Dutch journalist: Flu pandemics are a Jewish conspiracy (& Swedish media blood libel)

August 19, 2009

* Holland’s largest daily paper, De Telegraaf: Jews are responsible for swine flu
* Sweden’s largest paper: IDF is abducting Palestinian children to steal their organs
* Rival Swedish paper says it is ashamed of Swedish media anti-Semitism
* Accusations of anti-Semitism, as Israelis expelled from International Federation of Journalists
* Western-funded Palestinian Authority TV: “In all of Europe there weren’t 6 million Jews”

* Don’t express yourself! Madonna urged to stay away
* “Sex and the City” star becomes victim of anti-Israel prejudice

* Detainees in Iran report being forced to go naked, with prison guards riding on their backs. Others were piled on top of each other, also naked. Contrast the almost complete lack of Western liberal media coverage of this compared to the storm of indignation over Abu Ghraib



1. Dutch journalist: Flu pandemics are a Jewish conspiracy
2. Outrage after Israel accused of “harvesting Palestinian organs”
3. “Sex and the City” star becomes victim of anti-Israel prejudice
4. Palestinian Authority TV: “In all of Europe there weren’t 6 million Jews”

5. Italian journalists stand up for their ousted Israeli colleagues
6. Iranian swimmer withdraws from heat because of Israeli presence
7. Controversy over European envoy’s presence at Ahmadinejad inauguration
8. Ban Ki-moon congratulates Ahmadinejad, but won’t release remarks

9. Defeated presidential candidate: democracy activists being raped in prison
10. Khamenei advisor admits Iran fully supports Hizbullah
11. “UN watchdog hiding evidence on Iran nuclear program”
12. Australia grants broadcasting permission to Hizbullah TV channel

13. Don’t express yourself! Madonna urged to stay away
14. China launches an Arabic satellite channel
15. David Mamet to film The Diary of Anne Frank
16. Terror victims at the wall

[All notes below by Tom Gross]


A journalist from Holland who said Jews were responsible for the recent outbreak of swine flu has been criticized by a Dutch Jewish organization for stirring up anti-Semitic blood libels.

Holland’s largest daily, De Telegraaf, last week printed an interview with Désirée Röver, 61, who said the ongoing global flu pandemic was part of an international Jewish conspiracy to reduce the world’s population, as were previous outbreaks of bird flu and other forms of flu.

De Telegraaf also quoted her as saying that Jews are now “praying to another god; Lucifer, Satan, or however you want to call him” and “are called Rockefeller, Rothschild, Brzezinski and Kissinger.” (Rockefeller and Brzezinski are not Jewish -- TG)

The interviewer from De Telegraaf, a paper which is generally sympathetic to Israel, had harsh words to say about Röver’s comments.

Tales of Jews spreading disease “are nothing new,” a Dutch Jewish leader told the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, “and stories of Jews poisoning the water wells are known from many centuries ago. Her words are giving rise to the same kind of anti-Semitism that such myths did in the past.”

Eight Israelis, including a 12-year-old-boy, have died of swine flu in the last two weeks, as has one Palestinian.



Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, Aftonbladet, this week ran a double page spread in its Culture Section full of ancient anti-Semitic blood libels about Jews killing and mutilating gentile children, this time disguised as a “news” piece about Israel. The headline of the article (which appeared on August 17) was “They plunder the organs of our sons”. It claimed that the Israeli army, in collusion with American rabbis, is secretly abducting Palestinian children and dissecting their bodies.

Aftonbladet, which claims 1.5 million readers, added that their report should form part of an international war crimes investigation against Israel. An alert Swedish blogger who subscribes to this email list tells me that the photograph of a dead Palestinian used to accompany the article actually dates from a 1992 photo archive.

The government of Sweden has been criticized for heavily funding a number of Palestinian and extremist European NGOs and “human rights” groups in recent years that have been helping to stir up such blood libels and other anti-Semitic lies against Israel.

Like the majority (though not all) of European papers stirring up anti-Semitism, Aftonbladet is supposedly a left-wing paper.


Another Swedish paper, Sydsvenskan, ran an editorial yesterday under the headline “Antisemitbladet” (a play on the name Aftonbladet) criticizing Aftonbladet.

It said: “We have heard the story before, in one form or the other. It follows the traditional pattern of conspiracy theory about Jews. Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors. That is all it takes.

