Sweden's foreign minister cancels Israel visit
Last month the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published an controversial and unsubstantiated article, accusing Israeli soldiers of harvesting Palestinian organs. Israeli officials have condemned the article as anti-Semetic and reminiscent of medieval blood libel against Jews.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that the Swedish Government condemn the article. Sweden, quoting freedom of speech, has not.
Now the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has canceled his trip to Israel. Although the cancellation appears to be amidst this diplomatic squabble, Iran Busic a spokeswoman for Bildt said it was a problem with timing.
Bildt was expected to arrive in Israel on Friday.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has cancelled a planned visit to Israel in the midst of an apparently worsening diplomatic squabble.
Bildt was expected to arrive in Israel this Friday, but the Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that it has learned he won't be coming.
Israel and Sweden are at odds over the publication last month of an incendiary article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. The unsubstantiated article alleged that Israeli soldiers had harvested the organs of Palestinians.
Irena Busic, a spokeswoman for Bildt, said he cancelled because of a problem with timing and denied the tabloid article had anything to do with his travel plans.
Israeli officials have condemned the article as anti-Semitic and reminiscent of medieval "blood libel" against Jews.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded the Swedish government condemn the article. Sweden has refused calls for an official condemnation, citing freedom of expression and press freedom.
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Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel