into Israel to attend the Dimona gathering. However, Minister of the Development of the Negev and the Galilee Silvan Shalom announced that while Bostrom would be allowed to participate in the event, the government would end its participation in the conference.
"I will not attend an event in which a participant slandered IDF soldiers and attempted to harm Israel's image,” Minister Shalom said. Shalom's ministry had committed to participate in funding the conference, but as part of his decision to withdraw, funding was cut off.
Mayor Cohen Defends Conference
Dimona Mayor Meir Cohen told Arutz-7 that he respects Shalom's decision, but laments the fact that the minister's announcement was made just one day before the conference began. “It's a shame that we've been planning this conference, along with Silvan's office, for two months, and a shame that 24 hours before it opens, we get this announcement,” he said.
"Despite this, we will hold the conference as planned. We will get funding from a different source,” Cohen said.
Cohen denied allegations that Dimona is giving Bostrom a platform to spread anti-Israel hate. “He has been speaking around the Arab world for months, so he does not need us to give him a platform,” the mayor argued.
"We thought it was fitting to invite a man like [Bostrom] to a conference that deals with media issues, among them ethical norms. And I think the very fact that he responded to the invitation shows regret for what he said,” Cohen said.