Monday, December 21, 2009

Harvesting for Scandal

If you are worried about this:

Israel admits harvesting Palestinian organs

Israel has admitted that pathologists harvested organs from dead Palestinians, and others without the consent of their families – a practice that it said ended in the 1990s, it emerged at the weekend.

You notice that "others"?

And notice this:

However, there was no evidence that Israel had killed Palestinians to take their organs, as the Swedish paper reported. Aftonbladet quoted Palestinians as saying young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israeli forces and their bodies returned to their families with missing organs. The interview with Hiss was released by Nancy Sheppard-Hughes, professor of anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley who had conducted a study of Abu Kabir.

She was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that while Palestinians were "by a long shot" not the only ones affected, she felt the interview must be made public, because "the symbolism, you know, of taking skin of the population considered to be the enemy, [is] something, just in terms of its symbolic weight, that has to be reconsidered."


Israel's health ministry said all harvesting was now done with permission. "The guidelines at that time were not clear," it said in a statement to Channel 2. "For the last 10 years, Abu Kabir has been working according to ethics and Jewish law."

Now you just know this is going to be whipped up into a media frenzy.

But as Simon P. pointed out to me:

the story needs to be taken in context i.e. separated from the Israeli-Palestinian angle. There was no discrimination against Palestinians. The people at Abu Kabir did it to whichever body happened to be on the table at the time irrespective of race, religion or background.

If anybody wants to take up the British press on this one, then use the example of Alder Hey, another organ scandal that took place in a UK hospital in the nineties. Unethical medical issues aren't only Israeli problems.

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