“After all we all know what the Jews are like, don’t we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything. Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: ‘Anti-Semitism’ No, no, just criticism of Israel.”

(The readers’ comments box for the Sydsvenskan article condemning Aftonbladet has been removed because it generated an onslaught of anti-Semitic abuse from Swedes.)

The latest lie about Israel in a respected European newspaper has caused outrage in Israel, even surpassing the fury at the recent anti-Semitic “news” report in The Independent of London, about Israel’s imaginary “secret uranium bombs” supposedly killing Palestinians.

Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon called the report in Aftonbladet an “outright blood libel.”


It is no accident that neo-Nazi websites the world over are increasingly reproducing articles supposedly about Israel (but actually just a cover for pure anti-Semitism) from papers like The Independent and The Guardian.

Yesterday, The Guardian was again accused of stirring up anti-Semitism in Britain (where physical attacks on Jews are now running at their highest levels for half a century) after it ran a piece by the infamous far-left Professor Slavoj Zizek, a former candidate for Presidency of Slovenia, in which he used language adopted from Nazi Germany and applied it to modern Israel.



* Aftonbladet has a track record of attacking Israel. The paper’s culture editor was asked in an interview in January about Swedish culture: “What do you wish for most in life right now?” She answered: “What a simple question. What I want is a free Palestine.”

* I mentioned another border-line anti-Semitic Aftonbladet headline, “The Crucifixion of Arafat,” in this article I wrote for The Wall Street Journal in 2005.

* Among previous dispatches on Sweden on this list, please see: Pro-Palestinian suicide bomb posters removed from Swedish subway stations (Jan. 22, 2004)

* Please also see the item about Sweden and Iran further down this dispatch.



Sex and the City star Kristin Davis has inadvertently become a victim of anti-Israel prejudice. Davis had been serving as a goodwill ambassador for Oxfam International, one of many prominent European NGOs with a track record of singling out Israel for attack.

But in a letter Oxfam made public last week, it said it was suspending “publicity work” with Davis, because it had discovered that in 2007 she signed on as a spokeswoman for Ahava cosmetics.

Ahava is the well-known manufacturer of moisturizers and a complete line of skincare products using Dead Sea minerals. Its factory is visible to those driving south on Israel’s Route 90 towards Eilat, between Jericho and Ein Gedi. Some of that road runs through disputed territory.



In the latest example of official Palestinian Holocaust denial, Abd Al-Rahman Abbad, the (Fatah-backed) Secretary General of the Palestinian Organization of Clerics and Disseminators of Islam said on official (and Westenr-funded) Palestinian Authority TV:

“Since it is known that in all of Europe there weren’t 6 million Jews, the Holocaust should be seen as one more example of Jews’ exaggeration of their sufferings.”

In the same interview, he then added that Jews had never been forcibly placed in ghettos in Europe and that the Jews had made this up.

Western media outlets such as The New York Times and The Times of London consistently fail to report on official Palestinian Holocaust denial.

Reminder: U.S. President Barak Obama sees a direct connection between Holocaust denial and Israel’s security: “I will never compromise when it comes to Israel’s security. Not when there are still voices that deny the Holocaust. Not when there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel’s destruction.” (AIPAC Conference, June 4, 2008)



Following the expulsion of The National Federation of Israeli Journalists (NFIJ) from the International Federation of journalists last month, which caused outrage and accusations of anti-Semitism in Israel (no other country’s journalists have been expelled from the federation), the Italian National Press Federation (NFSI) has said it will campaign vigorously to have the Israeli journalists reinstated.

Initially the IFJ Secretary General Aidan White claimed the NFIJ was expelled from the International Federation “for financial reasons”. But then he admitted “that the problems between us are more than just financial.”

Israeli journalists admit they stopped paying their fees after the IFJ consistently discriminated against them, for example barring them from meetings because of “what your government is doing”.

In a scathing letter sent to Aidan White on Monday, Yossi Bar Moha, secretary general of the Tel Aviv Journalists Union, wrote: “We fail to see why we should be turned into a frequent punching bag during international gatherings of the IFJ. For example, you continue to sharply criticize the Israeli media for failing to condemn the Israel Air Force attack on the Al-Manar television station in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. This is a station which is anything but a media outlet – openly calling for the destruction of Israel and serving as a propaganda arm of Hizbullah and Iran.”

