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Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159
(415) 356-7801

August 25, 2009

Sweden's blood libel accusation represents a new low, even by European standards

Dear Friend of FLAME:

The left-wing Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published an article on August 17 by reporter Donald Bostrom alleging that Israeli soldiers were kidnapping and killing Palestinians in order to harvest organs to be used for transplanation. Bostrom freely admits that he has no evidence whatsoever to back up this blood libel, but indicated that it is up to Israelis to prove innocence in this matter. When the Swedish Ambassador to Israel rightfully condemned this hate speech hiding behind the curtain of "free speech," she was condemned back home in Sweden where some members of the government urged her recall.

The world's obsession with Israel as the embodiment of ultimate evil continues to grow, and now Aftonbladet takes the term blood libel to shameful heights.  It is all one can do to try and respond to such utter fiction in a levelheaded manner.  Israel gets such incredible negative press anyway that perhaps it is to be expected, but this story is despicable.

Naturally, Aftonbladet has a history of attacking Israel.  In a January interview, the paper's culture editor, Asa Linderborg, was asked, "What do you wish for most in life right now?" Her response: "What a simple question. What I want is a free Palestine."  Apparently she isn't concerned with Darfur, Rwanda, or Tibet; only “Palestine”. 

Why haven't Aftonbladet and other Western newspapers run some of the actual news in the Middle East?

- Hamas security forces recently killed 28 Palestinians.  Apparently whenever Israel can't be blamed for killing Palestinians, then it isn't newsworthy.

- Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier being held by Hamas, isn't so much as heard from, yet Palestinian prisoners get cable TV, medical care, and family visits.  They can even receive university degrees.  In fact, Hamas celebrated the 100th degree received by a Hamas security prisoner.  Perhaps Israel should begin treating Palestinian prisoners the same way Israeli prisoners are treated?

- Hamas stole three more UNRWA ambulances.  As has happened in the past, Hamas can be expected to use these against Israel in a future terrorist attack.  Yet it is Israel that gets blamed for stopping ambulances at checkpoints.

- There was more Holocaust denying by the Palestinians. Abd Al-Rahman Abbad, the (Fatah-backed) Secretary General of the Palestinian Organization of Clerics and Disseminators of Islam said on official (and Western-funded) Palestinian Authority TV: "Since it is known that in all of Europe there weren't 6 million Jews, the Holocaust should be seen as one more example of Jews' exaggeration of their sufferings." 

Of course it's not just Aftonbladet ignoring the real news.  Desiree Rover, a Dutch journalist, claimed that Jews are responsible for the recent outbreak of swine flu.  Can we no longer use respectable and journalism even in the same paragraph?  Apparently Rover didn't know that eight Israelis have also died in recent weeks from the swine flu. Or perhaps Israel simply doesn't know how to properly cause a global flu pandemic without infecting its own citizens?

It is beyond frustrating to see these public attacks on Israel, which of course are thinly veiled attacks on Jews themselves.  The modern incarnation of an anti-Semite can then hide behind the excuse of simply criticizing Israel and not Jews.

Enough is enough.  If those who choose to demonize Israel attempt to clear their own consciences with this joke of an excuse, they cannot expect us to stand idly by.  We haven't, we won't, and we will never.

In his article on criticism of Israel below, Robert Fulford delves into the ritual that this criticism has become.  It is a ritual that has become obscenely biased and one-sided.  Lest we forget, anti-Semitism (and NOT just "anti-Zionism") is flourishing worldwide once again.     

Best Regards,

Dave Nogradi
FLAME Hotline Contributor


To learn more about the new anti-Semitism, hidden as it is behind criticism of Israel, please read FLAME's position paper called The New Anti-Semitism: Who are its advocates? What are its goals? How anti-Zionism has become any more acceptable than being anti-Italian or anti-French is astounding.  The Jewish people deserve their own state as much as any other people. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs, especially from the political leaders of the United States.

