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SERBIA AND REMEMBRANCE DAY OF THE SREBRENICA GENOCIDE

July 30, 2009 Comments off

According to the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights in Serbia (YUCOM), “Following a range of actions and pressure by NGOs on Serbian authorities for the adoption of a Declaration on Srebrenica in the People’s Assembly and to proclaim July 11 a Day of Remembrance of the Srebrenica genocide, there has been no official response by the authorities.”

The only response came from Serbian politicians who used the same old empty phrase that “all those who committed crime, without any difference, should be held responsible,” thus far advocating “equalization and creation of a symmetry between the Srebrenica genocide and the Serb victims during the Bosnian war.”

As YUCOM report concluded,

“The factitious [fabricated] symmetry with the Serb victims in Bratunac, which is supposed to annul or relativize the horror and magnitude of the Srebrenica crime — when in only 5 days around 8,000 Bosniaks were killed in a planned action — will continue to acquire new forms and dimensions, to end in a brutal moral inversion: in fact, it was the Serbs who were ethnically cleansed from Srebrenica under pressure, threats and blackmails by the Bosniaks. Such falsified picture will not be of any help for Serbia in the process of democratization, nor in the process of joining the European Union.”

Full report available via Peščanik:
www.pescanik.net/content/view/3470/1138/

Official web site of the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights in Serbia:
www.yucom.org.rs

PROTECTED DOCUMENTS LEAKED: SERBIA’S DEAL WITH THE HAGUE TRIBUNAL

July 7, 2009 Comments off
The Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB) recently published two confidential court decisions allowing Serbia to censor the most incriminating evidence showing Serbia’s direct involvement in the Srebrenica genocide.

The sensitive information included confidential orders by the court in the Slobodan Milosevic trial, not to publicise documents that implicate the Serbian state in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, in which at least 8,372 Bosniaks were summarily executed and 30,000 forcibly expelled in a mass scale ethnic cleansing.

CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS:
1. ICTY SER 2005_0702100347_001 (351 kb / .pdf)
2. ICTY SER 2006_0702100337_001 (621 kb / .pdf)
According to the Bosnian Institute, “the ICTY had begun its own investigation into this leak. The letters asked all those who had received the allegedly protected documents to destroy them, and forbade their further copying and distribution.”

As CNAB noted in its letter to the ICTY, “The purpose of the secret agreement was clearly to hide the most relevant evidence which confirms the involvement of Serbia and Montenegro in organizing, planning and executing the aggression, war crimes, and genocide against the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Protective measures were authorized to Serbia and Montenegro in order to protect their national and state interests.”

According to Marlise Simons, “Serbia, the heir to Yugoslavia, obtained court permission to keep parts of the archives out of the public eye, citing national security. Its lawyers lacked out many sensitive – those who have seen them say incriminating – pages… Now, lawyers and others who were involved in Serbia’s bid for secrecy say that, at the time, Belgrade made its true objective clear: to keep the full military archives from another court, the International Court of Justice, nearby. And they say Belgrade’s goal was achieved in February, when that court, dealing with Bosnia’s lawsuit against Serbia, declared Serbia not guilty of genocide, and absolved it from paying potentially enormous war damages.” (Serbia’s Darkest Pages Hidden from Genocide Court)

Currently, a French journalist, Florence Hartmann is facing trial at the ICTY that employed her from 1999 until 2006 – as spokeswoman for the former chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte – on two counts of contempt of court for revealing details of the same two decisions in an article, Vital Genocide Documents Concealed, published on the website of the Bosnian Institute on January 21, 2008. We stand in support of Florence Hartmann.

NAZI SERBIA PARTICIPATED IN HOLOCAUST

June 18, 2009 Comments off
SERBIAN NAZI PAST AND THE HOLOCAUST OF JEWS

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia

Photo: Serbian fascist Milan Nedic, the prime minister of a Nazi-backed puppet government in Serbia during World War II, shakes hands with Adolf Hitler.

Annex I

ANTI-SEMITISM

Ouster of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000 did not lead to a complete break with the legacy of his regime. Aside from a continuing formal-legal framework and mechanism of power, the persisting legacy is mirrored in non-relinquishment of the (defeated) Greater Serbia Project, nationalism, denial of recent crimes and atrocities, and reluctance to face up to recent wartime responsibility.

Absence of repression, as the last defence line of the former regime (it was practically the only important change on the domestic plane) encouraged far-right organisations (notably still unidentified “Orao”), groups and individuals to step up their public activities. Ideological profile of current authorities, self-styled “democratic nationalism” is just a cover for makeover of ethnic nationalism and slide of society into clericalism, traditionalism, anti-globalisation, xenophobia.

In the political and social arena, which failed to articulate options and forces bent on fundamental reformation of society and re-definition of general social goals in direction of modernisation and acceptance of existing European and international civilisational standards, criteria, old ideas are again gaining an upper hand. In such a general context, escalating anti-Semitism is more than an accompanying phenomenon, and merits special attention.

PHOTO: Adolf Hitler and Serbian Prince Paul of Yugoslavia (aka: Knez Pavle Karadjordjevic).

Pre-WW1 period

In his book “Yugoslavia and the Jewish Problem” (1938) E.B. Gajic maintained that in Yugoslavia there was no formal or genuine discrimination of Jews. He furthermore argued that all forms of anti-Semitism are “alien to the Yugoslav, and notably Serb mind-set and people.” Historical sources maintain otherwise.

When in 1806-1807 Belgrade was liberated from Turks many Jews were killed and vilified, and even outlawed. Majority of surviving Jews was killed in 1813 on the eve of the new Turkish conquest of Belgrade because of economic competition and plundering. Until the 1878 Berlin Congress Jews had reasons to regret the fact that they were no longer under the Turkish occupation, for the Empire was religiously tolerant.
Primitive milieu of the Dukedom of Serbia was hostile towards foreigners, including domestic Jews. In a series of discriminating actions the authorities as early as in 1845 banned Jews to settle in the interior. That is why about 2,000 Jews moved to Belgrade 1, although the nature of their professions and crafts linked them to villages/ hamlets and small towns.
During the reign of Duke Mihailo in 1860 the authorities issued a decree on banishment of 60 families from the interior of the dukedom, but under pressure of big powers repealed it. The British sources in the second half of the 19th century spoke about stringent measures taken against the Jews in Serbia.
1 Laslo Sekelj, Vreme 31 August 1992
A month after publication of a series of stridently anti-Jewish articles in paper “Svetovod,” in 1865, in Sabac two Jews were killed, and in a local church a forcible conversion of a 11-year old Jewish girl was effected. Those events caused outrage and resistance of the Jewish community, whose prominent members wrote a series of protest letters. But publishing of those letters was banned by the government. In 1867, in a response to the appeal of Sabac Jews, the British MPs discussed the status of Jews in Serbia. They told the Belgrade government to comply with obligations stemming from the 1856 Paris Agreement, under which the big powers guaranteed autonomy of Serbia, if it “shows respect for full freedom of exercise of religion.” But the British MPs assessed that “the Orthodox Serbs understood as freedom of religion only the exercise of religion by the majority people.” Hence they demanded a permanent diplomatic pressure on Belgrade, in order to compel Serbia to comply with its international obligations. Despite that pressure and parliamentary interpellations in 187O, anti-Semitic laws from 1856 and 1861 remained in force. Because of those laws a large number of Jews left Serbia. From Sabac, Smederevo and Pozarevac Jews were expelled. Only three years later, in 1876, 11 Jewish families were driven out of Smederevo.
The Berlin Treaty set as a condition for independence of Serbia: repeal of anti-Semitic decrees from the 1869 Constitution. Only the 1888 Constitution provisions in full met with obligations of the Treaty. As a consequence the legal status of Jews was improved, but they still represented “an alien body” in society. They were sidelined in the social sphere until early 20th century, when 6 Jews became members of government.
According to the 1890 census 3,600 Jews ( 2,600 in Belgrade) lived in Serbia. In 1884 the Serb-Jewish Association of Singers was founded in 1884.

Period between the two wars and the WW2

In the territory of the newly-emerged Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes there were several hundred Jewish communities, while in 1919 the Alliance of Religious Communities was set up. Those Jewish communities are still operational.

According to the 1939 census there were 71,000 Jews in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and they were registered ad members of the Jewish religious denomination. Before the outbreak of the WW1 many Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria and other Nazi-ruled countries found refuge in Yugoslavia. According to the data of the Federation of Jewish Communities in 1939-1941 period 55,000 emigrants came to Yugoslavia. And part of them shared the fate of domestic Jewish population.

Lazar Prokic writes that “among Serbs an autochthonous anti-Semitic movement emerged, which Jews, before 6 April 1941, sometimes by diplomatic and sometimes by forcible means repressed, as thanks to the their financial might they were able to influence governments as much as they wanted. That anti-Semitism was not related to the German occupation. Jews were guilty of that original Serb anti-Semitism. Serbs do not want to feel solidarity for Jews, for the latter declined to show solidarity for the former in 1804, 1862 and 1875.”

Anti-Semitism as the official policy of Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Yugoslav Foreign Secretary, Anton Korosec, stated in September 1938, that “Jewish issue did not exist in Yugoslavia…. Jewish refugees from the Nazi Germany are not welcome here.” Three months later, the only Jewish member of government, Rabbi Isaac Alkalai was dismissed from the government at the express request of Prime Minister Milan Stojadinovic. The peak of anti-Semitism, elevated to the level of the official policy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, were anti-Semitic acts of Cvetkovic-Macek government, enforced as of 5 October 1940. Decree on Registration of Persons of Jewish Descent introduced a numerus clausus of 0.5%, which meant that the number of Jews admitted to secondary school and universities could not be superior to their % share in total population. Under the second anti-Semitic law Jews were banned from performing certain professions (wholesale trade in foodstuffs), and under the third one they were excluded from some military branches, could not pass officers’ exams and could not be promoted.

