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Israel: Anti-Semites Said We Stole Organs from Dead Palestinians -- By the Way: We Did

Doctor admits Israeli pathologists harvested organs without consent

Ian Black, Middle East editor
The Guardian, Monday 21 December 2009

Israel has admitted pathologists harvested organs from dead Palestinians, and others, without the consent of their families – a practice it said ended in the 1990s – it emerged at the weekend.

The admission, by the former head of the country's forensic institute, followed a furious row prompted by a Swedish newspaper reporting that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to use their organs – a charge that Israel denied and called "antisemitic".

The revelation, in a television documentary, is likely to generate anger in the Arab and Muslim world and reinforce sinister stereotypes of Israel and its attitude to Palestinians. Iran's state-run Press TV tonight reported the story, illustrated with photographs of dead or badly injured Palestinians.

Ahmed Tibi, an Israeli Arab MP, said the report incriminated the Israeli army.

The story emerged in an interview with Dr Yehuda Hiss, former head of the Abu Kabir forensic institute near Tel Aviv. The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic who released it because of the row between Israel and Sweden over a report in the Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet.

Channel 2 TV reported that in the 1990s, specialists at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without permission from relatives.

The Israeli military confirmed to the programme that the practice took place, but added: "This activity ended a decade ago and does not happen any longer."

Hiss said: "We started to harvest corneas ... whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family."

However, there was no evidence that Israel had killed Palestinians to take their organs, as the Swedish paper reported. Aftonbladet quoted Palestinians as saying young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israeli forces and their bodies returned to their families with missing organs. The interview with Hiss was released by Nancy Scheper-Hughes, professor of anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley who had conducted a study of Abu Kabir.

She was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that while Palestinians were "by a long shot" not the only ones affected, she felt the interview must be made public, because "the symbolism, you know, of taking skin of the population considered to be the enemy, [is] something, just in terms of its symbolic weight, that has to be reconsidered."

Israel demanded that Sweden condemn the Aftonbladet article, calling it an antisemitic "blood libel". Stockholm refused, saying that to so would violate freedom of speech in the country. The foreign minister then cancelled a visit to Israel, just as Sweden was taking over the EU's rotating presidency.

Hiss was removed from his post in 2004, when some details about organ harvesting were first reported, but he still works at the forensic institute.

Israel's health ministry said all harvesting was now done with permission. "The guidelines at that time were not clear," it said in a statement to Channel 2. "For the last 10 years, Abu Kabir has been working according to ethics and Jewish law."

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Satirical title? Bunkum!

Even the original article states: "She was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that while Palestinians were "by a long shot" not the only ones affected"

And so Jeffrey your (claimed) satirical title is just deliberately misleading AND deliberately untrue.

Satirical title? Obvious bunkum!

Deliberately untrue title? Obviously!

Jeffrey: Irony? The real irony is your transparently shallow and puerile attempt to demonstrate integrity.
Hi Paul,

The original title is accurate: Benjamin Netanyahu publicly accused the reporter of the story of blood libel. Lunatic "supporters of Israel" jumped on the band wagon with the usual charges of Anti-semitism..Your own responses to the now-confirmed facts of the story adopt Netanyahu's strategy and pattern: deflect responsibility for Israeli crimes by accusing others.
.
No apologies from Benjamin Netanyahu have been forthcoming.
Hi Paul,

Regarding the Jewish medical tradition: The tradition does not consider all parts of the body sacred, but only all parts of a Jewish body.
Aftonbladet Silent on Jordan's Organ Trafficking -- by Andrea LEVIN (Camera -- December 23, 2009)


Aftonbladet Silent on Jordan's Organ Trafficking

by Andrea LEVIN
Camera
December 23, 2009

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=6&x_article=1774

Given the apparently intense interest of Sweden's Aftonbladet in the subject of organ trafficking and Palestinians when it allegedly involved Israel, editor Jan Helin and culture editor Asa Linderborg have been strangely silent about an October 21, 2009 AFP story recounting the arrest and extradition of 11 Jordanians from Egypt to Amman for illegal organ activity related to impoverished Palestinians.
 
CAMERA sent a query to the editors on October 23, 2009 asking if the paper would be reporting the story, but received no answer. It's notable, indeed, that Aftonbladet seems unconcerned about a news story reporting a recent government study in Jordan found "of 130 cases in which kidneys were sold, nearly 80 percent of 'donors' were Palestinians from Baqaa in northwest Amman, the largest refugee camp in the country." Why no interest in the AFP account about lamentable treatment of vulnerable Palestinians?
 
Can it be the editors are not intrinsically interested in the plight of Palestinians and eager to report on their circumstances whenever and wherever they're victimized by anyone, whether Jordanians and Egyptians — or any other group? Is it possible Aftonbladet is only interested in Palestinians when Israel can be invoked, attacked and castigated, however absurd the charges? 
 
