BBC feeding infamous anti-Semitic lies to Iranians -- in Persian (& Europe’s Israel obsession)

December 23, 2009


1. BBC feeding disgraceful anti-Semitic lies to Iranians -- in Persian
2. A baroness and her words of unwisdom
3. An interview in Persian
4. “British media revive the old Israel organ fable” (Tom Gross, National Post, Dec. 23, 2009)
5. “Europe’s Israel obsession” (Wall Street Journal Europe, editorial, Dec. 23, 2009)


[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a short dispatch, with two pieces, which are quite brief so I suggest you read them in full.

The first is something I published yesterday evening on the websites of The National Post (Canada) and The National Review (America).

To be clear: There was absolutely no harvesting of organs by Israel despite what the BBC and others are reporting. Organ harvesting is when you take organs for profit or to transplant them into someone else, and without permission. In Israel, this is against the law, and someone needs to expressly state that they want their organs removed for research after they die. By contrast in several Western countries, including Spain, Belgium, Austria, Finland, France, Norway and Singapore, doctors can “presume consent” for organ transplants of the deceased. See here, for example.

In any case what the BBC and other British media have reported in recent days, as I explain in the piece below, is an utter lie based on the traditional anti-Semitic blood libel (common historically in the run up to Easter or Christmas) of Jews mutilating non-Jews by removing organs or blood, a lie that made a crucial contribution to centuries of pogroms culminating in the Holocaust.

The Guardian has at least apologized for what it calls its “serious error” unlike the BBC.



The second item below is the editorial from today’s Wall Street Journal Europe.

The writers of this editorial are subscribers to my email list and they pick up on my points in Sunday’s dispatch about Baroness Catherine Ashton using her maiden speech as EU Foreign Policy chief in the European Parliament to trash Israel, and also on the point I made in the dispatch before that about the steel – yes, steel – wall that the Palestinians’ Arab brother nation, Egypt, is quietly building alongside Gaza.

In the sixth paragraph, the Journal highlights the photos of Gaza I found in Palestine Today, which I wrote about in my recent article for the paper.

-- Tom Gross



PS. For those on this list that read Persian, you can find an interview with me here about the situation in Iran and Obama’s approach to it, with Radio Farda, the leading pro-democracy radio and website broadcasting into Iran.



British media revive the old Israel organ fable
By Tom Gross
The National Post (Canada) / NRO (America)
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On Sunday, I noted that the British media’s slandering of Israel has gone further than usual recently and is no longer just limited to leftist papers like The Independent and The Guardian, but is now common in more conservative ones such as The Times, Daily Telegraph and Financial Times.

(This sensationalist photo, of unknown origin, is highlighted on the BBC Persian website alongside its latest story about the Jewish state.)

In the past two days, the British print media have gone further, digging up a story from 15 years ago about an Israeli doctor who transplanted minor organs, like corneas and skin tissue, from dead Israelis – mainly Jewish Israelis, but also a few Arab ones – to suggest to readers that Israel is now, as a matter of policy, harvesting the major organs of live Palestinians.

(Some countries, notably China – but not Israel – do remove live organs for transplant, but there is scarcely a word about this in the British media. The Iranian-backed Lebanese terror militia Hizbullah has been accused of harvesting the organs of Lebanese Christians, with hardly any investigation of this charge by the so-called human-rights groups of America and Europe.)

This morning, The Guardian, unlike other British newspapers, apologized, saying:

“We should not have put the headline “Israel admits harvesting Palestinian organs” on a story about an admission, by the former head of the Abu Kabir forensic institute near Tel Aviv, that during the 1990s specialists at the institute harvested organs from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers without getting permission from the families of the deceased (21 December, page 15). That headline did not match the article, which made clear that the organs were not taken only from Palestinians. This was a serious editing error and the headline has been changed online to reflect the text of the story written by the reporter.”