Anti-Semitism in the publishing activity

Prime movers of anti-Semitism between the two World Wars were publishers. Protocols of the Zion Elders were for the first time translated and published in 1929, in Split, under title Real Basis or Protocols of Zion Elders, signed M. Tomic. The next edition, titled, Protocols of Assembly of Zion Elders was published in 1934 in Belgrade by certain Patriciousus. The Public Prosecutor in March 1935 banned distribution of both editions. Despite the ban the second edition was published again in 1936. In 1933-40 more than 10 anti-Semitic brochures were published. On the eve of the war more than 10 anti-Semitic brochures came out and 6 as a response to anti-Semitic attacks. Ljotic’s Zbor published most editions with anti-Semitic contents. Intense anti-Semitic campaign was conducted by newspapers like Obnova, Novo Vreme, Srpski narod and Nasa Borba 3, promoters of the Fascist ideology, several years before the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia. Those papers urged retributive actions against Jews 4, vilified Jews as ancient enemies of Serbs 5, and stressed that “the final settlement of the Jewish issue” could be effected without Germany. Zbor published a brochure titled Serb People in Claws of Jews, penned
2 Lazar Prokic, “Our problems: Jews in Serbia,” Obnova, 15 November 1941
3 Founder of Nasa Borba is Dimitrije Ljotic. The paper was modelled on Mein Campf.
4 In line with principles of conspiracy theory.
5 Obnova and Nasa Borba
… by Milorad Mojic. He advocated “a swift and energetic liquidation of Jewry unless we want to witness destruction of the Christian civilisation.” 6 In 1941-45 period 51 anti-Semitic brochure were published.

Zbor

A leading Yugoslav exponent of Nazi ideology, Dimitrije Ljotic, founded Zbor, a pan-Serbian, pro-Nazi and Fascist party in 1935. It was a small but very active organisation which published a large number of papers, books and brochures, including most extreme anti-Semitic literature. In Vojvodina, an ethnically mixed milieu, boasting a community of about 500,000 volskdeutchers, Zbor published newspapers in German language Die Erwache (Awakening), and in Serbian language, Nas put. Both publications instigated war against Jews. Association of Jewish Communities in 1936 filed a libel lawsuit against publisher of the paper, but the court dropped the charges.

Serb Orthodox Church

Patriarch (Petar Rosic) Varnava in 1937 showed “live interest in Hitler and his policy which serves the whole mankind.” In May 1937 the SOC in its official publication indicated that “Jews are a force hiding behind the Free Masonry, Capitalism and Communism, the three biggest evils of the world.”7

Jews, representatives of Free Masonry, Jews, representatives of capitalism, and Jews, representatives of proletariat revolution have all similar view on the world. They are just Jews and nothing else…Therefore enemy is as sly as a snake and appears in several shapes. That is why it is dangerous.”8

Anti-Masonic Exhibition

On 22 November 1941 a major anti-Masonic exhibition was opened. It was widely promoted by the media. Exhibition was funded by city authorities, at proposal of DJordje Peric, Head of Nesic’s state propaganda, while its directors, Lazar Prokic and Lazar Kljujic, also members of the state propaganda department, were firebrands of Zbor. Representatives of German authorities attended the opening ceremony.

According to first information exhibit was seen by 10,000 Serbs and General Nedic. The press hyped up the message of the exhibit: “Jews deserved their fate, for interests of the Jewish internationalists never coincided with those of Serbs.” 9 In early 1942 a series of stamps …

6 Milorad Mojic, Secretary of Zbor, 1941, page 40
7 Foreign Review; “Patriarch Varnava urges fight against Communism,” Gazette of the SOC Patriarchy, Belgrade, 1 and 2 February 1937.
8 Through the church press; Three spectres, Gazette of the SOC, 12 May 1937
9 Major anti-Masonic exhibit. Obnova, 27 November 1941

… promoted that exhibit.

World War 2

Serbia was the first area in Europe which according to proud German claims in summer 1942, was “Judenrein” (cleansed of Jews) Milan Nedic and his national salvation army10, Ljotic Movement members, gendermerie, and special police helped Germans and volksdeutchers effect that cleansing. 11 But some Jews were killed by the Chetnik Movement of Draza Mihajlovic.

First repressive measures against Jews were implemented in Serbia and Banat: arrests, looting, harassment, passing of anti-Semitic decrees, forcible contributions, desecration and demolition of cemeteries, sinagogues and other Jewish institutions. On 19 April 1941 all Jews were ordered to wear a yellow armband and to register. Several hostages had been shot down before October 1941 when mass liquidations of Jews began.12 Jews were taken to Toposka suma detention centre in Belgrade, and kept as hostages there. Imprisoned Jews (and Romany) were used to fill up quotas for the German policy of retaliation, that is, killing of 100 persons for one assassinated German soldier. By the end of 1941 most male Jews were shot down by Vermacht firing squads. In November 1941 German authorities ordered construction of a detention centre Sajmiste (Fair grounds) for remaining Jewish women and children. Over 5,000 Jews were transported to Sajmiste in December 1941 and in the following months most of them died of hunger and cold.

In the WW2 four fifths of Jews in Yugoslavia were killed. Among the survivors were those who had fled to the Italian-occupied territory, those who had joined the Partisan units, or had gone into hiding. Of 59 Jewish municipalities in the pre-war period, only 15 with small memberships resumed their activities after 1945.

10 Nedic’s contribution to elimination of Jews was historically confirmed. Milan Nedic and his government of national salvation took on the task of “cleansing Serbia of Jews, renegades, and Gypsies.” Nedic personally used anti-Semitic rhetoric to discredit partisans, whom he labelled “Criminal Jewish-Communist gang.”

11 According to historical sources even a military part of Zbor renowned as the Serbian Voluntary Guard acted as a reliable ally of Gestapo in elimination of Jews. They searched flats, kept in custody detained communists and Jews and fought against partisans.

12 On 27 July 1941 in retaliation for attempted torching of a German vehicle by a Jewish boy, 122 persons were shot down by firing squads.

The post-WW2 period

In the post-WW2 period new wave of assimilation of Jews began. 13 The number of Jews declaring themselves as members of that nation and participating in the work of Jewish communities dwindled.

Creation of the state of Israel created a new dilemma of the stay- or- emigrate kind for many Jews. Under a decree of the Yugoslav authorities Jews who opted for emigration were allowed to take with them only movable possessions, while they had to renounce their real estate to the benefit of the state. Property of big Jewish landowners and capitalists (owners of plants) was nationalised or impounded through agrarian reform. In 1948-1951 period about 9,000, almost half of survivors, emigrated.

In the pre-WW2 period Jews fostered their identity and traditions within the family fold. Membership of the Jewish community played a central role in their life too. Large communities had a sinagogue, and rabbi, other priests and a teacher were involved in religious education classes imparted in sinagogues and Jewish communities. In the post -WW2 period that role was taken on by municipalities, which also organised cultural activities. Jewish communities also kept in touch with Israel and international Jewish organisations.

Anti-Semitic incidents have gradually increased since 1967, after severance of diplomatic ties between the SFRY and Israel. But then they were only a marginal phenomenon 14, for the state decried them. “Anti-Israeli publications bore all the hallmarks of the Communist, political authoritarianism, but in a stark contrast to similar incidents Europe-wide, anti-Semitism was consciously avoided. Very small number of anti-Semitic texts and critical reactions to them, attests to the aforementioned. 15

In the Seventies anti-Semitic texts came out occasionally. Their linchpin was the book Protocols of Zion Elders. In 1971 a Titograd-based literary magazine Ovjde ran a text by Aleksandar Loncar which inter alia16 alleged a high documentary value of facts presented in the Protocols of Zion Elders. In a literary magazine Delo, Dragos Kalajic made a similar claim, that is, maintained that Protocols was an authentic, documentary source for making judgement about the character of the Jewish religion. 17 Milo Glavurtic paraphrased Protocols in his private edition Satan in 1978.

Alliance of Jewish Communities filed a lawsuit against Glavurtic, but did not win the case. Ilustrovana Politika ran a feature of Mihailo Popovski Secret World of Masonry which included excerpts from Protocol. After several political interventions the magazine stopped running the feature. The book with the same title was published in 1984 by Nova Knjiga.

13 In that period the party membership and not national descent counted most. Religion was not an important factor. A larger number of war veterans were not demobilised after the war. Mixed marriages were commonplace.
14 Laslo Sekelj, Vreme bescasca, Belgrade, 1995
15 Idem, page 76
16 The same author wrote in the same text about “power of Jews” as a cause of “a sad fate of two major authors, Celine and Ezra Pound.”
17 Dragos Kalajic, Delo, 1970, page 677

Despite the ban the Macedonian version came out in 1985, and in the late Eighties it again appeared in Belgrade bookstores.

Beginning of the SFRY disintegration

According to the data of the Jewish community of Belgrade, 177 Jews, mostly from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia emigrated since the beginning of the Yugoslav crisis. “The figures speak of a small-scale emigration,” said Jasa Almuli, the then President of the Belgrade Jewish Community. 18 But according to the official data, 1,800 Jews left Yugoslavia, from 1991-1998. Those data can be considered controversial, unless one takes into account the fact that many Jews declared themselves as members of other ethnic nations. Hence it is difficult to establish the exact number of emigrants.

