Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why the Israeli Organ-Harvesting Story Is Probably False

The New York Times, By Stephen J. Dubner (25/8/2009)

A strange story has broken out in Sweden and Israel, with an article in Aftonbladet, a Swedish newspaper, by a journalist named Donald Boström.

According to The Times, Boström’s article “accuses the Israeli Army of harvesting organs from Palestinians wounded or killed by soldiers.”

...Al Roth, the Harvard economist whose work on matched-pair organ donations has started to transform the organ-transplantation scenario, told me he found the accusation unbelievable because of the logistics of organ harvesting itself. “Organs don’t last very long and have to be matched rather particularly,” he said, “so it would be hard to take them on spec for an international market. So I think black market organs must mostly be from live donors. Live donors can take blood tests well in advance and travel to where the patient is. Deceased organs have to be put on ice, and the clock starts ticking immediately and fast.”

Roth also points to a response of sorts on Ynet, a website affiliated with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharanot. It’s by Uria Asor, and is headlined “Special Report: Sweden’s Dirty Secret” :

[T]hose in the know and lox connoisseurs have been claiming that the Swedish gravad lax tastes differently than the Norwegian, Finnish, and Danish variety. ‘The Swedish variety contains some sort of slight sourness,’ says Danish Chef Richard Muller Holstrum. ‘I was never able to detect its source.’

However, Ynet’s special investigative report has revealed, for the first time, what may be the secret ingredient in Sweden’s gravad lax. The horrifying findings indicate that the source is fungus removed from the feet of innocent Norwegian fishermen.

Those who dislike Israel for whatever reason should at least acknowledge that, between parody and poetry, its journalism is pretty interesting.

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