Monday, August 24, 2009

Ducking and weaving

The Swedish government, which for now has the Presidency of the EU, has refused to condemn the 'blood libel' article that recently appeared in a major Swedish daily. The Swedes used the same argument as the Danish government when, despite strong pressure from Islamic governments and groups, it refused to condemn the cartoons of Mohammed.

So are the two situations comparable? I would argue that they are in one important sense complete opposites. Both the article and the cartoons were considered dangerous due to a connection to violence.

In the case of the cartoons, it was Muslim violence, which indeed was soon unleashed in many spots around the world and apparently, even today intimidates places like Yale University Press. (Although, as several commentators have pointed out, YUP may have been guided equally by hopes of getting Saudi or Gulf funding.)

In the case of the 'blood libel' article alleging that Israeli military killed Palestinians to harvest their organs, the most likely result will be increased hatred and violence against Israelis and Jews.

Seen in that light, the Swedish government's position is considerably less principled and noble. Meanwhile, the Swedish paper has published a second article, this time alleging that the IDF stole organs from a Palestinian teenager killed ... in 1992. Gee, recycling a 17-year-old rumor - sounds like the bottom of the barrel to me!

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