German University’s course claims Israel harvests Palestinian organs
Benjamin Weinthal, JPost, Jul 24 2016
BERLIN – An academic seminar at a German university claims Israel’s military harvests organs from Palestinians and the Jewish state is responsible for a genocide. “Our sons were robbed of their organs,” was the title of a part of the seminar’s course material, Rebecca Seidler, an academic who blew the whistle on the anti-Israel material, told the weekly German-Jewish newspaper Jüdische Allgemeine Zeitung (JAZ) in a Thursday article. The paper reported that the University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HAWK) offers a course on “The Social Situation of Youths in Palestine” which contains the allegedly anti-Semitic material. After reviewing the content of the course, Seidler, who was slated to conduct the seminar, complained to the university’s management. But the Dean of the faculty of Social Work and Health, Christa Paulini, dismissed Seidler’s criticism in a telephone conversation as being overly sensitive. Seidler told the JAZ that:
(The material showed) a picture of a genocide on the Palestinians, an ethnic cleansing as well as a complete disenfranchisement of Palestinians by Israel. (It also covered) “the victims of torture in Israeli prisons.
The JAZ wrote the seminar conveyed “anti-Semitic stereotypes.” JPost press queries to the HAWK media department on Sunday were not immediately returned. The HAWK instructor Ibtissam Köhler prepared the seminar material, which also contained an anti-Israel essay from a right-wing extremist magazine titled “Compact.” The seminar was slated for the semester 2015/2016. It is unclear how long the HAWK has conducted anti-Israel seminars. The HAWK is located in Hildesheim, a small city in the state of Lower Saxony, Germany, with a population of nearly 100,000. HAWK’s president Christiane Dienel told the German wire service DPA on Friday that an ethics commission examined the seminar and it in “no way propagates anti-Semitic or anti-Israel content.” The ADL termed the allegation of harvesting organs to be a “new Blood Libel.” The ADL wrote on its website:
The allegation that Jews murder non-Jews to use their blood for ritual or medicinal purposes dates back to the Middle Ages and has spawned many variants over time.
In 2010, the ADL said:
The false and malicious report in a Swedish newspaper that IOF abducted and killed Palestinians, including children, to harvest their organs has mushroomed into a global conspiracy theory. Within months, the story has generated several conspiracy theories about various Jewish plots to harvest organs from victims around the globe, including from kidnapped Algerian and Ukrainian children and from Haitians pulled from the rubble of the earthquake that devastated their nation.
Just a recap, for the light:
In 2005, the then chief pathologist Yehuda Hiss, director of Abu Kabir from 1988 to 2004, admitted as part of a plea bargain to the unauthorized removal of organs, bone and tissue from 125 bodies in the 1990s. Israel claimed that such activity stopped a decade ago. The Israeli Ministry of Health later acknowledged that “skin, corneas, heart valves and bones” had been removed during autopsies of Israelis, including IDF soldiers, Palestinians and foreign workers in the 1990s. The ministry says that for the past decade, procedures carried out at Abu Kabir have conformed with ethics and Jewish law, and all organ removal is done with permission. Nancy Scheper-Hughes, a professor of anthropology at the University of California Berkeley who founded Organs Watch, described the involvement of the IDF as a “widely-known secret in Israel.” However, Scheper-Hughes made it clear she does not believe Israel murdered Palestinians for organs. The Attorney General of Israel dropped criminal charges against Hiss. He was fired in 2012 and replaced by Dr Hen Kugel.
According to Rebecca Dube in the Forward, allegations that Hiss and his lab were taking organs from corpses without permission and using them for research or selling them to medical schools have a long history and were substantiated by the Israeli government. The allegations first appeared in 1998, after Alistair Sinclair, a Scottish tourist apprehended on suspicion of dealing drugs, died in a holding cell at Ben Gurion International Airport, apparently having hanged himself. After an autopsy overseen by Hiss, the body was returned to his family; a second autopsy performed by pathologists at the University of Glasgow found that the heart and a small bone at the base of his tongue were missing. Jonathan Rosenblum reported that the missing bone from his neck was considered necessary to confirming that he had hanged himself as stated, and that the Sinclair family believed his heart had been used for transplant. The scandal was publicized by media in Israel and Scotland after the family sued. Rosenblum, writing in the JPost in Oct 2000 regarding a case in which Hiss’ testimony played a crucial role, also discussed how Hiss has long been a source of controversy. He related that a 12-page investigative report in Nov 1999 by the local Tel Aviv newspaper Ha’ir stated that medical students at Abu Kabir under Hiss’ direction were allowed to practice on bodies sent there for autopsy, and body parts were transferred for transplant use without permission from the families concerned.
In Jan 2001, an investigative report in Yediot Aharonot claimed the institute headed by Hiss had been involved in “organ sales” of body parts to universities and medical schools for research and training, citing evidence including the “price listings” for body parts. Israel’s Ministry of Health convened a committee to investigate the claims which found that Hiss had been involved for years in the sale of illegally removed body parts to medical schools. Rebecca Dube in the Forward writes that Hiss was never charged with any crime, but was forced to step down from running the state morgue in 2004. According to Dube: “The final straw apparently was when the body of a youth killed in a road accident was gnawed upon by a rat in Hiss’s lab.” Every body that ended up in Hiss’ morgue, whether Israeli or Palestinian, was fair game for organ harvesting. Hiss ceased being the director of the institute in 2005 when allegations of a trade in organs resurfaced. After Hiss admitted to having removed parts from 125 bodies without authorization, and following a plea bargain with the State of Israel, Israel’s attorney-general, decided not to press criminal charges. Hiss was given only a reprimand and continued to hold his position as chief pathologist at Abu Kabir and eventually regained his position as director.
A piece featuring Hiss that appeared in the NYT in Feb 2004 noted Hiss played a “unique role” in the response network that Israel had to developed to deal with the more than 100 suicide bombings it had experienced over the three years previous. All the dead from such attacks are brought to the Forensic Institute, and Hiss had been present to attend to, “the dismembered victims and shattered victims,” in all but one attack. The same article mentions the controversy surrounding Hiss as follows: “While the forensic center is praised for its work after bombings, Dr. Hiss has been involved in controversies related to other cases, including allegations that the institute removed organs from corpses without permission from the families. The issue is enormously sensitive because of Judaism’s emphasis on burying the whole body. Government inquiries have not resulted in any charges against Dr Hiss. But in December the Israeli attorney general recommended disciplinary action. The issue is still under consideration, and no sanctions have been imposed so far.” In Jan 2006, following the carrying out of an autopsy that was ordered by the Israeli courts for a Haredi woman found murdered in her apartment, a riot by dozens of Haredim took place inside the institute where Hiss worked. According to Dr Benny Davidson, the manager of the institute: “Even in the institute’s darkest days, there wasn’t an event this big. They wrecked the entire hall, broke expensive equipment, and destroyed Yehuda Hiss’ room. The public reaction to the articles on the pathological institute was an abandonment of Hiss.”