Jewish organisations in Croatia and Slovenia followed in the footsteps of their ‘domicile’ countries. Vice President of the Jewish Community in Croatia, Srdjan Matic, thus commented their move: “We obviously regret our breakaway move, but it was imposed by clashing realities in Yugoslavia….We are disappointed by conduct of national (Jewish) Federation in Belgrade…It has not condemned the bombing of Dubrovnik during which the old sinagogue was also damaged. Furthermore it also declined to take part in the meeting of religious communities in Sarajevo several months ago, which compelled us to stay away from the meeting too”19 Matic also criticised the Jewish Federation in Belgrade for a mild response to a bomb-planting in downtown area and in the Jewish cemetery in Zagreb, on 19 August 1992.

David Albahari, writer and President of the Jewish Community in Belgrade, who tried to save the Jewish Federation, regrets the rift, but admits its inevitability: “Before the joint meeting in Sarajevo, Jewish communities in Slovenia and Croatia declared unilateral secession. We thought that it was done under the pressure of their governments.” Albahari rejected allegations that the Belgrade seat of the Jewish Federation did not condemn the bombing of Dubrovnik sinagogue. “Sinanogue was not shelled. One shell fell in its proximity, and several windows were broken. Under such circumstances one could easily condemn the Serb government, as our brothers in Croatia demanded.”20.

In a bid to explain different stands of Jewish communities on developments in the former Yugoslavia and underscore manipulation of Jews by political actions, David Albahari says: “Initially Jewish communities reacted as they were told, by accepting incoming information at face-value. Despite our demands that the Jewish communities should stay away from the conflict, some moves were made without considering objective picture of developments. It took us almost a year to persuade them that our best …

18 Almuli, Intervju, 7 February 1992
19 Vecernje Novosti, 19 April 1992
20 Idem

position as an organised grouping was to continue to sit on the fence, in political terms. 21

Jews in Serbia

3,000 strong Jewish community, composed mostly of Sephardic Jews lives in Serbia (first Sephardic Jews fled from the Spanish Inquisition and settled in the Ottoman Empire countries, including Serbia.)

The principal generator of anti-Semitism in Serbia is the new Serbian Right, made of so-called left-wing and right wing parties in the political scene of Serbia, parts of the Serbian Orthodox Church and intellectual elite, or all those who advocate the idea of the international conspiracy against Serbia and oppose the new world order. Misa Levi, President of the Jewish Community in Belgrade draws attention to escalating anti-Semitism and ties between Serbia and Russia, both on the state and church level. Added to that quite a number of public media and prominent public figures constantly espouses the thesis of existence of the unique Jewish opinion in the world, decisive influence of Jews on creation of the US policy, and anti-Serb stance of the international Jewish institutions and renowned Jewish intellectuals. Publicist and analyst of religion Mirko DJordjevic says that the current wave of anti-Semitism is not caused by Jews: “It is a very belated historical response of certain circles to all things foreign and different.”

Anti-Semitism Monitoring Commission of the FJCY, in qualifying anti-Semitism, often resorts to euphemisms: “it is a contained, low-level anti-Semitism. Hence we did not suggest special measures to the Executive Board of the FJCY, barring our complaints and protests in writing to certain religious and political factors.” 23 The Jewish community stressed that it was always sensitive to equalisation of religion and nation, and even more so to identification between the majority nation and the state. The FJCY communique stresses: “It is not disputable that Jews in Serbia are under the law equal to other nations. But is it so in practice? Does this state, in every public discussion observe the fact that all its nationals are equal, irrespective of nationality, religion and other features of identity?”

At the same time ambivalent position on Jews is expressed through another extreme-equalisation of tragic fates of the two peoples.

For example, writer Vuk Draskovic, in 1985 described Serbs as Jews of the late Twentieth Century: “Each inch of Kosovo is Jerusalem for Serbs: there is no difference between suffering of Serbs and Jews. Serbs are the thirteenth lost and most unfortunate tribe of Israel.” In the first years of war, Jews were not seen as opponents. On the contrary the authorities tried to win them over for the “Serb cause.” Frequent were comparisons between “identical, tragic fates of Jews and Serbs as heavenly and innocent peoples, victims of genocide.” In that period Serbian authorities were “inclined” to Jews-…

21 Borba, 8 December 1993
22 Radio B92, 20 February 2001
23 Jewish Review, Bulletin of Federation of the Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia (FJCY), January 2000

… the media ran information about their activities, texts and features on friendly relations between Serbs and Jews, and evenings of Jewish poetry were organised.24 Federation of Jewish Municipalities was promised that it would be given back one of the most beautiful sinagogues in Serbia, the one in Nis (but that promise has never been fulfilled). At the same time the media increasingly reported on desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Serbia, notably in Zemun and Pancevo, 25 and decried those incidents.

“Filosemitism”

Society of the Serb-Jewish Friendship was registered on 21 November 1988, while the founding assembly was held on 4 March 1989. According to the proclamation the society was tasked with bringing together the two peoples, “frequently accused of being different.”26 Soon the Society’s branch office was set up in Kosovo, and later another thirty branch offices emerged Serbia-wide. Abortive attempts to set up such a society were registered even in the former Yugoslavia, during the one-party system. 27

Founding of the said Society, obviously tasked with abusing Jews for political purposes, was criticised and disapproved of by many Jewish intellectuals. Writer Filip David stated that at the founding meeting he notice “many wise heads, members of the Serbian Academy of Sciences, several prominent Serbian nationalists, and several elderly Jews, self-styled ‘Serbs of Moses faith.’ The idea of the founders was to help Serbia by enlisting our Jews to shore up support for the Serbian cause in the United States, through their, allegedly important connections. Early on I tried to say that the story about a conspiratorial world Jewish centre, dictating the entire world policy, was a sheer nonsense, and that the idea originated from the notorious Protocols of Zion Elders.” David went on to note: “This type of association was nonsensical, for there was not need for Jews, as Serbian citizens, to set up the Society of the Serb-Jewish Friendship.”28 Filip David realised that behind the project were indeed “nationalistic hot-heads” after his meeting with Ljubomir Tadic. Namely David, after the founding meeting, in his letter to Tadic, requested a meeting with him and expressed his negative opinion of the very Society.
At the first convention of the Society, in May 1990, the SJSF Secretary Klara Mandic stated that “the Society must persist in making public the names of all Serbs, victims of genocide, for their names are absent from the genocide-related books. Another …

24 Politika, 7 July 1991
25 Vecernje Novosti, 25 April 1991
26 Politika, 3 July 1990
27 Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia was against formation of the said Society on the following grounds: “There is no need to establish any association resting on close national or nationalities ties, in the SFRY territory.” Later Jews also opposed the existence of such a society, and maintained that it was legitimate to forge closer ties only between Serbia and Israel.”
28 Interview with Filip David.

… important task of the society was “sending of pertinent publications to 15,000 influential people and politicians in Europe, America and Canada.”29 FJCY repeatedly protested against some communiques of the Society and distanced itself from the latter’s actions.

But the leading Serbian politicians started emulating the society by propagating identical historical fate of Jews and Serbs, and preservation of friendly relations between the two peoples ( according to the Society, Serbs stood more to gain from the latter). Author Brana Crncevic said that “only friendship with Jews can save Serbhood,” 30 while Enriko Josif argued that “Serbs and Jews are very old friends, and shall remain friends, for they have not betrayed the most glorious pillars of their history-Kosovo and Jerusalem.” Dobrica Cosic stressed “the historical fate, which made Serbs and Jews very similar” and ” Jews are European people from whom Serbs can learn most.”

In 1991 Captain Dragan, later a leader of the Serb paramilitary units, wore the Star of David around his neck during a Studio B interview. At the same time members of the Serb-Jewish society, including the leading Serb nationalists, reiterated “Our fate is similar to the fate of Jews.”

In 1993 the Federation of Jewish Communities set up an Anti-Semitism Monitoring Committee, and its President Aca Singer warned: “Whenever and wherever there are turmoils in the world Jews are affected by them.” 31 An ever-increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents were condemned by a narrow circle of liberal public figures, and also by the regime’s satellites. The authorities tried to minimise the effects of anti-Semitic incidents by not responding to protests and complaints lodged by the Jewish Municipality of Belgrade and the Jewish Federation. But those incidents increased the fear or feeling of insecurity among the Jews and non-Serbs. On the other hand they were adroitly used by the authorities as a form of “soft ethnic-cleansing.”

The world was outraged by wars in the territories of former Yugoslavia, and condemned actions of Bosnian Serbs. Those condemnations became increasingly sharp and both “domestic” and foreign Jews joined in the chorus of international protests. This placed domestic Jews in a very delicate position. Hence the following statement of Jasa Almuli: “anyone may exercise his democratic right to criticise the regime in place, but such criticism should be voiced as a purely personal opinion. Jewish community would appreciate very much if some individuals stopped using its name in political showdowns, and stopped making up stories about emigration.” It was a response to objections of official Belgrade that Jews were siding with “the Serb enemies”, namely criticism of international Jews who condemned aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Anti-Semitic Incidents

There are no precise data on the kind and number of anti-Semitic incidents in Serbia. In the past decade many were glossed over by the authorities, and even the Jewish …

29 Politika, 3 April 1992
30 Politika, 25 May 1990
31 Politika, 12 August 1994, page 13

… community. State bodies have by and large failed to react to protests and complaints of the Jewish Federation. Even when the latter sporadically reacted, 32, there was no follow-up, that is, criminal investigations were not launched.

