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130 Jewish officials were not recently arrested for Palestinian organ trafficking

Video of 2009 raid by US authorities wrongly attributed to ongoing Israel-Palestine war

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Claim: A video shows 130 Jews, including top US government officials, being arrested for trafficking human organs harvested from Palestinians.

Fact: The video, while authentic, is not recent nor related to the ongoing war in Palestine. It is from a July 2009 sting operation by the US authorities. Furthermore, the number of detained officials was 44, not 130. Some of the arrested were rabbis; however, Soch Fact Check cannot confirm if all 44 officials were Jewish.

On 24 November 2023, Soch Fact Check received a video showing multiple men being taken into custody and an accompanying caption that reads as follows:

“130 Jews, top US government officials, arrested for human organ trafficking, shock the American people and the US Congress and world. How did they get these Human organ ?…. The blood of Palestinian children, women, men and adults will not be wasted… Perhaps the beginning of the downfall of the Israel Zionist state is near… DO NOT STORE THIS MESSAGE IN YOUR MOBILE, SHARE TO EVERYONE, MAY GOD BLESS YOU”

What’s going on in Gaza?

On 7 October 2023, the Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades — the military wing of Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza — launched (archive) a “surprise attack” on Israel via sea, land, and air. In response, the Israeli government formally declared (archive) war on Hamas on 8 October 2023.

According to a 19 December 2023 update by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 19,600 Palestinians have been killed and over 52,500 injured since the 7 October attack. Similarly, at least 1,200 Israelis have been killed and upwards of 5,400 injured.

Ever since the 7 October attack, a flood of misleading, old, and out-of-context pictures, videos, and claims have surfaced in the media.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reverse-searched keyframes from the video, as well as portions of the accompanying text, and found that the claim is neither recent nor related to the ongoing war in Palestine.

Multiple media outlets — including France 24, Reuters, The New York Times, The Guardian, Daily Mail, and CBS News — published news reports in July 2009 about a raid conducted by federal prosecutors in the US state of New Jersey.

HuffPost, NBC News, and CNBC carried reports on the same but their articles were sourced from The Associated Press, which also published a video of the arrests.

The aforementioned sting operation resulted in the arrest of “dozens of New Jersey politicians, officials, and prominent rabbis … that uncovered political corruption, human organ sales, and money laundering from New York to Israel”, according to Reuters (archive), which cited authorities.

According to the publication, “The 10-year investigation, dubbed ‘Operation Bid Rig,’ exposed influence-peddling and bribe-taking among a network of public officials and a separate multimillion dollar money-laundering ring that funneled funds through charities operated by local rabbis, said the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, New Jersey.”

Interestingly, the news reports say there were 44 arrests, not 130 as mentioned in the claim we are investigating. However, that figure may possibly come from a separate note, which says (archive) that since 2001, the state “has seen more than 130 public officials plead guilty or be convicted of corruption since 2001”. Soch Fact Check cannot confirm if all those arrested were Jewish or not.

Visuals included in these news reports also match keyframes that we obtained from the viral video we received on WhatsApp.

Virality

Soch Fact Check found the video with the misleading claim posted here, here, here, here, and here on Facebook. It was also shared as a Reel here.

Conclusion: The video, while authentic, is not recent nor related to the ongoing war in Palestine. It is from a July 2009 sting operation by the US authorities. Furthermore, the number of detained officials was 44, not 130.


Background image in cover photo: Wilmer Martinez


To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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