“Did you expel Britain for attacking a German TV station during the Second World War?” he asked.

He pointed out the IFJ’s bias in failing to condemn the Lebanese and Palestinian news media for their silence “when missiles fired from these territories injured Israeli journalists in northern Israel and around the Gaza Strip in 2006 and 2009.”

“Israelis live in a society where journalism is vibrant, free and open, and one of the rare countries where media can and does counterbalance political power,” he added.

Some journalists from Denmark, Holland, the U.S. and Australia said they will support the Italian stand on behalf of the Israeli journalists.

But if anyone still needed evidence that there is widespread prejudice against Israel among other international journalists, this is it.



An Iranian swimmer has refused to compete against an Israeli participant at the World Championships in Rome. Mohammad Alirezaei did not compete in his heat of the men’s 50-meter breaststroke since it would have meant getting in the pool with Israeli Jewish swimmer Mickey Malul, Iranian media reported.

In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Alirezaei withdrew from the men’s 100-meter breaststroke event rather than compete against Israeli swimmer Tom Beeri, who finished fourth. Alirezai’s lane was left empty during the heat.

Last week, Israeli Itai Chammah swam the 100-meter backstroke alongside the Iraqi swimmer Saif Alaslam Saeed al-Saadi. The Israeli tabloid Yediot Ahronot reports that al-Saadi was not aware he would be competing in the same heat as the Israeli because of Chammah’s late registration.



The Swedish government, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, has defended its decision to send its ambassador in Tehran to the swearing-in of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month.

While most other EU countries were represented by lower-ranking diplomats at the special session of the Iranian parliament, Sweden was represented by Ambassador Magnus Wernstedt. “We always have our ambassador on site in every possible country, regardless of the regime in question,” said Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. “As observers, they are better when they are present than when they are absent.”

Britain’s deputy ambassador to Iran, Patrick Davies, also attended the ceremony whereas the defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and many Iranian parliamentarians boycotted it. In his inauguration speech, Ahmadinejad attacked Western countries for allegedly interfering in the Iranian elections.

Police broke up demonstrators chanting “Death to the dictator” outside the Iranian parliament as Ahmadinejad was inaugurated.



United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his (disputed) re-election, but will not release the text of his congratulatory remarks as is customary.

A UN spokesman defended Ban’s congratulations as normal procedure when a government head is inaugurated, but western leaders including President Obama, President Sarkozy, Prime Minister Brown and Chancellor Merkel all refused to extend congratulations of their own.



One of Iran’s three defeated presidential candidates, Mehdi Karoubi, said on his website that some of those arrested after the June presidential election were tortured to death, and other detained protesters, both men and women, had been raped at Tehran’s Kahrizak prison.

Karoubi adds that detainees had reported being forced to go naked, with prison guards riding on their backs. Others were piled on top of each other, also naked, he said. (Contrast the almost complete lack of Western liberal media coverage of this compared to the storm of indignation over the Abu Ghraib scandal.)

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary told a Tehran news conference last week that at least 4,000 people were arrested during demonstrations that followed last June’s presidential election. That number is more than the government has admitted previously.


Among those beaten at another anti-regime demonstration last week was the 56-year-old daughter of well-known journalist and campaigner Ezatollah Sahabi. Witnesses said police sprayed tear gas in the faces of people who tried to prevent her arrest. “Witnesses saw that Sahabi’s head was bloody in the car, which took her to an unknown place,” reports Radio Farda.



The world’s nuclear weapons watchdog is hiding data on Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear arms, senior Western diplomats and Israeli officials have told Ha’aretz.

The officials and diplomats said that the International Atomic Energy Agency under Director General Mohamed ElBaradei was refraining from publishing evidence obtained by its inspectors over the past few months that indicate Iran has speeded up its nuclear weaponization efforts.

A senior Western diplomatic told Ha'aretz that the details were censored by senior officials of the IAEA in the organization’s Vienna headquarters.

American, French, British and German senior officials are calling on ElBaradei to publish the information next month in a report due to be released at the organization’s general conference on September 14. On September 24, the UN Security Council will meet for a special discussion of weapon control and nuclear weapons proliferation.



In a rare public admission by a senior member of the Iranian regime, Ali Akbar Velayati, chief advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, has admitted Hizbullah derives all its support from Iran, including the rockets it has used to deliberately kill Israeli civilians.