Media-bashing

The Jewish Federation filed a lawsuit against statements made by President of the Serbian Royalist Movement, Sinisa Vucic, in a radio B92 program Intervju dana. It considered that his words (“we shall seize property of rich Jews and Communists to help alleviate the suffering of our people,”) were tantamount to “instigation of religious and national hatred.” Although hard evidence was submitted, namely the tape of interview, the Republican Public Prosecutor’s office transferred the case to the District Public Prosecutor’s Office (after repeated interventions of the Jewish Community), which, however failed to act on the case. That interview marked the start of a series of similar statements of Vucinic made to the most influential print media 33, ran under the following headlines: Serbian Hawks Become Terrorists, We Threaten UNPROFOR, We Shall Seize Property of Rich Jews and Communists to Help our Long-Suffering People. Jewish Community again reacted to Vucinic’s hate speech on 27 May 1993 by inquiring about the course of investigation. After a new anti-Semitic statement of Vucinic on 13 June 1993, 34 the Federation on 24 August 1993 again inquired about the course of investigation by the District Public Prosecutor’s Office. The Federation filed new charges after an anti-Semitic interview with Sinisa Vucinic was ran by magazine Svet.

In June 1994, the Prijepolje Bulletin of the Serbian Popular Renewal (a party closely affiliated with the Belgrade regime) ran a text headlined The Jewish Ball of Vampires (by-line was -Luka Sarkotic). In the text Jews were accused of crimes against the Holy Church of Christ, that is, the SOC and practising Christians, murder of God, the French Bourgeoisie Revolution, uprisings in Russia, the 1917 October Revolution, assassination of the two Russian Tzars, poisoning of Stalin, creation and implementation of the “Perestroika” project, destruction of the Soviet and Russian “empires”, the Chernobil nuclear plant catastrophe, future war between Kiev and Moscow (over Krimea), collusion and alliances with Muslims and Protestants, arming of “Green Berets” in B&H, causing the plague epidemics in the world, poisoning of wells, ritual slaughter of children, creation of Jasenovac concentration camp through the Croatian state leadership, and production of AIDS virus. The Jewish Federation immediately informed of the said publication Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic, the SOC Patriarch Pavle, the Montenegrin Mitropolite Amfilohije, Backa Episcope Irinej Bulovic, Federal Human Rights Minister, Margit Savovic and Federal Information Minister Slobodan Ignjatovic. Their response would later serve as a model for all future reactions to anti-Semitic incidents: protests were acknowledged, incidents were verbally condemned, but not a single concrete action against perpetrators was taken. The Serbian Popular Renewal then …

32 In an indirect way, through statements of some influential, public figures
33 Borba, 13 May 1993
34 Svet, 13 June 1993

… issued a communique: “there is too much unnecessary buzz about the text. We are very surprised by reaction of the Federation of the Jewish Communities in Yugoslavia to a desperate cry of a Serbian patriot, abandoned by the whole world. We wonder how would the Jewish people react if all 48 Jewish Senators in the US Senate voted against the Serb people.” But after condemnatory reactions of the liberal public strata in Serbia and Montenegro, Slavko Fustic, editor of the Bulletin, wrote an apologetic letter because of “publishing a scandalous text, with a very low- quality contents.” He moreover stated: “I would like to give to you and the entire Jewish people my assurances that we don’t hate the Jewish people…”Independent media, who have followed the whole case, also reacted: journalist of weekly Vreme wondered about the prosecutor’s real intentions, as the latter first had told the weekly’s journalist that he was still undecided about his next investigating action, and then -went on holiday. Klara Mandic, secretary of the Society of Jewish-Serb Friendship, also protested against the text run by Bulletin in Politika. Vreme commented her protest in the following way: “the problem with the Jew-bashing pamphlet is that it was designed in the circles in which Mandic has an influential role.”

New edition of Ljotic’s paper Nova Iskra (October 1994), titled U ime istine carried a text penned by S. Hadzic Hilendarski in which prominent domestic and foreign public figures of Jewish descent were criticised for their stands on the Bosnian war, namely: Elie Wiesel, Madeleine Albright, Daniel Schieffer, Klara Mandic, Israel Kellman, Enriko Josif, David Albahari, George Soros, Simon Viesenthal, Cheslav Milos, Warren Zimmerman, Zbiegnev Brezhinski, Bernard Henri- Levy, Allen Finkelcraut, Henri Glucksman, Loraine Fabius, Slobodanka Gruden, Jasa Almuli, Predrag Finci, Ladoslav Kadelburg. David Kalef, etc.

In July 1994 Glas Srpski 35 carried an interview with Dr. Radmilo Marojevic, professor of Philological Faculty in Belgrade. In the interview headlined, Cultural Treason is National Treason, Marojevic pointed out that: “in the Serbian culture and science very active is the fifth column of the Judeo-Masonic Project.” In another interview carried by the Belgrade magazine Duga under the headline Dream about New Hazar Land, Marojevic repeated his thesis about the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy in -Russia.

Serb Orthodox Church

A publicist and analyst of religion Mirko DJordjevic in a host of studies indicates that anti-Semitism is not related to Orthodox religion, but rather to ethnicfiletism very influential among the SOC. Some SOC circles, notably those under the influence of Priest Nikolaj Velimirovic, joined in the anti-Semitic campaign. Velimirovic suddenly became a martyr. Mitropolite Montenegrin banned any kind of criticism or re-appraisal of work and ideas of Priest Nikolaj, although he has never been canonised.
“That legendary martyrdom is used for glossing over unpleasant pages of a repressed history-during the Nazi occupation some members of the SOC episcopate joined Nedic, and took strident anti-Semitic positions,” writes DJordjevic. He adds: ” Priest …

35 Glas srpski from Republika Srpska is distributed in Serbia too.

… Nikolaj was close to Nedic and Ljotic, he did not oppose totalitarian political systems, but in fact favoured them. Therefore it is not clear how his body of work can be a treasure trove of spiritual inspiration and a veritable golden mine of spirituality and Orthodox faith, as Radovan Bigovic qualified it in his doctoral thesis (his mentor was Amfilohije Radovic.)”

Book of Priest Artemije New Golden-Mouth, published in Belgrade in 1986, is one of many books which glorified Priest Nikolaj: “he is the only Serb who can be considered an intellectual and spiritual peer of St. John the Golden-Mouth, hence his nickname-the Serbian Golden-Mouth. Mirko DJordjevic writes that “the Serbian contemporary historians failed to notice a conspicuous similarity between St. John the Golden Mouth and the Zica orator, Priest Nikolaj: namely St. John’s body of work also contains 8 holimies “against Judea.”

Logos 36, a magazine of students of Theological Faculty in Belgrade in 1994 ran a text Jewish Games behind the International Stage, penned by Predrag Milosevic and Boban Milenkovic. That text abounds in accusations against Jews, for example, ” there is a planetary Jewish conspiracy against the Christian Orthodox faith, and notably against the Serb people and Russia,” corroborated by citations from old documents of Priest Nikolaj Velimirovic related to his defence of Protocols of Zion Elders.” “All modern phenomena in Europe were masterminded by Jews, who crucified Jesus, that is,: democracy, strikes, socialism, atheism, tolerance of all denominations, universal revolution, capitalism and communism. They were all inventions of Jews, that is, of their father, the Devil.” 37

In July 1994 magazine Kruna carried two texts headlined How to Read Protocols of Zion Elders, and Book of Notions. The first text praised the said book, while the second, vilified Jews, as people, through criticism of Mosa Pijade, the pre-war communist, Partisan, and member of the post-war establishment.

Publishing activities

Publishing activity played a major role in anti-Semitic campaign. Publishing companies, Velvet and Ihtus-Hriscanske knjige published several reprints of books of Dimitrije Ljotic, Milan Nedic, Priest Nikolaj Velimirovic, and some other books dealing with alleged Masonic-Jewish conspiracies. According to sociologist Laslo Sekelj, in 1990-95 12 different editions of Protocols of Zion Elders were published, and in 1995-2001 another-eight. 38 Vladimir Maksimovic, one of publishers of Protocols of Zion Elders, part of distribution of which was impounded in 1994, in defending himself from accusations of anti-Semitism, says that “the only problem with this book is the fact that the publishing activity was taken over by the Soros Foundation, whose founder is a Jew. The Federation of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia on 22 March 1994 condemned publication of Protocols of Zion Elders, and filed charges against Publishing House

36 Logos, 1-4/1994
37 Priest Nikolaj Velimirovic in his documents written in defence of Protocols of Zion Elders.
38 NIN 2640, 2 August 2001, Zabrana i krivica, page 32

Velvet and responsible editor Vladimir Maksimovic. Three days later the FJCY got a letter from owner and director of the publishing house Sfairos in which he decried the appeal to ban publishing and distributing the book, and termed it “an undemocratic demand.” He suggested to the Federation joint publishing of the book with “an expert commentary,” and future collaboration involving publishing of works dedicated to study of literary, historical and linguistic heritage of the Jewish people and its identity.” In response to accusations by the Jewish Federation, newspaper issued by the Serbian Radical Party, Velika Srbija, in May 1994, ran a text, “Who burns down books, shall burn down people too,” along with a commentary ” let readers, Serbs, assess what is true and what is false in Protocols of Zion Elders.”

(Deputy District Prosecutor Milija Milovanovic in July 2001 dropped charges against publishers of Protocol due to “the lack of evidence for further legal proceedings.”)

In December 1994 Club of National Books Velvet in its catalogue listed its new anti-Semitic books: Protocols of Politart Seers or Counter-initiation (Isidora Bjelica and Nebojsa Pajkic write about ‘plagues’ of modern society, including Judaism and advise how to fight against them); Drama of Contemporary Mankind, Dimitrije Ljotic, -On the Semitic danger and breaking of the Serbian backbone in WW2; Jews in Serbia, Dr. Lazar Prokic; Why have Jews always been against Serbs? Who are they-an anti-Semitic guide, Dr. Lazar Prokic; Jewish Conspiracy, Marcus Elie Ravadge; Serb People in Claws of Jews, Milorad Mojic; The Jewish Issue, F.M. Dostoevsky; Under the Star of David-Judaism and Free Masonry in the Past and Present, Georgije Pavolovic; Religious and legal study of Talmud or an essay on Jewish honesty, Vasa Pelagic. The aforementioned catalogue listed also other titles: Jews in mirror of the Bible by theologian Zivojin Savic; Evil and Damned: Torturers of Contemporary Mankind, translation of Charles Weismann book.

