Body Parts

At the end of the 20th Century, the animated sitcom The Simpsons aired an episode in which Homer Simpson plans to donate a kidney to his father. When Homer’s friends get wind of this, they try to inform him of the true risks involved:

Moe: Well; I’ve got to hand it to you, Homer: you’re really brave to go through with this operation.
Homer: It’s not an operation, Moe. The doctor said it’s just a procedure.
Moe: No, no, no, no, making polenta, now that’s a procedure. We’re talking about deadly life threatening surgery here.
Homer: Really? You think It’s dangerous?
Carl: Oh, yeah; and even if you survive the operation …
Homer: Procedure! Deadly procedure.
Carl: Whatever, the point is, with only one kidney, you won’t be able to drink yourself stupid no more.
Homer: [defensively] Now you’re just trying to scare me.
Lenny: Plus, they’ll put you on one of those organ donor sucker lists. Everyone who wants an eyeball or a spine or a vestigial tail will be after ya!
Homer: But I don’t want that!
Moe: Listen, I’m just gonna get right to the point here … can I have your buttocks? I mean, if you die. They look pretty comfortable.
Homer: Yeah, I guess.
Carl: And, uh, are those your original lips?
Homer: Well, actually I … Hey! Quit harvesting me with your eyes! [Homer storms out of the bar. Moe looks at Homer’s butt]
Moe: Oh, yeah … that would look so good on me!1

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“In August [2009] Sweden’s largest daily newspaper published an article containing grisly evidence suggesting that Israel had been taking Palestinian internal organs,” writes Alison Weir for Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. “Israel and its partisans immediately cried ‘anti-Semitism,'” 2 “and charged that suggesting Israelis could be involved in the illicit removal of body parts constituted a modern “blood libel” (medieval stories of Jews killing people for their blood).” The article continues with notated passages:

For many years Israelis in need of an internal organ have gone on what experts call “transplant tourism” – traveling to other nations to obtain internal organs. Sometimes body parts are obtained from those freshly dead; more often from the desperately needy. While affluent people from numerous countries and ethnicities engage in this practice, Israel is unique in several significant ways.

First, Israelis engage in this at an extraordinarily high rate. According to a 2001 BBC report, Israelis buy more kidneys per capita than any other population.

Second, Israelis have the lowest donor rate in the world – one-fifth that of Europe, according to BBC. This is in part because there has been a widespread impression that Jewish religious law prohibits transplants as a “desecration of the body.” [Larry Rohter, “Tracking the Sale of a Kidney on a Path of Poverty and Hope,” The New York Times, 23 May 2004, at] The Israeli news service Ynet reports, “the percentage of organs donated among Jews is the lowest of all the ethnic groups.”[Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg, ‘A mitzvah called organ donation,” Ynet News, 10 June 2007, at,7340,L-3388529,00.html]

Third, the Israeli government has enabled the practice. For many years the Israeli health system subsidized its citizens’ “transplant holidays,” reimbursing Israelis $80,000 for medical operations abroad. Much of the remaining costs could often be obtained from government-subsidized [Rohter, op. cit.] Israeli insurance plans.[Ibidem] In addition, Israel’s Ministry of Defense was directly involved.3

“A documentary aired by the Israeli Channel Two…revealed that in the 1990s, forensic specialists harvested corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without permission from relatives,” reports Khalid Amayreh for the Sabbah Report.

“We started to harvest corneas…whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family,” pathologist Yehuda Hiss, the former head of the Abu Akbar Center, also known as the L. Greenberg Institute for Forensic Medicine, told Nancy Sheppard-Hughes, now a professor of Anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley.…

Hiss said his doctors often sought to mask the removal of corneas from bodies.

“We’d glue the eyelid shut. We wouldn’t take corneas from families we knew would open the eyelids.”

Other body parts believed to have been harvested from deceased Palestinians and others included heart arteries, bones and corneal tissues.4

Epoch Times reports on China’s organ harvesting practices:

A resolution passed Thursday afternoon [19 December 2013] in Strasbourg, France, expresses “deep concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from nonconsenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their religious beliefs, and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.”…

On Dec. 9, a delegation from Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting delivered a petition to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights that had been signed by 1.48 million people from 53 countries.

The petition asks the high commissioner to call for “an immediate end of forced organ harvesting from Fulan Gong Practitioners in China,” to initiate investigations that will lead to the prosecution of those responsible for this crime against humanity and to call upon the Chinese government to end the persecution of Fulan Gong.

On Dec. 6, Canadian M.P. Irving Cotler introduced a law that seeks to prevent Canadians from getting a transplant of organs that were not willingly donated.…

Edward McMillan-Scott, the vice president of the EU Parliament responsible for human rights and deomocracy, described China as “probably the most terror-based country on earth.” He said, “The repressive, brutal, and arbitrary tactics used by the Chnese rigime [are] the result of totalitarianism.…

“The ultimate solution to ending injustice in today’s China is a change in the system, namely a China free of the Communist Party,” Zhang [of FDI] wrote, “where the citizens of China can freely practice their personal beliefs and follow their cultural traditions.” 5


1 The Simpsons: Kidney Trouble, original airdate: 6 December 1999, The Simpsons Archive, at (retrieved: 5 March 2013).

2 Alison Weir, “Israeli Organ Harvesting: From Moldova To Palestine, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November 2009, (retrieved: 5 March 2013).

3 Israel Insider, “Netanyahu to press Sweden to condemn blood libel,” 23 August 2009, at, In Alison Weir, “Israeli Organ Trafficking and Theft: From Moldova to Palestine,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November 2009, at (retrieved: 5 March 2013).

4 Khalid Amayreh, “Israel Admits Stealing Palestinian Organs,” 21 December 2009, at (retrieved: 9 September 2014).

5 Stephen Gregory, “European Parliament Opposes Forced Organ Harvesting in China,” Epoch Times, 20-26 December 2013, pp. A1, A4.

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