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Israeli officials press Sweden on journalist's organ theft story

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The article upset many in Israel, the most outspoken of whom was Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who compared the article to a medieval "blood libel," in which Jews were periodically accused of killing a Christian child for supposed rituals. He said that the Swedish government's refusal to make any comment to condemn the story was reminiscent of Sweden's "silence" during the Holocaust. Israel's finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, said that Swedish officials "may not be so welcome now in Israel" – particularly problematic since Stockholm holds the rotating EU presidency and Sweden's foreign minister, Carl Bildt, is due to visit Israel in early September.

Deep distrust

Yoram Peri, the head of the Chaim Herzog Institute for Media, Politics and Society at Tel Aviv University, says that the report touched a raw nerve among Israelis – who already harbor deep distrust towards Europe and feel that the continent's newspapers cover the conflict with a pro-Palestinian tilt. While he agrees the article has no merit, he suggests that Lieberman and other politicians may have blown the controversy out of proportion for political purposes.

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