Valjevo-based Glas crkve in 1996 published a book Selected Works of Priest Nikolaj in Ten Volumes. Book VII- Through a Prison Window includes a series of negative commentaries on life, customs and role of Jews.

On 16 December in one of premises of the Philosophical Faculty in Belgrade an anti-Semitic pamphlet titled A complete report-Jews and Jewry was found. An unidentified person distributed it to students. Teaching council of the faculty in its communique, issued in the paper Protest-Three Uprisings in 1996, qualified the pamphlet as anti-Semitic, and condemned its author and the like-minded intellectuals.

Publisher Ratibor DJurdjevic spearheaded the anti-Semitic campaign through reprints and new editions. Promotions of his books usually started with a blessing and prayer of retired priest and notorious anti-Semite Zarko Gavrilovic. Whenever he uttered the word “Jews,” the audience booed. In the study Syndrome of Fear of Judeans in America DJurdjevic says that behind-the-scenes masters of the US policy intentionally nominate week presidential candidates to control them easily.

According to him “such candidates are aplenty, as the US public and private morals are weak and lax. A man of integrity and strong sense of morals, namely Pat Buchanan, a Christian and renowned anti-Semite, could not succeed in unprincipled US “democracy.” 39 In the book Zionism, Communism and the “New” World Order, DJurdjevic stated: “it is very important that Christians understand that Communism-that major ill of Western societies-was spawned by Jewish institutions and circles…it was guided, channelled and evolved by official Israeli secret councils.” 40

After DJurdjevic’s book Lies and Shortcomings of US Democracy came out (publisher was Ihtus-Hriscanks knjiga, Beograd), the Jewish Federation on 16 October sent a protest letter, describing the nature and contents of the book, to Information Minister Ratomir Vico, Human Rights Minister, Margit Savovic, Mayor of Belgrade, Nebojsa Covic, Minister Zoran Bingulac, Minister of Religions Dragan Dragojlovic, the SOC Patriarchate, Irinej Bulovic, members of the Society of Serb-Jewish Friendship, and the media. It moreover informed the Serbian Justice Minister that charges were filed against Publishing House Ihtus and its editor Zarko Gavrilovic. The media responded differently to the Jewish Federation’s protest. Daily Politika on 18 October ran a text Who Fuels Anti-Semitism penned by Rade Rankovic, and later an interview with Aca Singer President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Serbia (Anti-Semitic Incidents Should Not Be Glossed Over) about dire effects of anti-Semitism both on those who propagate it and those who close a blind eye to it. Nasa Borba on 18 October 1995 carried a text State Bodies Keep Silent, which focused on “non-reactions of the state bodies to anti-Semitic incidents.”

Contrary to Politika and Nasa Borba, Politika Ekspres on 7 October 1995 ran a text Conspiracy against Christianity in which the author Visnja Vukotic quoted excerpts from Lies and Shortcomings of US Democracy, and backed all allegations and ideas contained therein. The same paper on 8 October carried a text headlined A man who knew too much ends in a lunatic asylum, full of quotations from the aforementioned book. On 23 October 1995 Vecernje Novosti carried an article by Dejan Lucic, Who are instigators of hatred? in which Lucic tried to justify positions espoused by DJurdjevic in Lies and Shortcomings of US Democracy. Politika Ekspres on 23 October 1995 ran a reaction of President of the Society of Serb-Jewish Friendship, Ljubomir Tadic, to DJurdjevic’s book. Namely Tadic challenged and criticised some of positions disclosed in the book.

Holy Synod of SOC on 24 October 1995 informed the Jewish Federation that it “regrets publication of the anti-Semitic book” and “shall do its utmost to prevent publishing of similar books.” Saint Sava Youth and Students’ Movement followed suit by condemning activities of Ratibor DJurdjevic, one of its principal ‘donors’ and Zarko Gavrilovic, assessing them as “retirees who only acted as counsellors to the Movement” and stressing that “Anti-Semitism has always been contrary to the spirit of Saint Sava Movement.” Despite the SOC condemnation of DJurdjevic’s book and assurances that its circles did not disseminate anti-Semitism, in April 1997 the very book appeared in the …

39 Dr. Ratibor DJurdjevic, Five bloody revolutions of Jewish bankers and of their Judeo-Masonry, Ihtus, Belgrade
40 Idem, page 196

… SOC’s bookstore Zadruga pravoslavnog svestenstva. In its 11 April 1997 letter to the
SOC Patriarchy the Jewish Federation expressed its concern over appearance of DJurdjevic’s book in the said bookstore. In their replies the official SOC spokesman and the Patriarchy Cabinet regretted the event, and informed that the bookstore’s manage was instructed to immediately stop selling the book.

At the promotion of the book Kuril Manuscripts by author Hugo Karamata, held in the Association of Writers of Serbia on 25 January 1996, DJurdjevic stated: “Judeans are the worst world evil….they bankroll all national and international Masonic activities and pull the strings of the world conspiracy.” 41

In autumn 1996 DJurdjevic’s new book, On Absurdity of Anti-Semitism (publisher was again Ihtus-Hriscanska knjiga) came out. Federation of the Jewish Communities on 30 October 1996 inquired with the District Prosecutor’s Office about actions taken regarding its complaint of 16 December 1995, and simultaneously informed it that the same author published a new book. In its reply of 22 November 1996 the Public Prosecutor’s office quoted all criminal proceedings taken against Sinisa Vucinic, Publishing House Velvet from Belgrade, editor Vladimir Maksimovic, and publishing house Ihtus and Zarko Gavrilovic.

In its letter of 28 November 2000 to the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Jewish Federation indicated growing anti-Semitism: “Among those who spread hate of Jews excels Dr. Ratibor Rajko DJurdjevic, founder of Ihtus-Hriscanska knjiga and author of the bulk of 50 books published by that house. Since his return from emigration in 1992 DJurdjevic launched an anti-Semitic campaign. He remained undeterred in his intentions even in the face of an express condemnation of his activities by the Holy Synod of SOC, of 24 October 1995. The very name of his publishing house (Ichtus-Christian Books) suggests his links to the Orthodox Christian faith and church. Moreover all the books bear the symbol of cross on the covers.”

Reprint editions

In the Serbian Academy of Sciences bookstore in October 1995 the book New World Order and Free Masonry (reprint of the Belgrade edition from 1939) appeared. The book accused Jews of an anti-global conspiracy. On 27 November the Jewish Federation informed the District Public Prosecutor in Belgrade of the aforementioned.

Reprint of the 1943 anti-Semitic book Under the Star of David and Free Masonry in the Past and Present by Georgije Pavlovic came out in 1995. Author of introduction was Dimitrije Ljotic, and publishers were Koloseum Beograd, Velvet Beograd, Sloga Novo Sarajevo and Slobodna knjiga Beograd. In 1995 Planeta Beograd published a reprint of anti-Semitic book Jews and the Serbian Issue by Jasa Tomic. Some recent reprints with markedly anti-Semitic contents had been published first during the Nazi occupation: Serbian People in Claws of Jews by Milorad Mojic, Secretary General of pre-war “Zbor,” Legal and Religious Teachings about Talmud or an Essay on Jewish Honesty by Vasa Pelagic. Reprint of Pro-Ljotic paper Nova iskra was also published.

41 Documentation of the Jewish Federation

Patriotic Movement “Obraz”

The far-right organisation, Patriotic Movement “Obraz”, founded in 1993 to back and disseminate ideas espoused by the name-sake magazine, in late 2000 and early 2001 became very active and evolved into a political organisation. Graffiti with symbols of this organisation, cross, alpha and beta, with slogans “Only unity can save Serbs,” “Let’s fight with dignity for Serbhood,” “Let’s defend our dignity,” are drawn on many private and public buildings.

Public at large first learnt about existence of that organisation after the incident at the Assembly of Association of Writers of Serbia, in November 2000. Namely then a group of writers clashed with management, demanded its dismissal and establishment of new, democratic, relations within the association. 42 Security agents, members of “Obraz” reportedly removed the ‘disobedient’ from the conference hall.

“Obraz” is not registered as a political party for its followers “don’t believe in pluralism of interest of the Serbian people, but they believe in their ability to gather together and to accept a unique set of values and fate for all Serbs.” They also think that “no Serb victim was useless, as our existence proves…We are Serbs of these evil times.” They are convinced that efforts of “Obraz” and all other honourable Serb contemporaries shall be a lasting mainstay for future generations of Serbs who “shall fully complete the oath.” “Let us make concerted efforts to more successfully and easily, with God’s assistance, attain our patriotic goals and carry out our statehood-making tasks,” is the principal message of the movement. Web-site of “Obraz” is rife with texts denying democratic achievements, espousing a strident anti-Americanism, and glorifying Serbhood. After the NATO intervention, the following communique was placed on the web-site: “During the last war waged by NATO Satanists against the Serb people from 24 March to 10 June 1999, “Obraz” was the only organisation which indicated “black magic, and occult nature of that war.”

