The alliance between Israel and the HDZ proves that Zionist Anti-Semitism is as strong as ever
To those who are unaware of the history of Zionism, it might seem strange that Israel, a ‘Jewish state’, should support a Croatian political party that sees itself as the political heir to the Ustaše. The Ustaše exterminated 3 out of 4 Croatian Jews between 1941 and 1945.
In fact there is nothing at all strange about Israel supporting anti-Semitic regimes. It did precisely this in Argentina between 1976-83 when up to 3,000 Jews were tortured to death. It preferred to sell the Junta hundreds of millions of dollars of weaponry.
Zionism has always seen anti-Semitism as the natural and justified reaction of non-Jews to the Jewish presence in their midst. As Jacob Klatzkin, Editor of Die Welt wrote:
If we do not admit the rightfulness of anti-Semitism we deny the rightfulness of our own nationalism… Instead of establishing societies for defence against the anti-Semites who want to reduce our rights, we should establish societies for defence against our friends, who desire to defend our rights.
The founder of Political Zionism, Theodor Herzl wrote in his Diaries that:
‘the anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.’
The roots of the Ustaše’s ideology were in the Croatian nationalism of the nineteenth century as pioneered by Ante Starčević. The Ustaše emphasised the need for a‘racially pure’ Croatia.
From 1941-45 the Ustaše, led by Ante Pavelić, ruled the Independent State of Croatia, (NDH) a Nazi puppet state. It had the distinction of being the only German ally to establish its own extermination camp, Jasenovac.
Between 300,000 and 750,000 Serbs, 30,000 Roma and 30,000 Jews were exterminated. The method of killing was not with gas or shootings but by beating, drowning, beheading and torture.
Things were so bad that even the Nazis were revolted. An attaché for the Gestapo wrote to SS leader Himmler:
“The Ustaše committed their deeds in a bestial manner not only against males of conscript age, but especially against helpless old people, women, and children. The number of the Orthodox that the Croats have massacred and sadistically tortured to death is about three hundred thousand.”
The official policy was popularly expressed as:
‘Kill one-third of the Serbs, convert another third to Roman Catholicism, and expel the remaining third from Croatia.’
In 2013 Croatia joined the European Union. As James Bissett, a former Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia wrote, Croatia should have apologised for the Croatian Holocaust before being allowed to join. Germany however, which today has the pro-Zionist neo-Nazi AfD in the Bundestag whilst simultaneously outlawing BDS and pro-Palestinian protests, forced through the accession.
In the Spring of 1990, in the wake of the break-up of Yugoslavia elections were held in the Republics. In Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) triumphed. Following these elections several HDZ officials including President Tuđman, who founded the HDZ in 1989, began engaging in a systematic rehabilitation of the Ustaše regime. Up till the present day HDZ officials go to Bleiburg to commemorate the massacre of Ustaše members in 1945.
Since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, in December 1995, Bosnia has had a political structure divided along ethnic lines.
In the landmark Sejdic and Finci case in 2009, the European Court of Human Rights found Bosnia’s constitution to be discriminatory towards its citizens and ordered a civic constitution to be adopted with equal rights for all ethnicities. This has not been done.
Jakob Finci, a Bosnian Jew, and Dervo Sejdic, a Bosnian Roma, addressed the court in Strasbourg, France after they were blocked from running in the elections as their ethnicity did not belong to any of the three “constituent peoples” – Bosniak, Croat or Serb.
The law disenfranchised at least 17 national minority groups who are ineligible to stand for Bosnia’s tripartite presidency or the House of Peoples. In addition to the Jewish community, the arrangement also cut out Bosnia’s Roma population — its largest minority, numbering nearly 60,000 — from being able to stand for election.
“Bosnian politicians still have not ended second-class status for Jews, Roma, and other minorities a decade after the European Court of Human Rights found that the Bosnian constitution violates their rights,”
Human Rights Watch said in a 2019 statement.
“If we, the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina now, are not united by Schmidt, by his imposition of a racist Election Law, in the fight against fascism and racism, no one else will,”
Seijdic wrote on his Facebook page.
Finci, the President of Bosnia’s Jewish community, described how he was “astonished” by a leaked Israeli memo endorsing the proposed new law. He wrote that:
“This was the first time that Israel is taking a position in internal Bosnia affairs, not helping the Jewish Community, or at the request of Jewish Community, but one political party in the country.”
