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Sweden's shame over Israeli 'organ theft' nonstory

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This is a bogus argument, as anyone who understands freedom of speech will attest. I have devoted much of my life to defending freedom of speech and consider myself something of an expert on the matter. Nobody is talking about censoring the Swedish press or imprisoning the writer of the absurd article. What we are talking about is expanding the marketplace of ideas to include a completely warranted condemnation of sloppy journalism and outrageous accusations that foment an already increasing anti-Semitism in Sweden.

Freedom of speech is based on an open and vibrant marketplace of ideas. No journalist is immune from criticism for bigotry and defamation, even from high-ranking government officials.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredik Reinfeldt's claim that the Swedish Constitution prohibits government officials from commenting on false and defamatory press reports has been contradicted by the Swedish chancellor of justice, Goran Lambertz, who said the following:

"The government has considerable leeway in such matters. A minister can without risk say something along the lines of 'We have no reason to believe these allegations,' but would be contravening the Constitution if he or she actually criticized the decision to publish the article." Mr. Lambertz then offered his own opinion that the decision to not comment was a nod to political considerations, not to legal constraints.

Recall that virtually all government officials in Europe went out of their way to criticize and condemn the depiction of cartoons that offended some Muslims by portraying Muhammad. (More recently, the Yale Press withdrew these cartoons and other classic art depicting Muhammad out of fear of violent reaction.)

Without getting into the business of comparative offensiveness, no reasonable person could argue that depicting a long-dead religious figure comes anywhere close to falsely accusing contemporary Jews of murdering innocent Palestinians to steal their organs.

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