P.P.S. President Obama has asked for input from U.S. citizens on his Middle East policies. To give him your opinion about Israel's rights to its undivided capital city, Jerusalem, please write the President---right now.

When criticizing Israel becomes ritual
by Robert Fulford, National Post (Canada), August 15, 2009

It begins, reasonably, as a response to apparently unnecessary violence by Israel. Then it moves on to accuse Israel of expanding on land the Arabs insist is theirs. Nothing wrong with criticizing that, surely. Israel, a state, deserves to be judged like any other.

Even those friendly toward Israel have often felt duty bound to point out its mistakes. In more innocent times, I imagined that intellectuals in the West paid careful attention to Israel's faults because they expected it to set a high standard. Who would worry about the moral status of, say, Bolivia? No one except Bolivians. Jews, however, live with the injunction to be (as Isaiah quotes God) "A light unto the nations."

But now everything has changed. Opposing Israel has become an institutionalized ritual. It's now a movement across Europe and North America. It has its traditions, like Israel Apartheid Week, celebrated every spring in universities, often the cause of riots and an occasion to intimidate Jewish students. Vehement opposition to Israel appears to be the major interest of thousands of people all over the world. Many are Muslims, sympathizing with the Palestinians, but many are not. This week, attacks on Israel once more appeared on the agenda of the general council meeting of the United Church of Canada, a critic of Israel for generations.

What are reasonable people to think about these relentless campaigns in the universities, churches and unions?

Those involved often insist that it's not a matter of anti-Semitism. They like to say, "I'm anti-Israel, not anti-Semitic. A different thing entirely."

After decades of use, this declaration of innocence has ceased to be credible. In my personal observation, enemies of Israel often turn out to be anti-Semites as well. The true agenda of anti-Israel activists often is reflected in their style of propaganda, and in the exclusive attention they give to one particular country.

The style of the protests goes far beyond "criticism," that benign noun implying civil disputes. Often, anti-Israel propaganda distributed on campuses and elsewhere borrows the style of Nazi cartoons. As Craig Offman reported in the Post, last winter students at the University of Manitoba found themselves confronted by posters near a campus bookshop depicting, among other things, a hooked-nosed Hasidic Jew with a star of David pointing a bazooka at the nose of an Arab carrying a slingshot; and an Israeli helicopter with a swastika on top, bombing a baby bottle.

Moreover, the word "apartheid," now a favourite of the anti-Israel movement, carries intentionally vicious overtones of racism. It's a way of setting the final terms of an issue before it can be discussed.

The most distressing quality of the attacks, however, is their singularity. They leave us with the impression that Israel deserves more censure than any other country on Earth — in fact, more than all other countries combined. Enemies of Israel may sometimes claim that they have also passed resolutions deploring genocide in Africa or dictatorship in Burma. But these views are expressed in comparative privacy. No widespread, long-running movements accompany them.

Does York University in Toronto, so dedicated to justice for Palestinians, also devote a week every year to the fate of the Falun Gong in China? Do Concordia University students in Montreal demonstrate against the mass rapes in the Congo? Does the Ontario branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which favours boycotting Israeli universities, have anything to say about Tibetan freedom? Have any of them heard of the World Uighur Congress's defence of oppressed Muslims in the Xinjiang province of western China? And when dealing with the Gaza conflict, not one campus group anywhere (so far as I know) mounted a campaign against Hamas killings of fellow Palestinians. They also avoid mentioning the Hamas policy of using women and children as human shields.

So far as we can learn from how they act in public, these organizations appear to have a foreign policy with only one item on its agenda, the same one they would have if they were in fact motivated fundamentally by anti-Semitism.

Howard Jacobson, a British novelist and journalist, calls this phenomenon "Jew-hating pure and simple, the Jew-hating which many of us have always suspected was the only explanation for the disgust that contorts and disfigures faces when the mere word Israel crops up in conversation."

Those who oppose Israel's policies have a right to their opinions and their anger, however unreasonable. And those, like me, who are infuriated by the relentless and totally selective drumbeat, also have a right to our grave suspicions.

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