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Emet m'Tsiyon

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Buruma denies our time's resemblance to the 1930s

Ian Buruma is one of those fashionable academics who gets his opinion pieces published in the New York Review of Books and HaArets. He may be longer on opinion than on fact but that of course does not trouble the NYRB or HaArets. He pontificates on today's vital topics, war, peace, the Iranian bomb, Islamism, etc. His academic seat is Bard College in upstate New York where he teaches --God help us-- "human rights." That human rights may be his academic subject matter does not mean that he either knows what those rights are or that he respects them.

Buruma dropped an op ed at HaArets a few days ago. Richard Landes at Augean Stables did a well-deserved fisking job on it. I commented too and here is my comment, somewhat more polished and furnished with several references:

The kindest thing to say about Buruma is that he is in denial. In fact, his strong insinuation that concern about a future Holocaust is paranoid or stupid [I, Buruma, am too smart for that!!] is very offensive.
the term “Islamofascism” was not coined for nothing. It invites us to see a big part of the Islamic world as a natural extension of Nazism. Saddam Hussein, who was hardly an Islamist, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is, are often described as natural successors to Adolf Hitler. And European weakness, not to mention the “treason” of its liberal scribes, paving the way to an Islamist conquest of Europe (”Eurabia”) is seen as a ghastly echo of the appeasement of the Nazi threat.
. . . Revolutionary Islamism is undoubtedly dangerous and bloody. Yet analogies with the Third Reich, although highly effective as a way to denounce people with whose views one disagrees, are usually false. No Islamist armies are about to march into Europe - indeed, most victims of Revolutionary Islamism live in the Middle East, not in Europe
It seems to me that even a prof of “human rights” ought to know more than a superficial smattering of history. The Ba’ath Party of Saddam Hussein and of the Assads, still ruling in Syria, was founded in conscious imitation of Nazi and fascist ideology. Even as hopeless a Bolshevikoid Islam-lover as Eric Rouleau admitted that. We also have the personal testimony of Sami al-Jundi, one of the Ba`ath founders. "We were racialists. We were fascinated by Nazism, reading its books and the sources of its thought. . ." [See quote in Norman Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times, Philadelphia, 1991, p 106]. To be ignorant of all this is to be truly defective in knowledge of modern history. Richard Landes asserts that Stalin, not Hitler, was Saddam’s hero. There’s no problem here if we can set aside the silly left-right dichotomy of ideologies, the so-called “political spectrum.” Hitler too admired Stalin. Further, during the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the Soviet paper, Izvestya, declared that Nazi ideology was “a matter of taste” [November 9, 1939]. Moreover, Soviet Communists & Nazis joined in declaring a “struggle for peace” mere weeks after their joint invasion of Poland. So much for the distinction between Nazism & Communism. But buruma apparently has not studied that crucial and revealing period of almost two years of the Nazi-Soviet pact [August 1939 to June 1941]. His noxious essay seems to imply that somehow “Communism” or “leftism” is different from Nazism & fascism. He reminds me of the Commies of that time in the West who loudly proclaimed that Nazism was NOT a danger. Rather the danger was Anglo-French or Anglo-French-American imperialism. Recall that Commies in the French parliament opposed French rearmament in the 9/1939-5/1940 period.

Omitting another major historical fact, relevant to the fears of intelligent, sensitive and loyal Jews, is the Arab collaboration with the Nazis and in the Holocaust [read works by and about Sadat & Haj Amin el-Husseini, here and here]. Buruma’s omission of this issue makes him into an ignoramus. One might defend him by saying that this subject has not gotten and does not get the attention it deserves. But Buruma presumes to be omniscient enough to dismiss the fears that he attributes to “neocons,”
Still, Islamist rhetoric, adopted by Ahmedinejad among others, is deliberately designed to stir up memories of the Shoah. So perhaps the existential fear of some Western intellectuals is easier to explain than their remarkable, sometimes fawning trust in the U.S. government to save the world by force. . .
The explanation of this mysterious trust may lie elsewhere. Many neocons emerged from a leftist past, in which a belief in revolution from above was commonplace: “people’s democracies” yesterday, “liberal democracies” today.
Be that as it may, the "Neocon" label is a straw man that Buruma employs in order to avoid admitting that any knowledgeable, intelligent Jew should have these fears. This does not mean that it is wise to trust the US Govt or any other major power to save the world from IslamoNazis, Islamofascists, or a potential Holocaust. But that still leaves us with the problem of Islamic fanaticism, which repeats many of the Nazis' arguments, especially against Jews. Consider the Hamas Charter, which endorses the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" --both a plagiarism & a forgery-- and the widely reported remarks of Ahmadinejad.

