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. BiL,

    Did I write what “I” think? Or did I write what those who are living the hell think (and shared with me)?

    If you wrote that from a comfy chair anywhere in America and not from a cold, concrete basement in Gaza, afraid for your life, then, excuse me if I don’t consider your opinion quite the same as the ones from Gaza who do hold that opinion.

    No offense, but these opinions are truly NOT the same. In that, you are correct. Yours appears to be not based from experience or even a story told by a Gazan. Correct me if I am wrong. Explain how many Gazans think they are not in some sort of death camp (or damn near it).

    Like I said, this is probably best understood from the people experiencing it (where I got my info).

    I wonder if the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto felt like THAT was a death camp in many ways?

  2. Buelah,

    Gaza is a war zone, not a death camp and that is not a matter of perception. When the IDF starts pushing Palestinians into ovens on a schedule after extracting all the gold from their teeth, then you can call it a death camp. You fail to truly appreciate the scope of Reinhardt Heudrich’s little plan if you think a war zone is anything like the atrocities that man planned and executed. You are simply wrong if you think there is an equivalence. Harvest organs? Evil. Big “E”. Concentration Camps? EVIL.

    Huge difference.

  3. BTW

    Some would argue that Gaza is “almost” a death camp. I would suggest that many Gazans would make this claim.

    Maybe a death camp is truly in the eyes of the beholder?

  4. BiL,

    Never here. A contributor at my blog is a Diasporal Jew and wrote the following because I kept getting hit up by straw men building zionists (or their American protectorates):


    This simply goes to prove your point about the politics vs religion.

  5. And I must say you’ve never struck me as anti-Semitic. I’ve always found your criticisms about Israel to be about the state itself. But then again, I’m not Jewish, other reader may have taken some of your past comments differently than I did.

  6. Buelah,

    I have to agree on the organ harvesting thing. That’s just beyond the pale. Is it the equivalent of mechanized industrial genocide? No, I think that’s a bit far. But I will stipulate it’s a step in that direction. Inhumanity tends to lead to more inhumanity unless the actions and impulses to act that way are quashed.

  7. Of course BiL is correct in the framework of political argument. However, how far removed from death camps are the harvesting of organs from those you hold under what some DO believe is a death camp, already?

    It isn’t about religion, except for the nut cases who use religion to further the atrocities we fund and witness.

    This is a very thin line, imo.

    I have been labeled anti-Semite when I am clearly anti-Zionist and could care less about any religion.

  8. Jay,

    Learn to phrase the question in the terms of the duties and responsibility of nation-states in general if you want to avoid a label. There is this thing called “political science”. It’s the language diplomats and experts use when analyzing international relations. There have been many discussions on this site about how Israel is running the risk (if they have not totally rounded the corner) of being classified as an aggressor state. Your phrasing, however, indicates that the part of the analysis you wish to focus on is religion instead of international relations.

    Learn to 1) ask question better and 2) with actual utility in a secular framework.

    You may be shocked to learn this but not all Jews are happy about Israel’s actions as nation. A lot of Jews think Israel is run by morons and criminals too. They might even talk to you about it if you don’t insist about making the issue Judaism instead of politicians acting like criminals.

    So how about addressing the issue in terms of political science instead of false analogy. As soon as the Israelis start running death camps, you can make that comparison. Until then, well, you should really learn how to frame issues properly if you don’t want thinly veiled bigotry to be exposed for what it is.

  9. These actions of the Israeli government are reprehensible. Thinking that the Israeli government represents everyone of the Jewish faith is ignorant. The fact that I have to say either of those two things is depressing.

  10. So how do the Israelis of today differ from the Germans of the 1930’s?

    Will this question be labled anti-semitic so it is not asked? Being able to classify any tough questions or revelations as anti-semitic is a handy tool to have.

  11. Buddah.

    “You deserve to be treated like humans . . . when you act like one.”

