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By now, you have probably read more than you want to have read about the Blood Libel circulated by the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, as well as the defense of the Blood Libel by editor Jan Helin and the defense of "freedom of speech" by the Swedish foreign ministry. You may have read spoofs of the Swedish story and articles insisting that we excitable Mediterranean types are getting too excited about the issue, as usual. And yet, And yet, there is something more to be said.

Firstly, there is a great fallacy in the claim that freedom of speech is an untrammeled and unlimited right in all circumstances. I am sure, for example, that Aftonbladet or any other newspaper in Sweden would feel the full force of the law if they published state secrets. Sweden moreover, is a signatory (among the first) of the Genocide Convention according to which, " Direct and public incitement to commit genocide" is a criminal act. In the recent past, Blood Libel was used by a certain neighbor to the south of Sweden to incite to genocide. Is the connection far fetched? How about the alleged connection that the editor of Aftonbladet makes between the autopsy marks on dead Palestinian terrorists and the Jews arrested in the United States for trafficking in organs? It is impossible to understand what this connection might logically be. The American case could not be used to demonstrate a shortage of organ donors in Israel that might motivate the IDF to steal organs. That is because the criminals in New Jersey were not bringing organs to Israel, but rather, as I understand, bringing organ donors to the United States from Israel and selling the organs in the United States. There is no logical connection, but there is nonetheless a connection. Both the New Jersey criminals and the IDF are Jews, which was necessary and sufficient for the editor of Aftonbladet, Jan Helin, to claim that there might be a connection between the IDF and the criminals. The connection is racial. As it happens Sweden has law against racism that states in part:

a publication may be considered illegal if it is threatening or expresses contempt towards a person or group of people based on their race, ethnicity, or nationality.

. Indeed, the Swedish government has promised to investigate if the law was violated. If saying that the IDF kills Palestinians and steals their organs is not "contempt towards... [a] group of people based on their nationality" then what is? Don't be surprised, however, if the Swedes see things differently. Claiming that Jews are murderers is not expressing contempt, it seems.

Freedom of speech is a really grand thing. but it seems to me that in general, there is some variability in its application and a puzzling oscillation in the sort of people who support it. You would think freedom of speech is a liberal cause, but that ain't necessarily true.

When a Danish newspaper published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, anyone who was for freedom of speech was accused automatically of being a right wing neocon Zionist like Daniel Pipes, allegedly a friend of the editor of the offending newspaper. Today, anyone who is for freedom of speech in Sweden is obviously a friend of the progressive movement, while those who are against crying fire in a crowded theater are accused of being hysterical right wing neocon Zionists. It seems also that this wonderful freedom of speech that is given to the Scandinavian people (apparently by Odin himself) was not vouchsafed to one particular people. You can guess which people, can't you? Jews, of course, are less equal than the descendants of Leif the Red, and do not have freedom of speech if it hurts the feelings of others. When an Israeli television comedian joked about the virginity of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and about the ability of her son to walk on water, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert found it necessary to apologize. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are of course reserved for the superior Nordic race, not for Jews. Restrictions on freedom of speech are put in place only for important violations, not for the Blood Libel.

Ami Isseroff


Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000708.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 4 Comments

"what puzzles me is why the Swedes"

Mazaluk,

I have a theory about this.

First of all, it is not the Swedes or any other nation specifically. Antisemitism can be found everywhere. Unfortunately, it is not as shy as it used to be.

I think the false idea of Israel as an extremely violent country resulted in a psychological loosening of the belt, if you will, especially in the West and Eastern Europe.

The reasoning was that if the Jews are so violent, then they are not that different than the people who have oppressed them in the past. And if so, then there is no reason to hold back, you don't have to be that careful about Antisemitism. If you have the urge (not everybody does), go with it. That's how you have things like a Belgian TV show about Hitler's favorite foods, or a British prince wearing Nazi uniforms. If you are just a little intrigued by Nazism, go with it. If you have some deep seated antisemitic beliefs, don't keep them hidden. After all, it's OK to criticize Israel, and anyway, the Jews always go around pointing fingers.

Moreover, since Jews in the past played the role of the absolute victims in Western culture. People who find absolute victims psychologically appealing, and who were drawn to Jews in the past are now turning on them.

Jews (and Palestinians) have very good in performing a role in a western morality play. Sometimes its the role of Jesus, who dies for our sins, and sometimes it's the role of Judas, the absolute betrayer. Jews are better as an idea than as actual people.

Micha, Saturday, August 29th


Obviously this is good old fashioned anti-Semitism, but what puzzles me is why the Swedes, who have a reputation of being such a liberal nation, are choosing to behave like nazi propagandists. What bee is it that they have in their bonnet? 30 years ago this behaviour would have been unthinkable. I'm just left shaking my head, wondering why they have become a nation of Jew haters - any ideas anyone?

mazaluk, Thursday, August 27th


Well said Ami.

I think something should be said about the new democracy/freedom of speech libel that accompanied the blood libel here.

A major Swedish newspaper prints a blood libel. Not something vaguely resembling a blood libel but a blood libel pure and simple.

Israel never asked the Swedish government to take any action against the paper or silence them in any way. Nor was it ever said that the Swedish government is responsible in any way for the actions of the paper. All that was required, as a simple act of diplomatic courtesy between nations was that the Swedish government, or at least the Swedish ambassador will say something about this blatant blood libel to the effect that it does not represent the government or people of Sweden and that it is bad.

But the Swedish government decided instead to condemn the ambassador who did just that instead of condemning the reporter, and then went on to present themselves as defending Swedish free speech against he evil Jews.

Under the circumstances I think we Jews should apologize to Sweden. Clearly the fact that we did not riot in European capitals, issues death fatwas or at least death threats, nor did we send a single bomb letter or burn a single embassy or Swedish business is quite offensive. The reporter didn't even have to hire a body guard. We are clearly in violation of the principles of democracy and diplomacy and deserve no sympathy.

It is regrettable that even in this clear cut case the Israeli government handled things poorly.

Micha, Wednesday, August 26th


These blood libel accusations are, and have been consistent with Swedish government policy for over a decade. From 1995 on Sweden has deliberately and slyly looked for and found ways to secretly and openly fund the Arab (Pal-est-in-ian) propaganda and physical war against the Jewish people. If any Israeli government thinks that they can get the Swedes to change their ways with a bit of diplomatic pressure, better think again. In a letter to the Russian Count Witte, Alfred Nobel wrote that Swedes will only change their manners when either subjected to violence and loss of jurisdiction. Alfred Noble the Swedish dynamite king said of his fellow countrymen "Swedes are a self righteous people, who despise real decency when they encounter it, they will then turn their might to defame cleanness, integrity, industry, and grace, it is for this reason that this my last will and testament do hearby instruct my executors to give the right to confirr my prizes to his excellency Haakon, King of the Norwegians and his heirs, through a eight member eight nation committee of his University of Oslo's choosing."

why can't you oh so "pragmatic" Israelis learn history?!!

Larry Riteman, Wednesday, August 26th


Constructive comments, including corrections, are welcome. Do not use this space for spam, publishing articles, self promotion, racism, anti-Zionist propaganda or character defamation. Inappropriate comments will be deleted. See our Comment policy for details. By posting here, you agree to the Comment policy.

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