Nov. 19: Israel Briefs
Swedish journalist reconsiders
A journalist who accused Israeli soldiers of harvesting Palestinian organs in a popular Swedish newspaper is reconsidering his position. Donald Bostrom cancelled a scheduled appearance at a conference in Beirut after a visit to Israel in which he participated in dialogue on the issue, according to Army Radio. Bostrom was in Israel last month for a media conference in Dimona. The Beirut conference was set to be an anti-Israel hate fest, according to reports. “The visit to Israel and the fact that I was part of a fair dialogue made me rethink the whole issue,” Bostrom reportedly told associates, according to Ha’aretz. In an article published in August in the popular Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Bostrum reported that Israel seized young Palestinian men and returned them to their families with missing organs. The story, which ran under the headline “They plunder the organs of our sons,” also cited the recent arrest of a New York rabbi accused of trafficking in human organs. During the Dimona conference, Bostrum admitted that his only proof of organ stealing came from allegations of Palestinian families.
9/11 monument built in Jerusalem
A monument to the victims of 9/11 was dedicated in Jerusalem. The monument, commissioned and built by the Jewish National Fund-USA/Keren Kayemet LeIsrael, depicts the World Trade Center and Pentagon through sculpture and landscape architecture. Designed by award-winning Israeli artist Eliezer Weishoff, the 30-foot high bronze sculpture is composed of a waving American flag transformed into a memorial flame. It rests on a gray granite base, part of which is from the original Twin Towers. The sculpture is surrounded by a circular, crater-like plaza and reflection area tiled in stone. The Jerusalem monument is the only site outside of New York to recognize the names of every victim of the attack, engraved on bronze plaques surrounding the sculpture.
Hezbollah vetoes Anne Frank
Hezbollah pressured a private school in Beirut to drop from its curriculum a textbook containing excerpts of The Diary of Anne Frank. The English-language school, which asked not to be identified, acceded to pressure after Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television station ran a segment chiding the school for including the posthumously published Holocaust memoir in its lessons, the French news agency AFP reported. Hezbollah, which Israel and Canada consider a terrorist group, called the diary’s inclusion part of “an open arena for the Zionist invasion of education.” Attorney Naim Kalaani, a member of a committee to ban Zionist products, told Al-Manar the use of the book in a school constituted a violation of Lebanon's penal code and “tantamount to a step toward normalization” in ties with Israel. Hezbollah could not be reached by the station for comment. The Paris-based organization Aladdin’s Project, which fights Holocaust denial and was the first to translate Anne Frank’s diary into Arabic, issued a statement condemning Hezbollah’s “intimidation campaign.” The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors denounced what it called a disgraceful act as a “twin blow against decency. It is a blatant expression of Holocaust denial, and an assault on one of the great works of modern literature and civilization.”
Peres honored in Brazil
Israeli President Shimon Peres became an honorary citizen of Brazil’s capital, Brasilia. The honour was granted last week during Peres’ visit to the Brazilian Congress. “This title is a great honour to me and to all the people of Israel. Brasilia is the capital of a new world,” Peres declared. Peres is the first Israeli president to visit Brazil in 40 years. He had a heavy five-day agenda, including a meeting with President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and several other government officials. Peres also attended long-anticipated meetings with the Jewish communities in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which are home to most of the country's 120,000 Jews. Peres told the Brazilian media before leaving Israel that he would discuss with Lula the issue of peace negotiations in the Middle East, but he would not tackle the subject of Iran, although the Islamic Republic’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be welcomed by Brazil next week. Giora Becher, Israel’s ambassador to Brazil, said that “Brazil has a very important role in supporting and helping the moderate forces in the Arab world, and among the Palestinians against terrorists, and against those who don’t believe in the peace process and don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist.”
Alleged Jewish terrorist charged
During a hearing last week, a Jerusalem district prosecutor said Yaakov Teitel will be indicted for two murders of Palestinians later this week. He also will be charged with incitement to racism, unlawful possession of explosives and weapons and sabotage, according to reports. Teitel, 37, was arrested Oct. 7 in a joint police-Shin Bet operation. Along with allegedly killing two Palestinians, he also allegedly assembled a package bomb that seriously injured the son of a messianist Jew and set up a pipe bomb near the home of prominent professor Ze’ev Sternhell. A Florida native. Teitel made aliyah in 2000.
– files from JTA