Buruma makes a fool of himself by another argument, which I have encountered from others. The tyranny of Saddam or Ahmadinajad is laughable and of no importance since they are “weak.” But if Ahmadinajad gets the bomb then he’ll be strong. What asininity!!!
Ahmadinejad, his nasty rhetoric notwithstanding, does not have a fraction of Hitler’s power.
This “weakness” argument was not habitually used in defense of Franco in Spain, or Salazar or the Rumanian Iron Guard, or of Mussolini. And surely it could have been used to favor Mussolini since he had trouble conquering Ethiopia [a conquest supported by Saudi Arabia].

It turned out that Hitler’s Germany was not as strong as the US-USSR-UK-French coalition. Nor did he have the A-bomb, as RL points out. Were we supposed to feel sorry for his relative weakness???

By the way, in the late 1920s to 1941, Communists often portrayed Germany as the victim of Anglo-French imperialism. The French CP echoed Hitler’s own revindications of his territorial claims, although there was zig-zagging during the 1930s.
See link here.

Another curiosity in Buruma’s tract is that he accuses “neocons” of “sometimes fawning trust” in US power to save Jews and the world. Not so many years ago, post-Zionists and anti-Zionists were accusing Israelis and Zionists outside Israel of wanting to go it alone, of believing that “the whole world is against us,” of defying the peace loving international community, of harboring suspicions of the USA, of the UK, France, the Vatican, and the USSR. And this drivel too was published in HaArets. What those who belabored Israel for suspicion of the world powers’ goodness and those –like Buruma– who accuse Israel of trusting in American power have in common is that both belittled the Arab threat. As if Israel only faced an Arab threat.

Now, let’s take a “leftist” tangent and recall Lenin’s definition of imperialism. According to him, it was finance capital, essentially. But don’t Arab powers possess huge amounts of capital nowadays? Don’t Arab sheiks and princes own much stock in Western capitalist corporations and much real estate in Western lands? So portraying the Arabs as weak from the angle of capital possession is simply false today. Hasn’t buruma noticed??

This essay is contemptible. That’s what is to be expected from HaArets.
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Coming: More on James Baker & US policy, Milka Levy-Rubin on population transfer upon the Arab Conquest, Jews in Jerusalem & Hebron, propaganda, peace follies, etc.

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  • the reason i say Stalin is on the basis of the discussion in Kanan Makiya, Cruelty of Silence.ww

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:32 AM  

  • RL, I wasn't disagreeing with you at all. My point was that fundamentally they both used fairly similar means & had similar ends. I think Hitler copied more from Stalin, since Stalin got into power before hitler did.

    Indeed, they helped and respected each other.
    That's a big problem.

    By Blogger Eliyahu m'Tsiyon, at 9:31 PM  

  • RL, encore une commentaire.
    When I said, "There's no problem here..." I was just trying to anticipate the objection that Stalin was a "leftist," a Communist, whereas hitler was a "Rightist," a Nazi, and therefore that Saddam, a "leftist" according to some, couldn't come out of a party of fascist/Nazi origins [or some variant of that objection].

    By Blogger Eliyahu m'Tsiyon, at 9:48 PM  

  • The only difference between Nazis and Islam is a matter of means, not objective.

    By Blogger Avi, at 6:55 AM  

  • Private Message (please delete after reading):

    Eliyahu, I am not sure what happened to my response to you on Lipstadt Blog. Is there any other way I can contact you so I can answer your question properly?

    Thanks / Shallom,


    By Blogger acadia, at 4:39 AM  

  • Hi brother,

    Sorry I was busy, and my responses were censored at the other blog, so please beware of Serbia's holocaust decency claims.

