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Israel demands apology for article

Aug. 22, 2009 at 9:35 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Israel is demanding Sweden apologize for a newspaper article saying Israeli soldiers harvested organs of dead Palestinians, officials said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to push for an official condemnation of the article, which appeared last week in the Swedish daily Aftonbladet, Haaretz reported Saturday.

Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, said Saturday the government has no plans to apologize.

"It's Aftonbaldet's job to take responsibility for what Aftonbladet publishes," The Local quoted him as saying.

"No one can ask the Swedish government to violate its own constitution. Freedom of speech is an inalienable part of Swedish society."

But on his personal blog, Bildt said articles like the one in the left-leaning Aftonbladet could lead to hate crimes motivated by anti-Semitism, Haaretz reported.

Benny Dagan, Israel's ambassador to Sweden, said the blog entry is not enough.

" Israel expects a clear government stance and not views on a blog," Dagan said.

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, in a statement to the TT news agency Saturday, said Sweden's failure to apologize "reminds us of Sweden's conduct during World War II when it also did not intervene".

But Bildt told TT "anti-Semitism isn't tolerated in Sweden."

"What I am concerned about is that the Israeli public has gotten the idea that there are anti-Semitic views which are tolerated in Sweden," Bildt said.

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