Speaking on Al-Jazeera TV, Ali Akbar Velayati added that Hizbullah would not have “won” the 2006 Lebanon war had Iran not supported Hizbullah militarily and in other ways.



Hizbullah’s Lebanese TV station Al-Manar has been granted a license to broadcast in Australia. Previously, it had twice been banned in Australia for supporting terrorism. Al-Manar programs have endorsed suicide bombers, called for Israel’s destruction, and referred to Jews as the offspring of pigs and apes.

But the Australian Communication and Media Authority has now ruled, on the basis of a single week of monitoring Al-Manar, that it did not breach the anti-terrorism laws. The authority said it would investigate any further complaints should they arise.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot said the decision did not address Jewish concerns and he would take it up with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. He said Al-Manar was “viciously anti-Semitic and interlaced anti-Israel and anti-U.S. rhetoric with medieval anti-Semitic stereotypes, including the infamous blood libel.”



More than 100 Jews and Arabs are calling on pop star Madonna to call off her Tel Aviv concerts, scheduled for September 1 and 2. They have formed an organization called Israeli Support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, and on Sunday sent a letter to Madonna asking her not to perform at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.

Tel Aviv University Prof. Rachel Giora, a spokesperson for the group, wrote in the letter to Madonna: “A performance here would imply support for the illegal and inhumane policies [of Israel], described by many as war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The organization also sent a similar letter to Leonard Cohen, asking him to boycott Israel. However, Cohen has confirmed his appearance at Ramat Gan Stadium (near Tel Aviv) on September 24. (Leonard Cohen’s planned concert in Ramallah in the West Bank has been cancelled by Fatah because he refused to cancel his Israeli appearance.)

Madonna has ignored the letter. Although Madonna is not Jewish, she is known for her strong sympathy with Israel, and her appreciation of Kabbala. This month, Madonna is taking her children to Poland, where they will visit Auschwitz. She said she wanted her children to understand the horrors of the Holocaust

The organization also sent a similar letter to Leonard Cohen, asking him to boycott Israel. However, Cohen has confirmed his appearance at Ramat Gan Stadium (near Tel Aviv) on September 24.

When asked by The Jerusalem Post why she didn’t leave Israel and participate in a personal boycott, Giora said, “I strongly object to Israeli policies, but Israel is my home, so why should I leave.”


Madonna’s concert in Poland on August 15 went ahead despite threats to cancel it. Authorities in the staunchly Catholic country say they feared that her singing the hit “Like a Virgin” on the feast day of the Virgin Mary, which is a national holiday and a major event in Poland, could cause problems.

Poland’s ombudsman, Janusz Kochanowski, asked Warsaw city officials to explain why the singer was being allowed to perform on a date bound to provoke and offend. Even former President Lech Walesa, a Catholic and father of eight, said he would have liked the concert to have been rescheduled.



China Central Television (CCTV) has launched an Arabic international satellite channel. Vice President of CCTV Zhang Changming said that the channel will provide coverage of the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia-Pacific through 3 telstar satellites, and it would be accessible for nearly 300 million people in 22 Arabic-speaking countries.

The new channel will broadcast news, entertainment and cultural programs 24 hours a day “to present the world with the real China,” including programs such as Dialogue, Window on China, Documentary Films, and Chinese Arts. It will have an initial staff of about 80, and it may increase to 150 in 3 years.

Other governments, including those of Britain and France, already fund 24-hour Arab language TV stations.



The Diary of Anne Frank is to be turned into a movie, American director David Mamet has announced. He will depict the true story of the Jewish girl who hid in an Amsterdam attic before being deported to her death in Bergen Belsen where she died, aged 16.

Anne Frank’s memory has increasingly been abused in recent years. For example, see: Does Oxford think it ok to honor a man who calls Anne Frank a “Holo-porn” star
And: Belgian and Dutch Muslims circulate cartoon of Anne Frank in bed with Hitler
And: Sharon and Hitler share space at Anne Frank house in Amsterdam

But for a real account, see the third note (“My mother remembers the day she saw through the camp wire that her school friend from Amsterdam, Anne Frank, had arrived”) in this dispatch.



A special collective bar and bat-mitzvah took place at the Western Wall in Jerusalem last week. Some 70 young people who have been victims of terrorist attacks and their parents gathered to celebrate their religious coming of age.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.