    The first experiments in mass executions of camp inmates by poison gas were carried out in Serbia. Serbia was the first country to proudly declare itself "Judenfrei" ("cleansed" of Jews).

    In August 1942, Dr. Harald Turner (the chief of the German civil administration in Serbia) announced that Serbia was the only country in which the "Jewish question" was solved and that Belgrade was the "first city of a New Europe to be Judenfrei." Turner himself attributed this success to Serbian help.

    The fight against the Jewish influence had actually started six months before the German invasion when the government of Serbia issued legislation restricting Jewish participation in the economy and university enrolment.

    "The Serbian chetniks of Draza Mihailovic were represented as fighters against the occupier, while in fact they were the allies of the Nazi fascists in Yugoslavia....The documents in this collection indicate clearly and unequivocally that the Chetniks collaborated with the occupiers, both in the military and political sphere, as well as in the domain of economic activity, intelligence and propaganda... (source: the Serbian scholars, Dr. Jovan Marjanovic & Mihail Stanisic, The collaboration of Draza Mihailovic's Chetniks with the enemy forces of occupation, 1976.)


    I will get back to you with more. I gotta run to the office now, as my break is over.

    By Blogger Srebrenica Genocide, at 11:00 PM  

  • here is a link one more time, since it was broken in the last comment:


    By Blogger Srebrenica Genocide, at 11:01 PM  

  • Lake,
    what can you tell me about the Jasenovac concentration camp set up by the Croatian Ustashi government under German sponsorship?? Who was killed there and how many?

    What about the Bosnian Muslim Handschar [Khanjar] SS division and the Kossovo Muslim Skanderbeg SS division? What were their activities during the German occupation of Yugoslavia? [you might look up the story in George Stein, The Waffen SS.

    You can also check out my posts on this blog about Kossovo and Serbia. Then after you have read them, we can talk about the recent Yugoslav wars.

    By Blogger Eliyahu m'Tsiyon, at 1:00 AM  

  • Dear brother Eliyahu,

    I actually responded with three comments, but unfortunately they were not published on the other blog.

    The Serbian government under General Milan Nedic worked closely with local Nazi officials in making Belgrade the first "Judenfrei" city of Europe. As late as 19 September 1943, Nedic made an official visit to Adolf Hitler (see picture bellow), Serbs in Berlin advanced the idea that the Serbs were the "Ubermenchen" (master race) of the Slavs.

    Attempts to form a pro-Axis Bosniak division failed when the Bosniak conscripts revolted against the Germans at a training base south of Le Puy, France in September 1943. It was the only large-scale mutiny within the German army during the War.

    The Bosniak-Muslim clergy in 1941 issued resolutions condemning atrocities being carried out by Ustashe and Chetniks, and condemned persecution of Jews and Serbs. Bosniaks suffered the highest per capita losses of any nationality in Yugoslavia.

    With respect to Handzar division, it was dismantled in a matter of months and it was comprised of people forced to fight on the side of Nazi's. There was no significant population of Bosniaks in Handzar division which collapsed soon after it was formed. However, Serbian historiography continues to shape unfounded propaganda into believable stories, same as they did during last war when they claims that Bosniaks bombed themselves in Sarajevo (which was proven to be lie at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, see Prosecutor vs Stanislav Galic).

    What I wanted to point out is that genocide was committed in Jasenovac by Croat Ustashe forces, not by Bosniaks. Please understand and see the difference.

    Not all Bosniaks are Muslims, and not all Croats are Catholics. I am Bosniak, but I am not Muslim. So brother, please understand the difference.

    My grandfather from mother's side was killed in Jasenovac, and also my grandfather from father's side. They were killed simply because they were Bosniaks living in Kordun area (Croatia). My grandfather from mothers side died out of cancer in Jasenovac (he was a member of Partisans led by Tito who, at that time, was battling Chetniks and Ustashe).

    By the New Year of 1943, over 100,000 Bosniaks had been killed by Ustashe and Chetniks (9% of Bosniaks at the time) and 250,000 were refugees. The number of killed was higher than in the last war. "The Muslims" remarked one German General, "bear the special status of being persecuted by all others", from '"Himmler's Bosnian Division" by Georg Lepre, p15-16.

