The July arrests of several prominent American Jews for organ selling was a gift to anti-Semitic Arab and Islamic news outlets. The ring's scheme – already shocking in reality for its vile nature – has grown to new, ever more preposterous heights, in the largely fictional accounts being smattered across the pages of many purportedly mainstream Arab dailies. A recent Jerusalem Post article delves into the trend, noting how the "reporting" has grown to include many unverified accounts including one - initially picked up by the Algerian daily El-Khabar and broadcast widely in the Islamic press - accusing Jews of complicity in kidnapping Moroccan and Algerian children to sell their organs to wealthy American patients. Furthermore, such baseless stories are even being picked up by some Arab-American publications.
The Post sums up the Algerian story in the following way:
"bands of Moroccans and Algerians have allegedly been roaming the streets of Algeria 's cities kidnapping young children, who are then transported across the border into Morocco . From the Moroccan city of Oujda , the children are then purportedly sold to Israelis and American Jews, who then harvest their organs for sale in Israel and the United States . The organs are said to fetch anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000."
The popularity of such a story could stem from pre-existing and rampant anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment found throughout the Arab world. Yet, what makes this story different is its rapid movement from fringe to forefront. From El-Khabar, the story was picked up by the Iranian government-funded international television channel, PressTV, and was further reprinted without any sourcing in the Arab American weekly, Watan.
The El-Khabar piece cites a Dr. Mustafa Khayatti, head of the Algerian National Committee for the Development of Health Research, and further claims that Interpol and the FBI are actively investigating such claims. It also links these claims with a provocative account from the Swedish tabloid, Aftonbladet, which lost any credibility when the supposed Palestinian victims denied the Swedish accusations.
The obvious worries created by such a piece speak poorly about the credibility of Arab mainstream outlets, the future of Jewish-Muslim relations, and the ability of the Arab street to extract themselves from a society based on conspiracy theories. The Jerusalem Post article summed up the threat of such pieces: "With its rapid online dissemination, the report has begun to draw fire from those worried about the ease with which such a story, lacking any evidence, can spread in the Muslim world."