Yet as of Tuesday evening (Iran time), for a second straight day, the British taxpayer-funded BBC Persian language service is continuing to highlight the outrageous anti-Semitic lie that Israel is harvesting the organs of Palestinians – on its home page here and in a story here.

You do not see such garbage on Radio Farda, which is the U.S. government’s equivalent of BBC Persian.

BBC Persian is under the direct supervision of the British foreign office. Why British politicians and commentators (including those from the Conservative party) put up with it, is beyond me.

Isn’t the Iranian regime serving up enough anti-Semitic hate on its own without the BBC joining in?

(Incidentally, many governments have considered using organs more than Israel does. For example, Britain, but the BBC hasn’t made a conspiracy theory out of that.)



Europe’s Israel Obsession
Too bad Ms. Ashton didn’t visit the Jewish state before bashing it.
The Wall Street Journal
December 23, 2009

Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland (the European Union’s new chief diplomat in the likely case you don’t know her) isn’t exactly what one would call “experienced.” Perhaps to shed her much-deserved reputation as a foreign-policy novice, she used her maiden speech in the European Parliament to fuel the Continent’s No. 1 international-affairs obsession: trashing the Jewish state.

“We’re deeply concerned about daily living conditions of people in Gaza,” she told law makers last week. “Israel should reopen the crossings without delay.”

It’s rather odd, to say the least, that no sooner had Israel left Gaza in 2005, than the same people who so anxiously had called for Israel to “end the occupation” wanted it back in the picture. Even though Hamas returned Israel’s peace gesture with relentless rocket attacks, Israel is nevertheless expected to establish some sort of free-trade zone with the Islamists and open its borders again to Palestinian suicide bombers.

Egypt, the Palestinians’ Arab brother nation, meanwhile, can quietly build a steel wall—yes, steel — at its Gaza border without having to fear negative Western press coverage, let alone the Baroness’s wrath. She has only Israel in her crosshairs, even though Jerusalem is actually still providing a lifeline to the Palestinians.

Despite all the misreporting about a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza as a result of Israel’s blockade, the flow of aid support from Israel to the narrow strip is uninterrupted. In the week of Dec. 13 -Dec. 19 alone, 553 truckloads with 13,587 tons of merchandise reached Gaza from Israel, according to the Israeli foreign ministry.

The result is obvious. For an authentic look at life in Gaza, check out the photos of crowded markets filled with food, clothing and candy, published last month on the Web site of “Palestine Today,” a Gaza newspaper, as first reported on these pages by Mideast analyst Tom Gross (

It is not surprising, perhaps, that the Baroness cannot summon insights into the Gaza situation. She cannot get the EU’s own policy straight, either.

“The EU is opposed...,” Ms. Ashton claimed, “to the construction of the separation barrier.” Just a week earlier, though, her bosses, the 27 foreign ministers of the EU member states, declared that “the separation barrier where built on occupied land... (is) illegal under international law.” That’s not quite the same as the total opposition the Baroness implied, particularly given the fact that the barrier largely follows the 1949 armistice line.

The EU’s new foreign-policy grandee apparently will not look beyond the legalistic objections to the barrier’s trajectory to see the immense benefits it has brought to both parties. The barrier helped prevent Palestinian terrorism, thus bringing security to Israelis and Palestinians, which in turn was instrumental in paving the road for the Palestinian territories’ recent economic revival. And without this return of calm and security, Israel could never be expected to make further concessions for peace.

Almost as revealing as Lady Ashton’s criticism of Israel was her silence about continued Palestinian incitement to violence or Hamas’s brutal rule in Gaza. While lambasting Israel’s “occupation,” she failed to acknowledge that it is the Palestinians’ refusal to restart negotiations rather than Israeli intransigence that stands in the way of a Palestinian state.

Lady Ashton plans her first official visit to the region early next year. It’s a shame that the good Baroness didn’t go on such a fact-finding trip before bashing the Mideast’s only true democracy.

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