    Ustashe and Chetniks committed horrendous crimes against Bosniaks in the World War II. However, this does not mean that all Croats and Serbs are bad people. I am trying to look people on an individual level.

    In World War II Bosniak Muslim clerics issued three declarations (fatawa), all publicly denouncing Croat-Nazi collaborationist measures against Jews and Serbs: that of Sarajevo in October 1941, of Mostar in 1941, and of Banja Luka on November 12, 1941.

    The Bosnian Waffen SS units were originally recruited to combat joint Muslim/Bosniak and Serb Partisans, including residents of villages from where many of the recruits themselves originated. They were comprised mostly from Muslims who thought of themselves as Croat (most Muslim immigrants who came to Canada after World War II declared themselves as Croats of Muslim faith, and it is unfair to associate "Muslims" with Bosniak - it simply does not make sense).

    More significant topic is Serbian involvement in Holocaust and Serbia's attempts to portray itself as decent.

    During four centuries of Ottoman rule in the Balkans, the Jewish communities of Serbia enjoyed religious tolerance, internal autonomy, and equality before the law, that ended with the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of the Serbian state. Soon after a Serbian insurrection against Turkish rule in 1804, Jews were expelled from the interior of Serbia and prohibited from residing outside of Belgrade. In 1856 and 1861, Jews were further prohibited from travel for the purpose of trade. In official correspondence from the late 19th century, British diplomats detailed the cruel treatment of the Jews of Serbia, which they attributed to religious fanaticism, commercial rivalries, and the belief that Jews were the secret agents of the Turks. Article 23 of the Serbian constitution granted equality to every citizen but Article 132 forbade Jews the right of domicile.

    Although Serbian historians contend that the persecution of the Jews of Serbia was entirely the responsibility of Germans and began only with the German occupation, this is self- serving fiction. Fully six months before the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia, Serbia had issued legislation restricting Jewish participation in the economy and university enrolment. One year later on 22 October 1941, the rabidly antisemitic "Grand Anti-Masonic Exhibit" opened in occupied Belgrade, funded by the city of Belgrade. The central theme was an alleged Jewish-Communist-Masonic plot for world domination. Newspapers such as Obnova (Renewal) and Nasa Borba (Our Struggle) praised this exhibit, proclaiming that Jews were the ancient enemies of the Serbian people and that Serbs should not wait for the Germans to begin the extermination of the Jews. A few months later, Serbian authorities issued postage stamps (see picture bellow) commemorating the opening of this popular exhibit. These stamps, which juxtaposed Jewish and Serbian symbols, portrayed Judaism as the source of world evil and advocated the humiliation and violent subjugation of Jews.

    Although the Serbian version of history portrays wartime Serbia as a helpless, occupied territory, Serbian newspapers of the period offer a portrait of intensive collaboration. In November 1941, Mihajlo Olcan, a minister in Nedic's government boasted that "Serbia has been allowed what no other occupied country has been allowed and that is to establish law and order with its own armed forces". Indeed, with Nazi blessings, Nedic established the Serbian State Guard, numbering about 20,000, compared to the 3,400 German police in Serbia. Recruiting advertisements for the Serb police force specified that "applicants must have no Jewish or Gypsy blood". Nedic's second in command was Dimitrije Ljotic, founder of the Serbian Fascist Party and the principal Fascist ideologist of Serbia. Ljotic organized the Serbian Volunteers Corps, whose primary function was rounding up Jews, Bosniaks, Gypsies, and partisans for execution. Serbian citizens and police received cash bounties for the capture and delivery of Jews.

    Jews are, according to Serbian Chetnik Dimitrije Ljotic, a cursed people. In his views, there are 4 methods the Jews have of ruling over other nations and the whole world, which include: Capitalism, Democracy, Freemasonry, and Marxism. He openly called for action against Jews because they were, in his opinion, the most cynical and dangerous opponents of Christian values.