    The Israelis and the Palestinians are both acting exactly like humans. The Israelis are behaving exactly as human colonists behave when they colonize land that unfortunately is occupied by untermenchen that have no right to be there. The Palestinians are behaving exactly as normal for humans whose land has been stolen by colonists with accompanying necessary murders but who have not been reduced to the same state of abject demoralization as australia’s un-Austalian aborigines or the USA’s un-American native Americans.

    Israel is still in the dispossession phase of colonization and its brutality is proceeding under the eyes of TV cameras. The corresponding phases of US and Australian history are safely in the past and protected by a veil historical amnesia. John Winston Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia, good friend of George W Bush, leader of the coalition of the willing to invade Iraq and murder 1.3 million people coined the phrase “black armband history” to describe that of those writers such as Henry Reynolds who wrote about things that actually happened between colonists and aborigines which people like John W Howard think are better forgotten, that is things that white people did to aborigines that would be considered crimes were someone to do the like to us or people like us.

    The word inhumane is a silly word and an indication of a defect in human thinking. It should mean behaviour not typical of homo redactum sapiens bardus when it in facts describes behaviour such as genocide, torture and pack rape that is typical of humans.

    “Do you want to know why you are having such a hard time eliminating anti-Semitism?

    It’s crap like this, you morons.”

    I suspect that there are some Israelis who want to provoke antisemitism so that Jews in the rest of the world are forced to pack up and move to Israel. There is more than a bit of suspicion that the Jews who were forced to migrate from Arab nations were so forced by a Zionist bombing campaign and zionist brutality towards Palestinians was in part calculated so as to create hatred of the Jews in their midst by Muslim Arabs in Arab nations.

  12. Ezekiel 25:17 (King James Version)

    17 And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.


    I’m a big fan of the furious rebuke. Unlike Sam Jackson’s character, I don’t use a .45 to do it. I prefer words. And I disagree – the evil deserve to get hammered. They are a drag on both societal advancement and resources. They cause pain to the innocent. That hammering should come at the end of a factual discovery process and a due process trial, but a hammering they do deserve once their evil is exposed.

  13. A Harvest is a harvest unless you are caught. Organs! weed! Hey I wonder if you can find weed in Oregon? What will they think of next?

  14. Although I support the notion that the state of Israel has not been applying International, and their own, law as they should I do think BIL is using rather harsh words of condemnation.

    Personally I do not think that even when you are evil incarnate you deserve all kinds of horrible stuff. In other words, everybody should have the same rights and duties regardless of who they are. Yes, that includes those removed from judicial review, and subjected to torture, simply by calling them “enemy combatants.”

  15. Israel.

    Do you want to know why you are having such a hard time eliminating anti-Semitism?

    It’s crap like this, you morons.

    Having a country comes with responsibilities. The Jews, your people supposedly, need a homeland to prevent people like some of our more hateful posters setting up human abattoirs again. You are not helping them avoid the crazies with actions like this and in fact are aiding them in their campaign to paint all Jews as baby-killing flesh eaters that deserve concentration camps.

    And that’s ridiculous.

    Anyone with any sense knows that there are good Jews and bad Jews just like any other group of people. But some people won’t distinguish between the Neocon warmongering hate driven Likud and the innocent. They’ll just want you all dead. You too, Israel, can be guilty of war crimes and purposefully creating LEGITIMATE hatred directed toward you. So far you are racking up an impressive score. And this? Yeah, this is a legitimate reason to hate Israel. Why? It’s not because you’re Jewish.

    It’s because you’re acting like monsters.

    You want to be treated like humans? You deserve to be treated like humans . . . when you act like one. I’ll defend the rights of Jews to have free practice. I stipulate they need a home. I also stipulate that the government of Israel is a miserable failure in protecting the interests of the Jewish people and in being a responsible actor on the stage of nation-states. Stealing organs kinda rules you out as being the good guys. That makes using phosphorus shells on civilians look like a playground spat. You’ve just strayed into Mad Scientist Land. Pure evil is what this is and you deserve EVERY bit of heat and scorn and hatred it creates.

    You did it to yourself this time. Nice job, Bibi & Crew. See you in Hell.

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