Anti-Semitic Canard About 'Organ Harvesting' Spreads Globally
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Anti-Semitic Canard About 'Organ Harvesting' Spreads Globally

ADL: Rumors a New Variation of the Blood Libel


New York, NY, September 16, 2009 What started as a false and malicious report in a Swedish newspaper that Israeli soldiers were harvesting organs from Palestinians has mushroomed into a full-blown global conspiracy theory alleging a Jewish plot to harvest organs from Algerian children, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

One newly hatched conspiracy theory charges that Jews in the U.S. and Israel are engaged in buying the organs of children kidnapped from the streets of Algeria in order to sell them on the black market.

"Unfounded rumors about illicit Jewish organ harvesting, once relegated to a Swedish newspaper, have taken on a life of their own in the Middle East," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The rumors have spread through the blogosphere and are being reported in Arabic-language media as truth.  Yet they are nothing more than fantasy charges with no connection to reality, a fabrication that only reinforces hateful notions about Israelis and Jews."

Similar rumors about Israelis and Jews harvesting organs have appeared in newspapers across the Middle East, where anti-Semitic caricatures and editorial cartoons show Israeli soldiers greedily cutting organs from Palestinians.

"This is a new variation of the ancient blood libel," said Mr. Foxman.  "The only difference is that today we have the Internet, which enables a hateful canard to spread, not just door to door or village to village, but globally in a matter of nanoseconds."


Chronology of an Anti-Semitic Libel

While it is difficult to pinpoint the source of rumors of Jewish "organ harvesting," the myths started spreading on the Internet following the arrest of a New Jersey rabbi on charges of allegedly selling organs as part of a larger graft conspiracy involving public officials.  This prompted anti-Semitic "organ harvesting" rumors across the Internet and around the world. 


The spread of those rumors have been aided and fueled by several significant triggers, according to ADL, including:


  • The August 17 publication of an article in Aftonbladet, the Swedish daily newspaper, which unconscionably accused Israeli soldiers of kidnapping Palestinians in order to harvest their organs.  The article, "They plunder the organs of our sons" was circulated around the world on the Internet and applauded in editorials in the online editions of leading pan-Arab satellite news networks Al Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.
  • A fabricated story in the Arabic-language Algerian daily El-Khabar on September 6 claiming that Interpol, the international police organization, has revealed the existence of "a Jewish gang" that was "involved in the abduction of children from Algeria and trafficking of their organs."  The story has since appeared on Al Jazeera, Iran's international network Press TV, in various Arab-American newspapers and Web sites.
  • A series of editorial cartoons, appearing in newspapers in Jordan, Oman, Qatar and other Arab countries depicting Israeli soldiers as vicious butchers, gleefully cutting off the body parts of Arabs, and accusing Israel of harvesting Palestinian organs.

  • In the U.S. several groups have repeated the allegations from the Swedish newspaper and called for action.  The American Muslims for Palestine, for example, issued a statement demanding that the U.S. and United Nations investigate "Israeli culpability in the New Jersey Rabbis case" and allegations "concerning illegally harvesting Palestinian organs."


The allegation that Jews murder non-Jews to use their blood for ritual or medicinal purposes dates back to the Middle Ages and has spawned many variants over time. Jewish law expressly prohibits the consumption of any blood. Nevertheless, it was alleged that Jews drank Christian blood on Passover and mixed it into matzah, the unleavened bread eaten on the holiday.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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2009 Anti-Defamation League