    The Serbian Orthodox Church openly collaborated with the Nazis, and many priests publicly defended the persecution of the Jews. On 13 August 1941, approximately 500 distinguished Serbs signed "An Appeal to the Serbian Nation", which called for loyalty to the occupying Nazis. The first three signers were bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. On 30 January 1942, Metropolitan Josif, the acting head of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, officially prohibited conversions of Jews to Serbian Orthodoxy, thereby blocking a means of saving Jewish lives. At a public rally, after the government Minister Olcan "thanked God that the enormously powerful fist of Germany had not come down upon the head of the Serbian nation" but instead "upon the heads of the Jews in our midst", the speaker of these words was then blessed by a high-ranking Serbian Orthodox priest.

    A most striking example of Serbian antisemitism combined with historical revisionism is the case of Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic (1880-1956), revered as one of the most influential church leaders and ideologists after Saint Sava, founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church. To Serbs, Bishop Velimirovic was a martyr who survived torture in the Dachau prison camp. In truth he was brought to Dachau (as were other prominent European clergy), because the Nazis believed he could be useful for propaganda. There he spent approximately two months as an "Ehrenhaftling" (honour prisoner) in a special section, dining on the same food as the German officers, living in private quarters, and making excursions into town under German escort. From Dachau, this venerated Serbian priest endorsed the Holocaust:

    Quote: "Europe is presently the main battlefield of the Jew and his father, the devil, against the heavenly Father and his only begotten Son... (Jews) first need to become legally equal with Christians in order to repress Christianity next, turn Christians into atheist, and step on their necks. All the modern European slogans have been made up by Jews, the crucifiers of Christ: democracy, strikes, socialism atheism, tolerance of all religions, pacifism, universal revolution, capitalism and communism... All this has been done with the intention to eliminate Christ... You should think about this, my Serbian brethren, and correspondingly correct your thoughts, desires and acts." (Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic: Addresses to the Serbian People--Through the Prison Window. Himmelsthur, Germany: Serbian Orthodox Eparchy for Western Europe, 1985, pp. 161-162).

    Despite Serbian claims to the contrary, Germans were not alone in killing the Jews of Serbia. The long concealed Historical Archives in Belgrade reveal that Banjica, a concentration camp located in Belgrade, was primarily staffed by Serbs. Funding for the conversion of the former barracks of the Serbian 18th infantry division to a concentration, came from the municipal budget of Belgrade. The camp was divided into German and Serbian sections. From Banjica there survive death lists written entirely in Serbian in the Cyrillic alphabet. At least 23,697 victims passed through the Serbian section of this camp. Many were Jews, including at least 798 children, of whom at least 120 were shot by Serbian guards. The use of mobile gassing vans by Nazis in Serbia for the extermination of Jewish women and children has been well documented. It is less appreciated, however, that a Serbian business firm had contracted with the Gestapo to purchase these same victims cloths, which sometimes contained hidden money or jewelry in the linings. In August 1942, following the virtual liquidation of Serbia's Jews, Nedic's government attempted to claim all Jewish property for the Serbian state. In the same month, Dr. Harald Turner; the chief of the Nazi civil administration of Serbia, boasted that Serbia was the only country in which the "Jewish question" was solved. Turner himself attributed this "success" to Serbian help. Thus, 94 percent of Serbia's 16,000 Jews were exterminated, with the considerable cooperation of the Serbian government, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian State Guard, the Serbian police and the Serbian public.

    Today, many Serbs proudly cite the Chetniks as a resistance force and even claim that the Chetniks were somehow allied with the United States during the Second World War, but this is simply historical revisionism. According to the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Chetnik resistance against the Nazis came to a complete stop as early as the end of 1941. Thereafter, the Chetnik resistance actively collaborated with the both Nazis and Fascists, and for this reason Jewish fighters found it necessary to abandon the Chetniks, in favour of Tito's Partisans. In reality, the Chetniks, dedicated primarily to the restoration of the Serbian throne and territorial expansion of the Serbian state, were the moral counterpart of Croatia's Ustatsha. Both were quintessentially genocidal; the Chetniks committed systematic genocide against Bosniaks, who, for nearly all of 500 years had lived peacefully with the Sephardic Jewish community. Under explicit orders from their leader Draze Mihajlovic, the Chetniks attempted to depopulate Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Croatia of all non-Serbs and in the process, massacred most of the 103,000 Bosniaks who perished during the war.