Below is the October letter to Jan Helin urging coverage of the Jordan story:
 

 
October 23, 2009
 
Dear Mr. Helin,
 
I write to bring your attention to an AFP story this week concerning organ trafficking in Jordan. Palestinians, it seems, are chief among those targeted. As the Oct 21 piece in the Kuwaiti Arab Times paper linked here notes [ed: the link to the Kuwaiti paper has been removed. The AFP original remains] :

According to a recent government study of 130 cases in which kidneys were sold, nearly 80 percent of 'donors' were Palestinians from Baqaa in northwest Amman, the largest refugee camp in the country.

We're wondering if you'll be covering this story — which is a current one, verifiable and not from 1992 as Donald Bostrom's was — about organ abuses. We assume, on the basis of Aftonbladet's August 17 story that the paper has a particular interest in organ trafficking issues, as well as the concerns of Palestinians in this regard.We look forward to your informing your readers about the trafficking reported here and the reference to Egypt, India and Pakistan as venues for harvesting organs from various vulnerable peoples.

As previously requested, we continue to urge response to our letter of September 11, 2009and corrections of errors in the August 17 Aftonbladet feature story.

Sincerely,

Andrea Levin

Executive Director and President
CAMERA
 

 
 

AMMAN, Oct 21, 2009 (AFP) - Ali, a 30-year-old Jordanian father of three, was without a job and desperate. A friend convinced him that selling one of his kidneys could improve conditions for his family and also save someone's life.

So he flew to Egypt earlier this year, had a kidney removed, and was paid 5,000 dollars. But it was a Faustian bargain.

'I regret it with all my heart. I don't know what I was thinking,' Ali told AFP. 'I got all 5,000 dollars after I donated the kidney, but I did not see or know the person I gave my kidney to.

'Now I know I made a bad mistake out of ignorance. I don't have a job, and poverty and hard conditions blinded me to what I was doing.'

Ali was just one of dozens of cash-strapped people in Jordan who sold a kidney to brokers who prey on the poor.

Mohammed, 29, said he too was promised 5,000 dollars for a kidney, but after the operation he was given less than half of the money in late 2008.

'I couldn't do anything about it. They told me 'take it or leave it',' said the father of two.

'I still can't find a job, I'm still poor and now all the money is gone. My life did not improve.'

Mohammed said he was deceived into thinking he would 'still have a normal life' after the operation.

'I've been feeling exhausted since my kidney was removed. I know I am not well but I don't know what's wrong. I can't see a doctor because I hear police are looking out for people like me,' he added in a hoarse voice.

'My life has changed. I can't even sit and talk comfortably with my wife and children. This is always on my mind.'

Reliable data on organ trafficking is not available, but Jordanian officials insist it is not a pressing issue. Organ trafficking is banned, with penalties of up to five years' jail and 28,000 dollars in fines.

In September, 11 Jordanians were extradited by Cairo and charged in Amman with trafficking in human organs, mainly kidneys, and selling them illegally in Egypt for up to 30,000 dollars each.

Other suspects are being interrogated and seven more are on the run, police said.

In the tiny desert kingdom, official figures show that 70 percent of the nearly six-million population is under the age of 30 and that unemployment is running at 14.3 percent.

However, independent estimates put the jobless figure more than double, at 30 percent.

In 2007, a year in which more than 80 cases of trafficking were uncovered, Jordan created a National Commission to Promote Organ Donation in a bid to end illegal trafficking and encourage people to donate their organs.

-- 'Everything is for sale, including human organs' --

'Traffickers work on commission, preying on poor people to convince them to sell their kidneys and then facilitating their travel to a third country for the operations,' said state coroner Momen Hadidi, the commission's rapporteur.

'More than 800 people die every year in Jordan in road accidents. We should be encouraging the relatives of these victims to donate the organs of their loved ones. That way we can begin to reduce the demand,' he said.

According to a recent government study of 130 cases in which kidneys were sold, nearly 80 percent of 'donors' were Palestinians from Baqaa in northwest Amman, the largest refugee camp in the country.

Most were under the age of 31, lived in absolute poverty and had no criminal record.

The study said operations to remove the kidneys used to take place in Iraq, but since the 2003 US-led invasion, young men are now sent to Egypt, India and Pakistan.

A senior doctor and scientific adviser to the queen played down the extent of the problem.

'There is no organ trafficking problem in the kingdom. Such things are simply small scale improprieties,' nephrologist Mohammed Lawzi said.

'Most people who sell their kidneys cite poverty as a reason but they don't use the money to improve their financial situation.'

Lawzi advises King Abdullah II's wife Queen Rania, who heads the Jordan Society for Organ Donation.

'Many donors are drug addicts seeking an easy way to get money,' he said. 'This happens all over the world, not just in Jordan.'

But University of Jordan sociologist Seri Nasser disagreed.

'It's a problem and a crime in Jordan, just like it's a problem and crime all over the word,' he said.

