Guardian: Israel Admits To Harvesting Organs From Dead Palestinians

For months, the government of Israel has demanded the retraction of a story by a Swedish paper that said that Israeli doctors had harvested the organs from dead Palestinians without the consent of their families. The Israeli government canceled visits to Sweden and called the article anti-Semitic. Now, the Guardian is running a new story that says that the allegations are true.

The Guardian says that Israel now admits that it did harvest the organs – a practice that it said ended in the 1990s. The admission was made by the former head of the country’s forensic institute, Dr, Yehuda Hiss. The interview was actually done by an American academic in 2000 and said that doctors at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without permission from relatives. The interview was released by Nancy Sheppard-Hughes, professor of anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley.

Here is part of her bio:

Her most recent books are: Commodifying Bodies (co-edited with Loic Waquant), 2002, London: Sage (Theory, Culture and Society series). (Commodifying Bodies will appear later this year in an Italian edition with Ombre Courte, Verona, Italia); and Violence in War and Peace: an Anthology (co-edited with Philippe Bourgois), 2003, London and Malden, Mass: Basil Blackwell.

Scheper-Hughes has conducted research, written on, and been politically engaged in topics ranging from AIDS and human rights in Cuba, death squads and the extermination of street kids in Brazil, the Catholic Church, clerical celibacy, and child sex abuse, to the repatriation of the brain of a famous Yahi Indian, Ishi (kept as a specimen in the Smithsonian Institution) to the Pit River people of Northern California. Her most recent research is a multi-sited ethnographic study of the global traffic in humans for their organs which she interprets as a form of invisible and sacrificial violence. Her next book, The Ends of the Body: the Global Traffic in Organs, is to be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

She is co-founder and Director of Organs Watch, a medical human rights project and she is currently an advisor to the World Health Organization (Geneva) on issues related to global transplantation. Scheper-Hughes has lectured internationally and has been a research professor in residence at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences in Paris in 1993 (and will take up that post again in the fall of 2004).

Notably, Hiss was removed from his post in 2004 when some details about organ harvesting were first reported.

What is now missing is an explanation of the Israeli government’s months of protestations and attacks regarding the original article — when it appears to have known about this program.

For the full story, click here.

36 thoughts on “Guardian: Israel Admits To Harvesting Organs From Dead Palestinians”

  1. While harvesting organs without the permission of the families may be wrong, (who knows if their families were known?), it is a far cry from the NAZI death doctors who conducted experiments on living human beings with the end purpose of killing them. 60 years is not that long ago.

    There are countless ages of cruelty. In the end, people die and their remains may go to help living humans …but that is all lost because …the end does not justify the means.

    Also, many great medical advances have been made by Jewish doctors and scientists. Most of the time doctors don’t know the “politics” of the people they are working on.

    But then, I find people always quick to condemn others.

  2. If the Israeli governments actions towards the Palestinians is not a horrible as the 1930’s NAZIs to the Jews, it is similar in attitude; in the de-humanizing of the “Other”, the denial of basic Human Rights to the “Enemy”. That attitude or belief can so easily lead to genocide.

  3. I would be fascinated to hear interviews with Israelis who have received tissue/organ transplants. I suspect that they are not told about the origins of the tissues/organs. (Not because of any sort of conspiracy, but rather because it is standard procedure for transplants, in contrast to Hollywood/TV.)

    Some of them will have realized that there is a chance that they received either transplants from people who were ethnically Palestinian/Arab and/or that they received transplants from people who did not consent to “harvesting.” I would really like to hear what they have to say and what they think of those possibilities. I’m sure some will be heartbroken that they benefited from such unethical actions, others may be arrogant, and some may be put in a quandary by their own prejudices. I suspect it would be fascinating to try to understand how people would deal with this.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that this would not be a good “button to push” with people. There are extraordinary psychological impacts to being a transplant recipient, particularly if you were close to death, and the organ you received, by necessity, came from someone who died. When you add these complicating factors, it could be extremely difficult for the recipients. That’s yet another reason to be very careful about the ethics of organ “donation” and transplantation.

    (While I don’t like the “Borat” or “Bruno” type-work that Sacha Baron Cohen does, I’ve always wondered what the result would be if he had done a film of this type in Israel, rather than America.)