    The main force of Serbian Chetniks rallied around Draza Mihailovic, a 48 year-old Army officer who had been court-martialed by Nedic and who had close ties to Britain. Early in the war, Mihailovic offered some resistance to the German forces while collaborating with the Italians. By July 22, 1941, the Yugoslav Government-in-Exile in Britain announced that continued resistance was impossible. Although Mihailovic and his exiled government would maintain a fierce propaganda campaign to convince the Allies that his Chetniks were inflicting great damage to the Axis, they did little for the war effort and often openly collaborated with the Germans and Italians while fighting the Partizans. At its peak, Mihailovic's Chetniks claimed to have 300,000 troops. In fact they never numbered over 31,000.

    Meanwhile, Josip Broz Tito, organized multi-ethnic resistance group, which took up the fight against the Nazis, as well as against the Ustasha's and Chetniks. The overwhelming bulk of resistance activity against German nazis occurred in Bosnia and Croatia. According to Yugoslav statistics, at the height of the war in late 1943, there were 122,000 partisans active in Croatia, 108,000 in Bosnia, and only 22,000 in Serbia. The largest proportion of Bosnian partisans were Bosniaks, who were being slaughtered by all sides.

    Serbian Chetnik forces initially fought against the Ustashe regime, as its goal of a “Greater Serbia” was in conflict with the Ustashe's “Greater Croatia”. But the Chetniks' main enemy was the partisans, so Chetniks eventually became full-scale collaborators of the Nazis.

    By February 1943 the Western Allies condemned the Chetniks as collaborators, threw their support to the Partisans and began to airdrop supplies to the Partisans. Mihailovic was executed in 1946 for treason. Ironically, his son and daughter Branko and Gordana went over to the Partisans in 1943 and both publicly supported their father's execution after the war.

    While it is true that during the War, both the Partisans and pro-German Serbian-Nazi Chetniks aided Allied pilots in escaping, they did so because they were paid in gold for each one.

    For years, the Serbian dominated Belgrade government has supported and trained PLO terrorists. Immediately after the murder of Leon Klinghoffer aboard the Achille Lauro in 1985, the terrorist mastermind Abu Abbas was welcomed in Belgrade. Since the late 1980's, Abu-Nidal has maintained a large terrorist infrastructure in Yugoslavia, in coordination with Libyan, Iraqi, and Yugoslav intelligence services. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, as Iraqi missiles landed in Israel, Belgrade supported its ally Iraq.

    Although the Jewish community of Serbia is not currently experiencing persecution, overt expressions of Serbian antisemitism do surface in such mainstream institutions as the Serbian Orthodox Church and the official news media. The 15 January 1992 issue of the official publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Pravoslavlje (Orthodoxy), carried an article entitled, "Jews Crucify Christ Again." In this polemic, "treacherous" and "surreptitious" Israeli politicians were said to be constrained from expressing their "pathological" hatred of Christians openly because "they know that Christian countries gave them the state." Allegedly, nuns are so frequently beaten in Israel, that one nun was actually "happy, because they only spit in her face." Only weeks later, when Russia extended diplomatic recognition to the former Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia, the official Yugoslav (Serbian perspective) news agency Tanjug blamed "a Jewish conspiracy" against Serbia, hauntingly reminiscent of the theme of the 1941 anti-Masonic exhibit.