During the bombardment “Obraz” issued two communiques, “Why are Serbs Invincible?” and “NATO-Satanism in the Name of Democracy,” which the media refused to run. 43 Nebojsa Krstic, President of “Obraz” maintained that “the Serb people are most threatened now,”44 and urged a national state, a society of sound Serbs, an economically rich and strong Serbia, instead of a state of citizens and an open society.” Wording of texts indicates that at work is a Neo-Ljotic group, whose size cannot be easily estimated. “Obraz” stated that it had stepped up its activities in late 2000 for “then the time was ripe for advent of Serbian nationalism. Then the Serb people were most threatened.” The following statement coincided with the political changeover in Serbia: “We are nationalists, and not fascists. Our slogan is: Loyal to God and to Serb people.” When asked if he backed Ljotic’s policy, Krstic responded: “We appreciate and love all Serb nationalists, Priest Nikolaj Velimirovic, and Serb martyrs Draza Mihajlovic, Milan Nedic, and Dimitrije Ljotic. We fight against everything …

42 Republika, 16-31 December 2000
43 Knjizevne novine, “Obraz”, 28 November 2000
44 Glas javnosti, 12 February 2002 “Nationalists, and not Chauvinists”

… that separates us from the Serb tradition, that is, against globalisation, atheism, secularism and abuses of human rights and liberties.” He added that the organisation was several thousand strong, and that branch offices were set up in Vrsac, Odzaci. Novi Sad, Jagodina, Velika Plana, and in America, Canada, and Europe.” According to Krstic the organisation has about 30.000 members. According to some sources active, but secret followers of “Obraz” are Dragos Kalajic and Dragoslav Bokan,45 former contributors to magazine “Nasa ideja,” and magazine Duga.
March 2001 incident is linked to “Obraz.” Graffiti “Korac-Jewish Conspiracy-“Otpor” and “Kostunica-DJindjic Cheated Us,” were painted on the building of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. According to Korac, Vice Prime Minister of Serbia, and the faculty’s professor, those scandalous messages “are very similar to ones placed on the “Obraz” web-site.” Students of the faculty confirmed that “Obraz” was behind the incident. Police did not issue any communique, but the media reported that several policemen visited the building. 46 Ratibor Trivunac, member of the Students’ Union of Faculty of Philosophy, stated: “We are no longer a spawning ground of liberal ideas, but rather the one of conservative and fascist ideas.” He added: “Majority of our students believe that a group of History Department students and professors, who even at lectures propagate far-right, nationalistic ideas, are behind the graffiti incident.” Trivunac also said that majority of students saw the similarity between the graffiti messages and the web-site ones.”

Electronic media

TV Palma and its owner Miki Vujovic, aired a large number of political programs focusing on the international Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. This largely contributed to spreading of anti-Semitism in early months of 2001.

Jews were accused of being “murderers and criminals,” “the biggest evil of the world history,” and “instigators of all failures of modern history, starting from the October Revolution, WW1 and WW2, to bombardment of Yugoslavia. According to TV Palma Jews should apologise for actions taken by US Administration against Yugoslavia. Many guests and Vujovic himself frequently mentioned “Jewish conspiracy” against Serbs or entire mankind, negative character traits and mind-set of Jews, and their hate of Serbs. Such messages were intended for Jews living abroad, notably in the US. ‘Domestic’ Jews were criticised for not having persuaded their fellow-nationals to change their stance on Serbs, for not having done anything to eliminate negative image of Serbs. Unfortunately other TVs also disseminated similar, Jew-bashing propaganda. Similar messages were voiced on other channels, notably Radio Television Serbia, which occasionally re-broadcast the old, wartime, programs about the international, and Jewish world conspiracy against Serbs.

45 Interview with Helsinki Committee
46 “Borba”, “Obraz” Manipulated by Remote Control, 20 March 2001
47 “Politika,” “Obraz” Fights ‘Enemies of Serbhood”, 22 March 2001

In a program of Radio Yugoslav Airlines on 17 May 2000 Dejan Lucic accused Jews of having staged a military and state coup on 27 March 1941, when the Trilateral Pact was rejected, and later a military uprising in Montenegro. Lucic also held them accountable for attacks on Belgrade and attempts to revive civil war. According to Lucic “they are assisted in their endeavours by the British and US intelligence services.” He divided Jews into “two subversive groups, Jews and Khazars…they are quite similar, but still different: Jews shall do their utmost to help Israel, and Khazars to amass -money.”

Graffiti

Anti-Semitic slogan Death to Jews with Nazi swastikas was drawn twice on the central building of Belgrade University in September 1995. The same slogan was written on the wall of the hall of the Jewish Municipality building in Belgrade on 22 October 1995.

On 27 October 1995 the Jewish Community sent a memo on incident to the Stari Grad police and requested it to launch a pertinent investigation. Three days later, on 30 October a police patrol scouted the building, and later slogans were removed.
On 24 October 1995 the Assembly of Belgrade sharply condemned the graffiti on the building of the Philological Faculty. Only after repeated interventions of the Jewish Federation, the Republican Public Prosecutor on 19 December 1995 informed the Federation that the graffiti case would be handled by the District Public Prosecutor in Belgrade.

On the fence of the Jewish Cemetery on 21 and 22 January three graffiti appeared: Out with Masonic-Jewish Serb-Haters, We don’t want the Dayton Pax Judaica. Jews, You are a Minority in Serbia. The Jewish Federation on 25 January informed Slobodan Pavlovic, Vice President of the Belgrade Assembly and the police of the incident and asked them to intervene. It also filed charges against unknown perpetrators on 16 February 1996.

Graffiti Death to Filthy Jews, Skinheads, White Power, the Racist Movement of Belgrade, crosses and slogan Serbia to Serbs were drawn in the hall of the building housing the Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community of Belgrade and the Jewish Historical Museum on 11 February 1997.

On 26 September 1996 leaflets with the scull and slogan “Jewish lethal vaccine kills Muslim children” were distributed in Novi Pazar. In the text parents were told to boycott vaccine against children’s paralysis….”for it aims to impair health of Muslim children…”

On two occasions, in December 2000 and January 2001 Nazi swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans in English, notably “Jews Hate Your Freedom of Speech,” were drawn on all Jewish institutions in Belgrade, the sinagogue, Jewish cemetery, the Jewish Municipality building.

Desecration of monuments and religious institutions

Plaque with inscription was removed from the monument “Menorah in Flames” by Nandor Glid in the 15th -21st May week . Glid’s monument in Belgrade has been on repeated occasions the target of vandals (several days after wreaths had been laid on the monument in 1999 they were torn and thrown around). Police never found perpetrators of that vandal act, nor the ones who drew graffiti on Jewish institutions and cemetery and threw Molotov cocktails into the yard of sinagogues in Belgrade and Novi Sad.

In recent years singagogues have been frequently targeted by anti-Semites. The Zemun sinagogue, a protected municipal institution, was converted into a restaurant by the Radical Party-led municipal authorities in the face of the city authorities ban and protests of the Jewish Community. The then President of the Municipal Assembly and the Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj and director of the Business Space Tomislav Nikolic met with the Federation’s delegation on 7 March 1997 and promised not to lease that institution. Just a months later, on 30 March, the sinagogue was leased and converted into a restaurant.

“That sinagogue is very important for us, but we did not want to hype up the case and make a too vocal demand,” said Aca Singer. He added: “It is very important for Jews as in that sinagogue Rabbi Alkalai was the first to mention the return of Jews to their Holy Land. He had done it before Theodore Herzl, who is considered the founder of a modern Zionist Movement.” Singer then went on to explain the long history of the embattled Zemun sinagogue: “Until 1962 the Jewish Community was compelled to lease the sinagogue due to lack of upkeep funds and an ever-dwindling number of Jews. After that the sinagogue was forcibly sold to the then authorities for a negligible amount of money. The money we got from the lease was given to socially vulnerable categories of Jews. We had a deal with the previous Socialist authorities. Namely the sinagogue was to be used for cultural purposes only. But when the Radical Party took the municipal reins in 1997 the deal fell through. That sinagogue had been built in 1850 on foundations of the old, Eightieth Century sinagagoue, which was badly ruined after the WW2. It bears stressing that it has served many purposes, but was never used as restaurant. It is very important institution for us, because it was saved by miracle from destructive hands of Ustashi in the WW2.”

Subotica sinagogue met with a different fate. Story about Subotica Jews is a specific one, and it marked Subotica history from the mid 18th century. Before the opening of central sinagogue rites were officiated in the Sremska street sinagogue. But when the Subotica Jews became economically strong 48 they decided to erect “the temple of temples.” New sinagogue had a tent-like dome. It was possessed of a unique beauty in terms of design and construction. “It is owned by the city and under the World Heritage Fund document it is protected as one of the 100 key world sinagogues.” 49 In Mid-Eighties theatre director Ljubisa Ristic 50 came to work in Subotica in order to “shake up a sleepy milieu.” In late Eighties Ristic staged big spectacles with his numerous ensemble in the singagoue. In a play a horse and a horseman both peed in the sinagogue. Restored …

48 30 Jews counted among 184 richest residents of Subotica in early 20th century.
49 Jozef Kasa, Mayor of Subotica
50 In Milosevic era Ristic was one of the most influential leaders of the AYL, the SPS coalition partner.

… dome was also again badly impaired by fumes from stoves, while the lawn around the sinagogue was trampled upon by buses ferrying spectators to performances.
*
Although the Jewish Community in Serbia is very small, anti-Semitism tenaciously persists as a part of a specific social phenomenology. Under the current circumstances it relies on ideological roots of the Serbian conservative, right-wing factions (Priest Nikolaj Velimirovic, Dimitrije Ljotic) and feeds itself on social and economic frustration stemming from a defeated Greater Serbia idea. Anti-Semitism in Serbia also draws on belief that the influential, international Jewish community, notably (its prominent representatives Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, Wesley Clark and Robert Gelbrand) has contributed to misfortune of Serbs, notably after the NATO air strikes. In parallel many intellectuals espoused the idea of identical fates of Serbs and Jews in the past decade. Within the context of the syndrome of victim, cherished in Serbia, Serbs are equalised with Jews (Vuk Draskovic: Kosovo is our Jerusalem). One should take into consideration that ambivalent position on the Jewish ethnic community in any future (and necessary) public debate on Anti-Semitism.

