Swedish Journalist Defends IDF Organ Harvesting Report

A Swedish journalist who caused outrage in Israel with allegations that IDF soldiers harvested organs of dead Palestinians and trafficked in them defended his article yesterday to a largely hostile audience in Dimona.

Speaking at a media conference, where he was frequently interrupted by hecklers, Donald Bostrom admitted he had no proof beyond the allegations of the families of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army.

Bostrom wrote at article in Sweden's Aftonbladet tabloid in August citing Palestinians who accused the IDF of harvesting the organs of killed Palestinians and selling them.

His interviewer, Israeli television presenter Yair Lapid, questioned Bostrom's journalistic ethics and accused him of being an anti-Semite "because you are willing to believe the Israeli government would take part in such atrocities."

Bostrom said, "In Sweden, like myself ... we strongly support Israel's right to exist in peace. If you violate the rules ... we have a tradition to criticize. The fact is that the families said what they said. That's a normal article," Bostrom said.

"If you are a journalist, you always interview, ask questions, and get answers. Organ trafficking is a global problem," he said.

The article, around which there was "much misunderstandings," only stated the Palestinian families' repeated allegations need to be investigated, he said.

He said Israel had investigated previous cases in which the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine was accused of improper conduct and his article was an attempt to push "further investigation of the Palestinian allegations."

The idea for the story came from UN officials who brought the Palestinian complaints to his attention, he said.

Bostrom commended the organizers for inviting him and giving him a chance to defend his work in Israel.