Noah Gendler, Israeli Ambassador to Albania and Bosnia wrote claiming that “the rights of the Jewish community in the country are being misused to block essential internal processes in [Bosnia]”
And what were these ‘essential internal processes’? A law which will result in Jews, Roma and up to 400,000 other inhabitants of Bosnia being unable to stand for election. Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic, who has Jewish origins, issued a statement that
“It is hard to fathom how the official policy of the State of Israel could be to welcome the discrimination of Jews in not being able to hold office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
Turkovic, like many diaspora Jews, did not understand that Israel’s only interest in them is as potential immigrants or as pliant political pawns like the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Turkovic’s condemnation sparked anger among anti-Semites, with Deputy Foreign Minister Josip Brkić stating:
“Today, during my phone call with Israeli Ambassador H. E. Mr. Noah Gal Gendler, I conveyed that the demarche sent to @IsraelinAlbania is not the official position of State of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the particular view of one political party,”
The memo was issued in response to the electoral plan promoted by Christian Schmidt, the Office of the High Representative, an EU-supported institution created after the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The OHR can overrule government decisions. The Times of Israel compared Schmidt’s powers to those of a ‘colonial governor or a medieval viceroy.’ Schmidt is a worthy successor to the Nazi governors of occupied Europe.
The plan is supported by Croat and Serb nationalists and opposed by the current government in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia’s current political system is based on a power-sharing agreement among its three major ethnic groups: Muslim Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats, an arrangement that is believed to have excluded more than 100,000 citizens from top level political representation.
The OHR’s proposed change would simply consolidate the power of ethno-nationalist parties. The Israeli embassy spoke of
“the readiness and proposals of the Croat side, as demonstrated throughout negotiations on changes to the electoral legislation, [are] welcomed.”
Well not by Bosnia’s Jews! What Israel really means is that it welcomes the creation of a far-Right ethno-nationalist state like itself, even if that disadvantages Jews. But why should Israel object? Is not the purpose of Israel to ‘ingather the exiles’? If that means helping anti-Semites to push them out then that is a price worth paying.
In response to Turkovic’s statement Israel’s foreign ministry issued the following Kafkaesque statement. Israel was supporting the ‘preservation of their rights.’ Orwellian!
“The Israeli embassy in Tirana, which is also responsible for Bosnia and Herzegovina, issued a document [on Monday] in which it expresses the support [for] the preservation of the rights of the Jewish community in the country.”
The real reason for Israel’s support for nationalist politicians Milorad Dodik of the Serb community and Dragan Covic, the head of the Croatian Democratic Union party was made clear in their memo – they both support the IHRA ‘definition of anti-Semitism’ which redefines anti-Semitism as hostility to Zionism and Israel. It has nothing to do with hatred of Jews. Dodic is described in the article as ‘a vocal supporter of Israel’ who also denies the 1995 Srebrenica genocide in which Bosnian-Serb forces killed over 8,000 Bosnian-Muslim men and boys.
Former Bosnian Energy Minister Reuf Bajrovic described Israel as ‘siding with people who want Bosnia gone, far-right genocide deniers.” Israel is in effect allying with holocaust deniers.
With the support of the Christian Schmidt, who is trying to finish what the Nazis began, Israel is actively helping the heirs to the Ustaše who all but wiped out Croatia’s Jews. This is Zionism.
Below is an article by Jena Delich who is a Bosnian pro-democracy and anti-fascist activist and also a retired British lecturer.
For further reading about the topic of this blog go to:
Croatian High representative, Christian Schmidt, intends on imposing discriminatory and anti-Semitic election laws in Bosnia, backed by Israel
High Representative, Christian Schmidt, whose role is to oversee the implementation of the civic part of the Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is planning on imposing new election laws on the Bosnian entity, which is an administrative part of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the request of Croatia. The new election laws are seen by the vast majority of Bosnian citizens to be discriminatory, anti-Semitic and even fascist.
After the 1992-95 war in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (i.e. the aggression by Serbia and Croatia) was brought to an end by the Dayton Peace Accords, the country was internally organised into two administrative units. The role of the High Representative was established in Annex 10 of Dayton Peace Accords.
Since the war ended, there has been a succession of High Representatives appointed from the EU by the Peace Implementation Council (PIC).
The present High Representative is Christian Schmidt, a German politician and former Minister of Agriculture in Germany. He is also a member of the Christian Social Union, a deeply conservative party in Bavaria which is allied to the Christian Democrats. It was a party that many ex-Nazis joined after defeat in the second world war.
