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article imageIsrael and Sweden in spat over 'anti-Semitic' newspaper article

By Michael Krebs     Aug 23, 2009 in World
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asks the Swedish government to condemn an article that was published in a Swedish newspaper, citing anti-Semitism. The story accused Israeli soldiers of trafficking Palestinian organs.
An article in a Swedish newspaper has sparked a rift between Israel and Sweden and has opened a debate on tolerable free speech versus open anti-Semitism.
"Mr. Netanyahu called on the Swedish government to condemn the article, published last week in the Stockholm daily Aftonbladet, which claimed that Israeli soldiers were involved in trafficking the organs of some Palestinians they had killed," The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has no intention of interfering with the Swedish media under the grounds of his respect for the nation's free speech laws.
"He's been quite clear that the Swedish government is not going to apologize and he can't intervene with Swedish media," a Swedish Foreign Ministry official said.
"The article, based on Palestinian and United Nations sources, suggested that Israeli soldiers who harvested organs from the bodies of Palestinians were linked to the organ-trafficking ring uncovered in New Jersey and Israel, the Associated Press and Israel's Ynet news agency reported. Israeli officials say the report is based on hearsay," The Wall Street Journal reported.
Mr. Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Europe in the coming week, and Israeli officials said the spat would not have an impact on that trip.
More about Israel, Sweden, Newspaper, Anti-Semitic, Free speech
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