From a journalistic viewpoint, the story is, to use a euphemism, a piece of crap. But does it warrant the torrent of invectives hurled at it by all and sundry on the Zionist camp? Logic dictates that nonsensical stories should be dismissed. But feigning scandal and claiming Jewish victimhood is very convenient to some (in fact, in some cases it's also a profitable business), so that these professional sufferers have been busy blowing the incident out of all proportion. Foremost among them, the government of Israel, which has asked its Swedish counterpart to condemn Aftonbladet -- which it apparently won't do.
The best way to see the hypocrisy and double standards involved in the scandalization of this irrelevant instance of faulty journalism is to make a couple of comparisons:
Comparison #1: Foreign stories about Israel vs. Israeli stories about foreign countries
It's not like the Israeli press is free from unwarranted demonization of other peoples and countries. For instance, Israeli newspapers are rife with incitement against the Nordic countries, which have been widely described as bastions of antisemitism.
On 30 March 2009, for instance, The Jerusalem Post published an online article under the title "Norway: Increased anti-Semitism has local Jews anxious", which, among other things, reported on an anti-Israel demonstration that took place in Oslo the day before, making the egregious claim that Norway's Finance Minister, Kristin Halvorsen, had marched with the protesters shouting antisemitic slogans. In their words (preserved here):
During the [January 2009 Gaza] war, Olso [Sic!] was fraught with violent anti-Israel demonstrations. Numerous government officials decried Israel’s actions in Gaza – including Minister of Finance Kristin Halvorsen, who led a march shouting, “Death to the Jews!”In other words, the JPost accused Halvorsen not only of being an antisemite, but also of being unredeemably stupid, to the point of freely expressing her hate at a demonstration that she knew was being filmed. In the Post's defense it must be said that in Israel it is normal for politicians to exhibit precisely that kind of stupidity.
The reaction of the Norwegian government was the only admissible one from a self-respecting authority.
Not a single step was taken by Norway's PM to infringe on the JPost's freedom of speech.
Halvorsen's Socialist Left party, however, did react. But what did they do? Ask the Israeli government to condemn The Jerusalem Post? Call for a boycott of Israeli journalists? No; they simply issued a press release:
Kristin Halvorsen participated in a demonstration for peace in Gaza on January 8th this year. There were no anti-Jewish slogans during the event what so ever, as The Jerusalem Post alleges.
There were appeals for inter-religious coexistence and peace, calling on Israel to stop the war on Gaza. The demonstration lasted for about an hour, and was a dignified and peaceful event.
A splinter-group continued a march towards the Israeli embassy afterwards. This was not a part of the official demonstration, and Kristin Halvorsen did not join this rally. She publicly denounced the violent outbreak that occurred in the aftermath of the peace demonstration.
In the face of which... The JPost retracted the story.
Well, not quite. They took it down from the web. A very bad journalistic practice, if you ask me: if you fucked it up, you must own up to your mistake.
When the Norwegian press did a search for the JPost's sources, it turned out that it was simply an attention-seeking Norwegian Jew who told a story of a nonexistent antisemitism to satisfy his ego. The JPost was left with no other option than to acknowledge the blunder, which it did in a convoluted way, putting the full blame on the deceitful Norwegian who had taken them in.
None of the Israeli politicians or Zionist bloggers now decrying Aftonbladet's bad standards said anything about the Jerusalem Post in the wake of this gaffe. Much less did the Israeli PM apologize to Norway or condemn the canard-telling paper, as he's now requesting from the Swedes.
Comparison #2: Blood libels against Israel vs. Israeli blood libels against others
Since Israelis seem so sensitive to what they call blood libels, they should also be outraged when these are used by other Israelis against certain groups.
Not so. On 19 February 2008, Shlomo Benizri, a Member of Knesset, stated that homosexual behavior caused earthquakes:
Mr Benizri made his comments while addressing a committee of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, about the country's readiness for earthquakes.
He called on lawmakers to stop "passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the state of Israel, which anyway brings about earthquakes".
Trust me; while a few Zionist bloggers did make token protest statements, not a single one stated that Israel was a gay-unfriendly country because a gay-hater was allowed to serve in the Knesset. (Benizri was eventually jailed -- on swindling charges.)
Another example. On 11 April 2008, Haaretz published a story about a strange Jewish sect, led by one Elior Cher, that had abused small children, among other things by pushing them against burning-hot heaters, in an apparent attempt at exorcism. Haaretz's journalist had no better idea than to consult rabbi David Batzri, a well-known anti-Arab racist, on the issue. Batzri:
To me it sounds like complete paganism, like sacrificing children to Moloch. This is a religious rite that does not exist in Judaism. There isn't any religious rite because there aren't any such things in the Jewish kabbala, not even in applied kabbala, which is forbidden. This is exactly how children are sacrificed to Moloch. Only in Christianity and in pagan religions is there a concept like that - to pass a child over a fiery oven so he will burn.
See, this is plain blood libel against the Christians. Not, however, to Israeli politicians or Zionist bloggers, who said nothing despite this story being as prominent as, well, Aftonbladet's organ-harvesting article.
Comparison #3: Zionist blogger reactions vs. Nordic blogger reactions
A Zionist blogger after the alleged Aftonbladet blood libel:
Have a look at this face:That's Jan Helin [Aftonbladet's editor in chief], and he's an antisemite. He's not even a particularly interesting antisemite, with some novel angle that gives you pause or forces you grudgingly to recognize his intellectual innovation. This fellow, he just regurgitates stale old canards and lots of very worn clischees. (...) [Sweden is] a society that is saturated with hatred of Jews.
Don't know what clischees are (maybe clichés in Swedish)?
A Norwegian blogger after the Jerusalem Post canard:
The Norwegian media and public see the Jerusalem Post’s articles as an attempt at waging some sort of propaganda war on Norway, but I suspect it’s all to do with something far more simple, less dramatic: An editor’s urge to boost reader/traffic figures. We see it happen up here, too, on a daily basis. Which is not to say that the Israeli’s disappointment is hard to understand.
It could easily be explained by Norway’s pro Israel traditions. Sudden criticism from a long-time friend may be hard to take. It certainly explains most Norwegians’ disappointment in, and reactions to, Israel’s warfare methods.
What I see here is a mature Norwegian blogger who finds clearly rational explanations pointing to sensationalist journalism instead of putting forward obtuse conspiracy theories.
And an immature Israeli blogger who believes that an utterly irrelevant piece of yellow-press journalism is an example of the indelible Nordic antisemitism.
Or pretends to believe so, anyway.