SOURCE: Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
DOWNLOAD:
www.helsinki.org.yu/doc/annual2001_en.zip

FUGITIVE GEN. RATKO MLADIC’S FINGERPRINTS MYSTERIOUSLY MISSING

September 13, 2008 7 comments
Hard-line Serbian nationalists would do anything to protect the indicted war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic, even if that means manipulating, falsificating, or destroying the evidence…

PHOTO: Wartime Serb General Ratko Mladic, top fugitive sought by the International Criminal Tribunal, is regarded by many Serbs as “hero” for killing 10,000 to 15,000 civilians in Sarajevo – 1,500 of them children – as well as committing Srebrenica genocide and placing thousands of Bosniaks and Croats into concentration camps…

In order to prevent the capture of top war crimes fugitive, former Serb General Ratko Mladic, Serbs have somewhat changed their strategy. Instead of censoring evidence, like they had done in 2007 to avoid genocide judgment against Serbia at the International Court of Justice, now they destroyed Ratko Mladic’s fingerprints from Serbian police files.

Serbian justice system is a joke. Srebrenica genocide survivors were sick to their stomach when they learned that family of recently arrested top fugitive, Radovan Karadzic, knew about his whereabouts and even assisted him to evade justice. Before his arrest, Karadzic’s family lied on numerous occassions about not knowing anything about his whereabouts. Serbia refused to prosecute members of Karadzic’s family, and the war crimes court in Belgrade never responded to our e-mails demanding the prosecution of these criminals who publicly admitted their involvement in directly helping Karadzic evade justice. When NATO raided house of Karadzic’s wife, Ljiljana Zelen-Karadzic, they found letters from Belgrade with initials Dragan David Dabic. She was known by putting up fake tears for the media and pretending to be innocent victim who never knew where her husband was. (related: see photo of visibly shaken Karadzic facing justice in tears)

In 1999, Ratko Mladic submitted an application form for an ID card in Serbia with his fingerprints. Now, that part of the documentation has been mysteriously “lost.” Mladic is regarded by many Serbs as a national hero due to his “heroic” slaughter of at least 8,000 unprotected Bosniaks (mostly men, as well as many children and some women), including putting thousands of Bosniak and Croat civilians in concentration camps (see photos), as well as the siege of Sarajevo – the longest siege in the history of modern warfare in which 10,000 – 15,000 people died, including 1,500 children. The fingertips are vital in the worldwide hunt to arrest Mladic and send him to the International Criminal Tribunal to face justice.

There is a $5 million reward issued for the information leading to the arrest of indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic.

Rasim Ljajic, the highest ranking Bosniak politician in Serbia, has confirmed that part of the information Ratko Mladic submitted for his ID card application has been mysteriously “lost.” Ljajic is also the president of the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal and leader of the Sanjak Democratic Party. Sanjak (or Sandzak) is a region lying along the border between Serbia and Montenegro where Bosniaks Muslims make up majority or 52.36% of population.

Ljajic stated that the information about mysteriously lost fingerprints “should not have come out in public,” but said that allegedly an investigation is underway into the lost documentation.

Serbian Daily Blic writes that like Radovan Karadzic and Stojan Zupljanin, Ratko Mladic is using a false identity and documents in another name. Blic stated that this revelation has infuriated the new security services boss, Sasa Vukadinovic, on whose arrival it was ascertained that information was leaking out and reaching Mladic himself.

The Blic daily newspaper quoted Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic as saying that Mladic’s capture will be a much tougher job than the arrest in July of another genocide suspect, Radovan Karadzic.

“The inner circle of guards around Ratko Mladic includes people who are ready to use weapons at any moment. That is why the arrest of the most wanted … suspect is much harder than was the case with Karadzic,” – Vukcevic said. He expects Mladic’s quick arrest, but predicted that the fugitive is in fact not hiding in disguise like his recently captured partner in crime Radovan Karadzic.

EU DEAL WITH SERBIA SICKENS SREBRENICA GENOCIDE VICTIMS

April 30, 2008 2 comments

Europe is moving toward EU membership the first country found to be violating the Genocide Convention:

“If Europe can accept a Serbia which is hiding war criminals and continues with its wartime policies, such a Europe means nothing to us!”

PHOTO CAPTION: Bosnian Muslim survivor of Srebrenica Genocide, Kada Hotic, shows photographs of the memorial to over 8,000 Bosniak victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre by Bosnian Serb forces, in the capital Sarajevo April 30, 2008. Relatives of the victims accused the European Union of failing to live up to its own principles by signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia despite Belgrade’s failure to arrest war crimes fugitives such as Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, indicted for genocide for the Srebrenica massacre. Hotic lost her son, husband and two brothers at Srebrenica.

The EU signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia on Tuesday despite Belgrade’s failure to arrest war crimes fugitives such as Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, indicted for genocide for the massacre at Srebrenica of 8,000 Bosniaks.

Relatives of victims of Bosnia’s 1995 Srebrenica genocide accused the European Union on Wednesday of failing to live up to its own principles by signing a pre-membership pact with Serbia.

“If Europe can accept a Serbia which is hiding war criminals and continues with its wartime policies, such a Europe means nothing to us,” said Kada Hotic, who lost her son, husband and two brothers at Srebrenica. “We can hope for nothing regarding respect for human rights.”

“This shows Serbia enjoys privileges like no other state,” said the chairman of Bosnia’s Presidency, Haris Silajdzic. “Some countries have been lagging behind in the European integration process on far less important grounds than the arrest of those responsible for the only genocide in Europe after World War Two.”

Bosnian Croat member of B&H Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, said Brussels was conducting a “very, very bad policy” of keeping Bosnia hostage to Serbia’s path. “This once more shows the injustice towards Bosnia,” Komsic said. “European bureaucracy is not led by standards but by pure politics and pure interest.”

The signing in Luxembourg, by EU foreign ministers and Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Jelic, was “a blow to the Bosnian victims and their families who have long awaited justice for the tragedy of Srebrenica,” said Lotte Leicht, EU advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

“We look to EU countries that support justice to refuse to ratify the SAA with Serbia without Mladic’s arrest,” said Leicht. “Failure to do so would mean moving toward EU membership the first country found to be violating the Genocide Convention.”

The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), the first formal step towards EU membership,”was a major carrot to induce Serbia to show its commitment to the rule of law and human rights… The EU has given that away,” she added, in a statement.

The EU’s rushed compromise was bitterly condemned in Bosnia, with media reporting on “Yet another injustice towards Bosnia” and politicians condemning the bloc’s “double standards.”

Belgium and the Netherlands had previously insisted they would not sign the SAA until Mladic was handed over to the UN war crimes court in The Hague. However both countries were persuaded to do so by EU counterparts on the understanding that the key aid and trade pact would not come into force until Serbia cooperates fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Bosnia, and especially its Bosniaks, suffered terribly in the wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia.

ICTY: BOSNIAN SERBS WERE UNDER CONTROL OF BELGRADE

March 5, 2008 8 comments
The Incompetence of Bosnia’s Legal Team Saved Serbia from Conviction on All Counts at the International Court of Justice

Update note, March 10, 2008: Thank you for your comments. I am moving excerpts of Owen’s comment (quoting the Judge Al-Khasawneh) on top:

“The ‘effective control’ test for attribution established in the Nicaragua case is not suitable to questions of State responsibility for international crimes committed with a common purpose. The ‘overall control’ test for attribution established in the Tadić case is more appropriate when the commission of international crimes is the common objective of the controlling State and the non-State actors. The Court’s refusal to infer genocidal intent from a consistent pattern of conduct in Bosnia and Herzegovina is inconsistent with the established jurisprudence of the ICTY. The FRY’s knowledge of the genocide set to unfold in Srebrenica is clearly established. The Court should have treated the Scorpions as a de jure organ of the FRY. The statement by the Serbian Council of Ministers in response to the massacre of Muslim men by the Scorpions amounted to an admission of responsibility. The Court failed to appreciate the definitional complexity of the crime of genocide and to assess the facts before it accordingly.”

Recently, Slobodan Kostic, a Serbian journalist from Belgrade, wrote an excellent article for IWPR titled How Belgrade Escaped Genocide Charge.

The article details some of the steps Serbia took to successfully block the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia from disclosing extremely sensitive transcripts of meetings the Serbian Supreme Defence Council held between 1992 and 1995.

As Slobodan Kostic points out and we agree with him, quote:

“It is widely believed that the transcripts, which record the meetings of top officials, contain evidence of Belgrade’s direct involvement in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s.”

In a case of Bosnia vs Serbia, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found Serbia liable for violating the obligation to prevent genocide, under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in respect of the genocide that occurred in Srebrenica in July 1995. The same Court found Serbia not to be directly liable for Srebrenica genocide and shifted responsibility for the Genocide to the Government of Republika Srpska (Serb-controlled portion of Bosnia-Herzegovina).

PHOTO CAPTION: Photos of the Srebrenica Genocide billboard in Belgrade vandalized with the message threatening a repeat of Srebrenica genocide: ‘There’s going to be a rerun’.

