(An) Italy-based group of researchers studied Israel’s use of ammunition and said the population of the Gaza Strip is “in danger.” It based the claim on soil analysis of four bomb craters. “It is essential to intervene at once to limit the effects of the contamination on people, animals and cultivation,” the researchers stated…
“Our study indicates an anomalous presence of toxic elements in the soil,” (the committee’s spokesperson) stated. This included metals that “can cause tumors and problems with fertility, and they can have serious effects on newborns, like deformities and genetic pathologies.”
The article continues:
Professor Gerald Steinberg, founder of the Jerusalem-based, non-governmental Monitor organization, said the study did not present enough evidence to support its claim… (He) said the committee’s “accusations are designed to stigmatize Israel and erase the context of mass terror.” He said he considers the accusations “a modern form of blood libel.”
Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress had a similar reaction:
“This so-called research is eerily reminiscent of ancient blood libels against the Jewish people, when rumors were spread about Jews poisoning wells” … “Today we are seeing a recurrence of all the worst excesses of anti-Semitism and diatribes that we perhaps naively thought had remained in the Dark Ages.”
I don’t know if the Italian scientists’ research is accurate or not, but I do know this: we Jews are becoming much too fond of shouting “blood libel” for political purposes.
Not long ago, of course, the epithet was directed at Judge Richard Goldstone. I’m also reminded of another recent news story, in which a Swedish newspaper made the ghoulish claim that Israel was killing Palestinians to harvest their organs. Israel’s outrage was inevitably swift:
“This is an anti-Semitic blood libel against the Jewish people and the Jewish state. The Swedish government cannot remain apathetic,” said Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.
“We know the origins of these claims. In medieval times, there were claims that the Jews use the blood of Christians to bake their Matzas for Passover. The modern version now is that the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers use organs of Palestinians to make money.”
When I first heard this news, I was also outraged by the allegations. Then I read last month that a former head of an Israeli forensic institute admitted that forensic pathologists did indeed illegally harvest organs from bodies, including Palestinian bodies, in the 1990s.
According to reports there was no proof that individuals were actually killed for their organs – but as I continue to read up on this incident, I’ve become further mortified to learn that NGOs have long considered Israel to be among the top purveyors of illegal organ-trafficking in the world. Will we take these kinds of reports seriously or will we simply accuse these organizations of blood libel as well?
While there is still no lack of irrational hatred directed at Jews, I believe Israel does the Jewish people no good every time its leaders invoke the spectre of anti-Semitism to deflect criticism. At the end of the day, which is worse: the very real scourge of anti-Jewish prejudice or the cynical accusation of blood libel to cover up potential crimes of our own?