09/24/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Sweden: Editor Denies Anti-Semitism Charges, Gov't Refuses To Condemn Anti-Israel Article

Jan Helin, the editor-in-chief of the Swedish newspaper which printed an article accusing Israeli soldiers of killing Palestinians and harvested their organs, has denied he is anti-Semitic, Haaretz reports.

Helin said he was neither a Nazi nor an anti-Semite, and he allowed the publication of the article because he felt it posed a number of relevant questions.

The article was heavily criticized in Israel, where it generated huge public interest and sparked off a media frenzy.

The article's author has been accused of disseminating "a blood libel" against the Jews.
Daniel Seaman, who heads Israel's government press office, said the article played on "vile anti-Semitic themes."

The article's author, Donald Bostrom, said he based the story on accounts from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and that although he couldn't verify the truth of the accounts he felt they were worth investigating.

Haaretz reports that dozens of demonstrators protested against the Swedish government's refusal to condemn the article.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredik Reinfeldt said it was not the government's place to comment on newspaper content and stressed the importance of a free press in Swedish democracy, Al Arabiya reports.

Reinfeldt also downplayed suggestions that the controversy could have an effect on Sweden's position in the Middle East peace process as it holds the EU presidency.

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