The question remains: If one day victims get their way and Serbia makes sensitive transcripts public, will the authenticity of these transcripts be compromised in the meantime? After all, Serbia had plenty of time to forge whatever documents they wished. What stops Serbia and Republika Srpska from forging military orders so they comply with Geneva Convention?

It is important to note – and most people don’t realize this fact – the Prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal proved an international armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina no less than five times, confirming Serbia’s direct involvement in a full blown international attack on Bosnia-Herzegovina. Here is an excerpt of ICTY judgment confirming Belgrade’s full control over Bosnian Serbs (financial, logistical, and more importantly in direction, coordination and supervision of the activities of the Serb Army, VRS):

Tadic, (Appeals Chamber), July 15, 1999, paras. 156, 162: “It is sufficient to show that [the Yugoslav Army] exercised overall control over the Bosnian Serb Forces. Such control manifested itself not only in financial, logistical and other assistance and support, but also, and more importantly, in terms of participation in the general direction, coordination and supervision of the activities and operations of the VRS [the Army ofthe Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina/Republika Srpska]. This sort of control is sufficient for the purposes of the legal criteria required by international law.” “[F]or the period material to this case (1992), the armed forces of the Republika Srpska were to be regarded as acting under the overall control of and on behalf of the FRY [the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)]. Hence, even after 19 May 1992 the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina between the Bosnian Serbs and the central authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina must be classified as an international armed conflict.” See also Tadic, (Appeals Chamber), July 15, 1999, para. 87. [read more…]

The legal team of Bosnia-Herzegovina had all the tools at their disposal to win the full judgment against Serbia, but what they lacked was wisdom and intelligence to present the case properly. For example, they could more aggressively object courts’ refusal to use the ‘overall control’ test for attribution established in the Tadić case.

Nevertheless, there was Genocide in Bosnia. While ICJ confirmed Srebrenica genocide, another European Court handed down Bosnian genocide judgment. It should be noted that on September 26th 1997, Germany handed down the first Bosnian Genocide conviction to Serb soldier Nikola Jorgic for crimes committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In reviewing the case in the judgement of Nikola Jorgic v. Germany on 12 July 2007 the European Court of Human Rights upheld Bosnian Genocide conviction.

SERBIAN TERRORIST GROUP “MLADA BOSNA” ET AL

February 25, 2008 8 comments
PHOTO: Serbs set an American flag on fire during a mass protest rally against Kosovo’s declaration of independence in Belgrade, Serbia, Feb. 21, 2008.

Serbian Terror Attack on the U.S. Embassy

The attack on and subsequent burning of the U.S. embassy (and other embassies in Belgrade) by masked Serb hooligans is a terrorist act. If, for example, Albanians attacked the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, then the media would call them “terrorists”. But when Serbian terrorists attack and burn down embassies, they are called rioters, mobs, thugs, protesters… In fact, they are not rioters, mobs, thugs, and protesters – they are Serbian terrorists.

A 21 year-old Serbian terrorist, identified by B92 as Zoran Vujovic, who stormed the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade with the help of the group died in the fire.

Vujovic’s charred body was recovered from the embassy and identified by his father, Milan Vujovic, who recognized some of the personal belongings that were recovered, including his son’s gold chain. The DNA analysis later confirmed this.

Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica had said earlier the terrorist attacks on foreign institutions, such as embassies and companies, in Serbia was the result of the diplomatic recognition of the new Kosovar state by the US and many European Union countries.

The biggest Serbian newspaper, Novosti, in an article published on Sunday justified the Serbian terror attacks on the US embassy in Belgrade, quote:

“Nobody has the right to equate the built up anger of the people with hooliganism. The US embassy was set on fire. It was not set on fire by Serb nationalists, as some media have reported, it was set on fire by Americanism and contemporary fascism.”

Serbian terrorist group: bomb attacks

Serbian terrorist organization “Mlada Bosna,” or “Young Bosnia” (same name as Gavrilo Princip’s group that assasinated Archduke Franz Ferninand in Sarajevo and started WWI) recently took responsibility for several bomb attacks, including bomb attack on Mercator mall in Belgrade and EU mission HQ in Mitrovica.

Several newspapers and magazines in Serbia also received e-mails from a group calling itself Mlada Bosna, or Young Bosnia, claiming responsibility for a string of terrorist attacks with hand-grenades since Kosovo’s independence declaration.

The group’s name echoes that of the organization that included the Bosnian Serb terrorist Gavrilo Princip, who in 1914 killed Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, triggering World War I in which over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths.

Amnesty International has voiced concerns about the physical safety of Natasa Kandic – one of most respected human rights activists in Europe and the director of the Belgrade’s Humanitarian Law Center.

An interview with Borko Ilic – vice president of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) – in the daily Kurir, was headlined “Traitor” (referring to Natasa Kandic’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence).

Another article in the daily Vecernje novosti was headlined ‘Natasa Kandic, the woman who does not exist’, implying that as a non-person, her elimination would be without consequences. Other human rights activists also have concerns for their security. Serbian terrorist group “Mlada Bosna” is suspected of being involved in recent anonymous threats against the Serbian human rights activist Natasa Kandic.

Uttering Terrorist Threats Against Kosovo Albanians

Just over a week ago, the head of the Serb Orthodox Church in Kosovo, Bishop Artemije, has denounced the Serbian armed forces for doing nothing and called for a new war, quote:

“Serbia should buy state-of-the-art weapons from Russia and other countries and call on Russia to send volunteers and establish a military presence in Serbia.”

In his latest piece titled “It’s Time for Us to Show our Teeth” published in ultra-nationalist Serbian newspapers “Glas Javnosti”, Serbia’s self-proclaimed “terrorism expert,” discredited Srebrenica genocide denier, and former identity theft criminal Dr Darko Trifunovic (biography) uttered terrorist threats by calling for Kosovo Albanian civilians to be bombed, quote:

“As soon as Pristina declares independence… Belgrade must order tanks to attack Kosovo, including the artillery bombings of the Province until Kosovo is returned under sovereignity of Serbia…”

It All Started in Kosovo

In 1389, in the famous Battle of Kosovo a coalition of armies including Serbs, Albanians, Bosnians and Hungarians, led by the Serbian prince Lazar Hrebljanovic was defeated by the Ottoman Turks, who finally took control of the territory in 1455.

Serbs consider Kosovo their religious and cultural heartland, just as they consider other parts of former Yugoslavia to be “theirs” for various reasons (depending on who you ask). The original inhabitants of Kosovo were not Serbs, but Illyrians – ancestors of today’s Albanians. Depending on who’s counting, Kosovo is 90% to 95% ethnic Albanian.

In 1989, Slobodan Milosevic gave an infamous speech in front of one million galvanized Serbs at the place where Serbs suffered a historic defeat from the Turkish army in 1389. In his speech, he openly threatened war in an open manner with any one of the Yugoslav nations if Serbian domination became endangered, quote:

“Six centuries later, now, we are being again engaged in battles and are facing battles. They are not armed battles, although such things cannot be excluded yet.”

Milosevic’s speech was just one of many attempts by Serbia to exert its domination over other peoples in Former Yugoslavia.

As Lisa Van Dusen of Edmonton Sun explains, quote:

“That day, the final of weeks of 600th anniversary celebrations, Milosevic extolled the importance of Kosovo to the Serbian national psyche, lay the groundwork for stripping Kosovo of its administrative autonomy and hinted darkly at an armed battle to come…. Throughout 1998, Serb police and Yugoslav army forces played a game of ethnic cleansing beat the clock on the ground while Milosevic himself paid lip service to international negotiators, including U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke and Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who were backed up by the threat of NATO airstrikes as early as September 1998. By the time the bombing started in March 1999, hundreds of thousands of Kosovars were already homeless and fleeing to Albania with the clothes on their backs; on foot, by donkey cart, in cars and still being bombed on their way out by Yugoslav war planes.”

In the ensuing battles against the neighbours, Serbia lost four wars in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo. Serbs sought to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of Albanians three times: In the 1911-12 Balkan Wars after they seized it from the Ottoman Empire; in 1945; and in the 1990s. This brutal record, and persecution of Albanian Kosovars in the post-Tito era, invalidates any legitimate claims Serbia has to Kosovo.

Under the leadership of Slobodan Milosevic, Serbs became international pariahs intoxicated them with Nazi-style bogus historical mythology, primitive nationalism, and anti-Muslim racism. According to Eric Margolis of Edmonton Sun, quote:

“In 1999, while Europe watched impotently, Milosevic’s forces killed 13,000 Kosovar Albanians, blew up mosques, gang-raped Muslim women, burned Albanian villages and drove one million Albanian Kosovars into frigid winter fields where they would have died of exposure without outside help. The U.S. saved the Kosovars by launching a short air war on the Serbs. Outraged Serbs claimed they were victims of an American-German conspiracy. Kosovo was their historical medieval heartland, they insisted. Serbia’s very soul. But by 2008, Kosovo’s population was two million Albanians and only 60,000-80,000 Serbs and gypsies, mostly in the Mitrovica enclave. About 100,000 more Kosovo Serbs had moved to Serbia.”

It All Ended in Kosovo

Kosovo has been a centuries-long inspiration for radical Serbian nationalism, Serbian Orthodox Christian religious extremism, and irrational anti-Muslim fanaticism. The loss of Kosovo represents a major blow to the Serbian propaganda and psychology of self-inflicted victimhood of mythical proportions.

Kosovo joins five former republics that have withdrawn from Belgrade’s reign since 1991. The secession of the province, which is 90 per cent ethnic Albanian, marks the latest and the final chapter in the bloody dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. What follows is a lasting peace and prosperity for all, but most importantly for Albanians who suffered greatly under the Serbian terrorist dictatorship.

Kosovo will never be part of Serbia, again.