ONE OF THE BIGGEST news stories this past week has been with regard to the publication in the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet of a particularly vicious – and unfounded, and fundamentally disproven – accusation leveled at Israel.
Reporter Donald Boström charged a week ago that the Israeli army kidnaps and kills Palestinians in order to harvest their organs.
That, by itself, would normally be dismissed as patently absurd by a sane and intelligent world, and should never have seen the light of day. But since it did, and if you weren’t already aware of it, you can read all about it here: Israel National news, 8/18/2009.
The reason this charge caught the world’s attention was that it was another iteration of an ancient custom that has been used for centuries to create fear of Jews in ignorant and superstitious people wherever they lived. The custom is called the blood libel, and expresses, in whatever way is historically convenient at the time, the fear that Jews are lurking to harm your children, to take the blood of your children for some unholy sacrifice.
Who would believe such a thing? Surely no one in this enlightened age would give such an obscene notion a second thought!
Surely. Yet this very myth is at the heart the Aftonbladet article. Incredible? Yes. But as this insane notion never seems to go away, it’s almost understandable that it has resurfaced in its current form.
If all this is news to you, that’s ok – but if that is the case, there is an excellent explanation of the issue here. Please go look. My intention as usual is not to be the source of breaking world news, but to call attention to what I see as oddities in the way the world at large is presenting the news.
And there is something very odd here, as it casts a large shadow over the intentions of the President of the United States.
Let me backtrack just a little. The reason this incident has become such a big news story is not because of the disgusting, horrifying nature of the blood libel. It is a big story because it has become a major international incident. The government of Israel is very rightly exploring diplomatic measures against Sweden after Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt directly refused to condemn the article. Meanwhile, it was revealed that that Mr. Bildt himself has a bit of a shaky history. And within short order, it was established there really was no factual basis for the story in the first place.
A tempest in a teapot? Well, a tempest all right, and correctly so, but a rather large teapot.
Now you may be ready to ask, where does Mr. Obama fit in with all this? That’s what I was wondering, too. He has been strangely silent on this issue.
If he were not the de facto leader of the free world, then I suppose it wouldn’t matter all that much. But we do unfortunately find him in that position. So you’d think he would let us know he’s even aware of what’s going on, whether he really cares or not.
If you wish to say he is merely withholding himself from interfering in Sweden’s domestic affairs, or getting involved in a private spat between Sweden and Israel, then all you have to do is look at some of the other meddling he has done recently. Take for example his prominent agenda to force – I mean, bring – Israel and her mortal enemies to some sort of solution that’s pleasing to him, but impossible for the actual parties concerned. Or indeed his very recent behavior in presuming the role of de facto City Manager for the sovereign capital of another nation. Oh, never mind; it’s just Israel again.
And then there is another obvious reason why we should have heard from him about this by now. He has consistently presented himself as not only the leader of the free world, but as the bringer of hope, and of change, and of worldwide religious tolerance. In his own words (Cairo, Egypt – June 4 , 2009):
All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort — a sustained effort — to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.
“Respect the dignity of all human beings,” you say? Unless, perhaps, those human beings happen to be Jews, in Sweden, America, Israel, or elsewhere. It’s all right to libel an entire nation, isn’t it, Mr. President, as long as that nation is Israel?
Mr. President, I do so hope you can change, but I’m not waiting for hell to freeze over.