A diplomatic row has erupted between Sweden and Israel over an allegedly anti-semitic newspaper article. Israel wants an apology after the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet repeated claims that Israeli troops stole and then sold the organs of Palestinians who died in custody in the early 1990s.
But Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, has rejected Israeli calls for official condemnation saying freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy. The Swedish government’s refusal to criticise the story has provoked in outrage in Israel with the issue discussed at the weekly cabinet meeting. Israel’s Science and Technology Minister, Daniel Hershkowitz said: “It’s an unacceptable behaviour of the government of Sweden and I very much hope that it will find very soon the proper way to condemn that publication in the Swedish newspaper.” The paper’s editor Jan Helin said: “It’s deeply unpleasant and sad to see such a strong propaganda machine using centuries-old anti-Semitic images in an apparent attempt to get an obviously topical issue off the table.”