    The essential strategy of Serbian propaganda is to portray the spiritual kinship between Jews and Serbs as victims of the Holocaust and endangered by Croats. This concept is disseminated through the Serbian-Jewish Friendship Society, founded in Belgrade in 1988 and supported by the Serbian government. In January and February 1992, Dr. Klara Mandic, the secretary-general and principal voice of this organization, syndicated a chilling article in the North American Jewish press. This article alleged that Ankica Konjuh, an elderly Jewish woman, was tortured and murdered by "Croat extremists" in September 1991. However, even as she released this story to the press, Dr. Mandic knew that Ankica Konjuh was neither a Jew nor could have been killed by Croats. Bona-fide witnesses have testified that Ankica Konjuh, a 67 year-old Croat, was one of 240 civilians massacred by Serbian forces after the last Croat defenders were driven from the region. Moreover on 23 December 1991, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia met in Belgrade and demanded in writing that Dr. Mandic cease and desist misrepresenting Ankica Konjuh as the first Jewish victim of the war. Nevertheless, in late February 1992, when Dr. Mandic lectured at the Hillel House of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., she provided the rabbi with a copy of that misleading article, delivered without further comment. It is noteworthy that this speaking engagement was part of a tour arranged by Wise Communications, a Washington-based public relations firm representing the Serbian oil company Jugopetrol, a thinly veiled proxy for the Communist Belgrade government. Beginning with the proposition that antisemitism has never existed in Serbia, Dr. Mandic portrayed Croatia as preparing to repeat the Holocaust. She claimed to be a "Jewish leader," although Jews are distinctly absent from her constituency. Less than half a dozen Jews are actual members of her society of several thousand. She introduced herself as an "eyewitness" speaking on behalf of Croatian Jews, although since the war began, she has had no contact with any of the nine Jewish communities of Croatia. When Dr. Mandic was asked to comment on Serbian (Yugoslav Army) shelling of the synagogue of Dubrovnik, the second oldest surviving synagogue in Europe, she denied that the synagogue had ever been damaged at all. Meanwhile, the attack has been well documented by the Jewish community of Dubrovnik and the World Monument Fund.

    Jewish sensitivity to the Holocaust is similarly exploited by the Jewish-Serbian Friendship Society of America (Granada Hills, California), an offshoot of Dr. Mandic's organization. Its newsletter equates the Jewish and Serbian positions during World War II, both as victims of Croats, but fails to mention Serbian complicity in the Holocaust, Serbian collaboration with the Nazis, and Serbian genocide against Croats, Gypsies, and Bosniaks. It warns of an imminent Holocaust being initiated in Croatia. A contrasting portrayal of Croatia, however, emerges from a spectrum of Croatian Jews, American Jews who have visited Croatia, and international Jewish agencies monitoring events on site. All concur that there is no state-sponsored antisemitism in Croatia; the rights of the Jewish minority are respected; and antisemitic incidents are virtually unknown. Thus, only a few dozen of the 2,000 Jews of Croatia have chosen to emigrate to Israel since the war began.

    Serbia of today and Germany in World War II offer striking parallels. In 1991, Vojislav Seselj, a member of the Serbian Parliament and leader of the Serbian irregulars who call themselves Chetniks, declared, "We want no one else on our territory and we will fight for our true borders." Croats and Bosniaks in Serbian conquered regions are forced to wear red-and-white armbands, analogous to the yellow armbands worn by Jews in Serbia during the Holocaust. The stated purpose of the expulsion of Bosniaks and Croats from captured regions is "ethnic cleansing." The indigenous non-Serbian populations of the invaded territories are being driven from their homes, exterminated, or imprisoned in concentration camps, to create regions of Serbian ethnic purity. Jewish community centres, synagogues, and cemeteries have been damaged and destroyed by characteristically indiscriminate Serbian artillery attacks. To all of this, the Jewish-Serbian Friendship Society has remained conspicuously silent.

    Belgrade has promoted the myth of Serbian kinship with the Jews as fellow victims of Nazi oppression, while concealing the true extent of Serbian collaboration with the Nazis. It is ironic that Serbia is now seeking Jewish support for a war in which both the idealogy and methodology so tragically echo nazism. The European Community, the Helsinki Commission, the United Nations, and the United States have all condemned Serbia as the aggressor. Western diplomats have characterized the current Serbian regime as "a lying, terrorist criminal organization." Serbia, however, claims to be the victim and campaigns for Jewish sympathy and support, exploiting the powerful symbolism of the Holocaust. Serbia's professed solicitude for the Jewish people must be reexamined.

    Sorry for such a long discussion and thank you for not censoring my opinion.

    - Daniel

    By Blogger acadia, at 4:30 AM  

  • Eliyahu

    I've generally contended that Islamo-Fascism, or Islamo-Nazism (as Michael Medved prefers to call it) is a redundant term. One author @ FaithFreedom - David Hollins, did a good brief side by side comparison of Mein Kamph vs Quran/Sunnah

    By Blogger Nobody, at 8:27 AM  

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