'Materialism rules these days and everything is for sale, including human organs -- and for some people that means profit,' said Nasser, who felt that tackling unemployment and poverty would help in the fight against such trafficking.

'People sell their organs mostly because they are poor and jobless. They think 'it's my kidney and I can sell it',' he said.

The World Health Organisation believes that organ trafficking is increasing, with brokers reportedly charging wealthy patients between 100,000 dollars and 200,000 dollars for a transplant.

Donors, often impoverished and ill-educated, may receive as little as 1,000 dollars for a kidney although the going price is more likely to be about 5,000 dollars, it said.

A recent joint study by the United Nations and the Council of Europe called for a new international convention to stop trafficking in organs, tissues and cells.

The study pointed to a high number of unreported cases of trafficking because of low risks and huge profits for perpetrators.

It stressed the need to collect reliable data and called for an internationally agreed definition of trafficking in human body parts.

Between five and 10 per cent of kidney transplants performed annually around the world are estimated to be the result of organ trafficking.

Very much commitment and words for a factual report. No matter how many years he has been. I personally as a German would never forget the Holocaust. It is very important to me, even the history to future generations is impressive run with documentation in mind. My deepest wish is that she will never forget. This is Vital for me.
Eva
Hi Eva,

Thank you for your note.

Paul had stated earlier his view that these Israeli crimes were too old to be worth talking about, and therefore no longer news; I replied with an obvious fact: such standards for discussion
would prevent any discussion of the Holocaust, which occurred many years before Israel
started stealing organs from dead Palestinians and lying about it. Paul has now progressed to the position that we should respond to the illegal harvesting of organs by Israel by focusing on the crimes of our enemies.

This raises a related issue. On your personal page you express a concern regarding freedom of expression on the mepeace site. This seems to me a valid concern, as members and moderators serve frequently to work stridently against rationality and compassion on the site, rather than to promote these values. The methods are pretty obvious: Unwanted comments are not so much censored here, as they are buried under avalanches of irrelevancies and calls for faux universalism.
This thread is closed. see that even the Guradian admits it is a wrong title.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/21/israeli-pathologists-ha...

Doctor admits Israeli pathologists harvested organs without consent


* Ian Black, Middle East editor
* The Guardian, Monday 21 December 2009
* Article history

Israel has admitted pathologists harvested organs from dead Palestinians, and others, without the consent of their families – a practice it said ended in the 1990s – it emerged at the weekend.

The admission, by the former head of the country's forensic institute, followed a furious row prompted by a Swedish newspaper reporting that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to use their organs – a charge that Israel denied and called "antisemitic".

The revelation, in a television documentary, is likely to generate anger in the Arab and Muslim world and reinforce sinister stereotypes of Israel and its attitude to Palestinians. Iran's state-run Press TV tonight reported the story, illustrated with photographs of dead or badly injured Palestinians.

Ahmed Tibi, an Israeli Arab MP, said the report incriminated the Israeli army.

The story emerged in an interview with Dr Yehuda Hiss, former head of the Abu Kabir forensic institute near Tel Aviv. The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic who released it because of the row between Israel and Sweden over a report in the Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet.

Channel 2 TV reported that in the 1990s, specialists at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without permission from relatives.

The Israeli military confirmed to the programme that the practice took place, but added: "This activity ended a decade ago and does not happen any longer."

Hiss said: "We started to harvest corneas ... whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family."

However, there was no evidence that Israel had killed Palestinians to take their organs, as the Swedish paper reported. Aftonbladet quoted Palestinians as saying young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israeli forces and their bodies returned to their families with missing organs. The interview with Hiss was released by Nancy Scheper-Hughes, professor of anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley who had conducted a study of Abu Kabir.

She was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that while Palestinians were "by a long shot" not the only ones affected, she felt the interview must be made public, because "the symbolism, you know, of taking skin of the population considered to be the enemy, [is] something, just in terms of its symbolic weight, that has to be reconsidered."

Israel demanded that Sweden condemn the Aftonbladet article, calling it an antisemitic "blood libel". Stockholm refused, saying that to so would violate freedom of speech in the country. The foreign minister then cancelled a visit to Israel, just as Sweden was taking over the EU's rotating presidency.

Hiss was removed from his post in 2004, when some details about organ harvesting were first reported, but he still works at the forensic institute.

Israel's health ministry said all harvesting was now done with permission. "The guidelines at that time were not clear," it said in a statement to Channel 2. "For the last 10 years, Abu Kabir has been working according to ethics and Jewish law."

• This article was amended on 21 December 2009. The headline was changed as it did not reflect accurately the contents of the story. Nancy Scheper-Hughes's name was misspelled as Nancy Sheppard-Hughes in the original text.
Hi Neri,

There is no reason to censor this story, so let's continue to allow people to respond as they please.

Thanks,

Jeff

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