By Matthew Cassel
(Assistant Editor of The Electronic Intifada)
The Electronic Intifada
I agree with this opinion in Electronic Intifada. This not very well documented story gives Israel the opportunity to discredit all other, well-documented reports of war crimes, such as in Gaza this last January.
If I were the Israeli chief propagandist, I would plant such stories in Western press, precisely for such objective and to put Western governments on the defensive and to milk them for more support for Israel. As a matter of fact, I would not be surprised if this story is such a plant.
With so much fact on the side of the Palestinians, why go out on a limb with such a story? Let us not allow Israel to throw away the baby with the bath water.
"On Friday I was invited to appear on Press TV (Iran's international English-language satellite channel) alongside Donald Bostrom, a Swedish journalist who authored the recent article about the Israeli army stealing the organs of young Palestinian men it had killed in 1992 during the first Palestinian intifada. I surprised the producers at Press TV who I don't think invited me to argue the article's legitimacy, but instead reaffirm its claims......
Unlike Bostrom's reporting, when most Palestinian human rights organizations or other journalists have uncovered Israeli violations, they are sure to provide well-documented evidence to prove beyond a doubt that such violations were in fact committed. Even though Israel has made it very difficult for both Palestinian and international journalists and human rights workers to practice inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many have risked their lives to see that evidence of Israel's crimes is uncovered and reported......
I am not trying to argue here that Israel or some Israelis could never have trafficked stolen Palestinian organs. In a place like Palestine, however, where evidence of Israeli war crimes has never been difficult to find -- despite Israel's consistent efforts to block investigations -- those concerned with holding Israel accountable should not level allegations of such seriousness without producing some evidence......
The fact that Bostrom did not offer evidence for his organ theft claims has given Israel an enormous propaganda gift. Because he offered nothing more than conjecture and hearsay, Israel has launched a major campaign casting itself as an aggrieved victim of "blood libel." This allows Israel to distract attention from the mountains of evidence of well-documented war crimes, and even to discredit real evidence. If there is no evidence behind the organ theft claims, Israel can argue, then maybe all these other claims about crimes in Gaza are equally dubious.
Predictably, Israel and its supporters launched a ridiculous campaign not only targeting Bostrom and his newspaper, but against all of Sweden......"