  4. “is this just another case of “follow the money”?

    Sadly it might well be and anyone could wonder, if the story is true, what in hell were they thinking? Jews are in fact just like other human beings and we all know the insanity of which humans are capable.

  5. ” …. doctors at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers …..”

    The Israeli government spent a great deal of energy in covering for the happy harvesters … why would any government want to provide cover for such grotesque behavior … is this just another case of “follow the money”?

  6. A bit of logic:

    1. Most Israeli’s are Jewish.
    2. Most Jews are not Israeli’s
    3. Some Jews support all of Israel’s actions others do not.
    4. Therefore if you’re criticizing Israeli actions please do so by not universalizing it into another comment about Jews.

    The logic used in that sense is as faulty as criticizing all Muslims for Al Queda’s activities. It would also be the same logic used for criticizing all Christians because of God Hates Fags and murdering abortion Doctors, or all Catholics as pedophiles.

    Do Jews generally support the existence of Israel? Yes as do I.
    Levels of support for specific actions vary as do humans vary. It is more than annoying to have to defend my ethnicity based on dislike of Israeli policies. Please don’t respond with some crap like “Well the Jews used the Shoah to defend Israel’s existence” because you would again be generalizing the attitudes of some for an entire group. most here would I think see the falseness of that proposition.

  7. And maybe you misread what I wrote, Buelah.

    You done foaming at the mouth now, Mr. Fails At Basic Definitions?

    I certainly . . . don’t care. I have other things to do. You be as wrong as you like, ace. Your friends too. A war zone is not a death camp no matter who screams it or how loudly.

    war zone
    Function: noun
    Date: 1914
    1 : a zone in which belligerents are waging war; broadly : an area marked by extreme violence
    2 : a designated area especially on the high seas within which rights of neutrals are not respected by a belligerent nation in time of war

    concentration camp
    Function: noun
    Date: 1901
    : a camp where persons (as prisoners of war, political prisoners, or refugees) are detained or confined

    Now add to that last definition that the Germans were killing the prisoners on a timetable created by Reinhardt Heyrdrich to achieve maximum throughput, e.g. kill as many people as quickly and cheaply as possible.

    English. Get acquainted with it.

  8. I was going to say that I wish the civilized nations of this world open their doors to the Palestinians who are willing to leave.

    Now, I just feel cold.

  9. I find it amazing that you argue such things, when I am telling you that people from there tell me they feel this way. I said SOME feel this way. I didn’t say I did. I even went further to explain WHO told me this.

    It IS NOT what I think, BiL. And no matter how much you want to make it between your opinion and mine and that you are such a brilliant person to explain that these people telling me these things are wrong about how they feel.

    You are the amazing one, Mr Mental Gymnastics.

    So, who is lying about their “feelings”, BiL? Your Gazan sources or mine?

    (rolling eyes at an amazing display of contrariety backed by obfuscation and straw men setups)

    I expect more from you. Maybe I shouldn’t.

    Now, re-read what I have rwritten and tell me that I am giving you my opinion or the ones reported to me.

    And then, after you see what a weird-o you became by arguing against what I reported as the feelings of those from there, just come back and set up another straw man.

    You are good at that, but truth sometimes evades you due to your total desire to be “right”.

  10. Beulah,

    I didn’t know you were psychic. How do you know who I know and where I get my information? Quite simply, you don’t. I know Gazans. I know Shoah survivors. Well looky there! You’re full of crap on an assumption right out of the gate!

    You’re still wrong about a war zone being the equivalent of industrial genocide as a simple matter of fact. There IS a difference between shooting at people and innocents getting caught in the crossfire and ROUNDING UP PEOPLE INTO CATTLE CARS SO YOU CAN GAS THEM HUNDREDS AT A TIME.

    Hill meet Mountain.

    You think I’m wrong. I know you are.

    Have your opinion. It’s your right. Just like it was your right to make an incorrect assumption that I don’t know members of both parties. But if you want to not be considered a clown? You better back off that Holocaust comparison because you don’t know what the Hell you are talking about. Again, feel free to make false analogies. I won’ stop you from looking like an idiot. I promise.

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