While there was a heavy ‘push’ by Germany to have him appointed as High Representative, the Bosnian diaspora in the U.S. firmly opposed it, expressing their grave concerns to the U.S. administration in their letter of 22nd February 2021 to the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken.(1)
In their letter they stated that
by seeking to appease the forces of segregation and secessionists in BiH – and their benefactors in Zagreb, Belgrade, and Moscow – Schmidt will only distance the country from its rightful place within the community of Western democracies.
They went on to say that
It is also alarming that Schmidt’s political party – the Christian Social Union (CSU) – is a very vocal supporter of the Croatian HDZ, a far right party with a large anti-Semitic base in Croatia and BiH. In fact, Schmidt received the Order of Ante Starcevic by the HDZ, an award that was also given to individuals that were accused and convicted of war crimes. (1)
Christian Schmidt was awarded the Order of Ante Starcevic in 2020, by the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković. (2) The same order of Ante Starcevic was also awarded to the convicted war criminals Dario Kordic and Jadranko Prlic.(2a)
Ante Starcevic was a Croatian nationalist politician whose ideology included the creation of Greater Croatia. “Most right-wing parties in Croatia claim his politics as their legacy.”(3)
It was Croatian right-wing politics in WWII that led to the Ustasha movement being founded which saw 30,000 Jews imprisoned and massacred by the Ustashas in Croatia, in concentration camps like Jasenovac, Stara Gradiška, Lepoglava, to mention just a few.
The legacy of the same politics was pursued by Croatia and its ruling (far right) nationalist party HDZ during its war on the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina which has been ruled as ‘joint criminal enterprise’ by the International Crimes Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, also confirming that the President of Croatia, Franjo Tudjman was leading the ‘joint criminal enterprise’.
The ICTY’s ruling of 29th November 2017 also read:
“The Appeals Chamber upheld the Trial Chamber’s findings that key members of Croatia’s then-leadership, including President Franjo Tuđman, Defence Minister Gojko Šušak, and Janko Bobetko, a senior General in the Croatian Army, shared the criminal purpose to ethnically cleanse Bosnian Muslims and contributed to realizing that goal.” (3a)
A number of Bosnian Croat politicians and military leaders have been sentenced for war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, running of concentration camps such as Dretelj, Gabela, Heliodrom, to name just a few, where they imprisoned Bosniak civilians, torturing, and killing many of them.(4)(5)(6)
The legacy of that politics is alive and present in the official politics of present day Croatia which is trying to impose election laws on part of Bosnia and Herzegovina via High Representative, Christian Schmidt. The election laws can easily be seen as being both fascist and antisemitic in that they discriminate against Jews, Romas and others who do not fall within one of the three ethnic groups (Croats, Serbs or Bosniaks), by depriving them of any rights to run for High office!
The final and ultimate aim of such an election law is for Croatia to carve up Bosnia and Herzegovina and create ‘Greater Croatia’ by joining the part of Bosnia they occupied by force between 1993 and 1995.
The election law that Christian Schmidt wants to impose is also contrary to four verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights, one of which is the verdict on Mr. Jakob Finci, a Bosnian Jew, and Mr. Dervo Sejdic, a Bosnian Roma.(6a)(6b)
All the rulings found the existing election law to be discriminatory as explained in an article by Baroness Arminka Helic of 01.08.22. (7)
None of the verdicts have been implemented up till now. (8)(9)
Implementing those verdicts would mean equality in the law for all. Sadly, High Representative Christian Schmidt doesn’t seem concerned with implementing those ECHR verdicts. Nor does he seem to be concerned with changing the election laws in Bosnia’s entity of ‘Relublika srpska’ either where only a Serb can run and be elected as a member of the Bosnian Presidency, where apartheid is the best way to describe the place where the remaining non-Serbs (including Jews, Romas and others) live, where all children are taught in schools that war criminals are heroes and the history that is based on lies and fabrications, where the maternal tongue of others is banned – the dark list of similar horrors could go on and on!
The new election laws Christian Schmidt seems to want to impose on the Bosnian entity of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is seeking to further widen and cement the ethnic divide, and ‘may cement a de facto ban on Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Jews holding high office’. (8)
Such election laws would weigh local demographics in elections, which would benefit only ethno-nationalists in further consolidating their power. (9)
Such an election law is being backed by the US and UK!(7) Knowingly or not, they seem to have chosen to be on the wrong side of history. But, I’d say we definitely must be concerned with such a choice and the consequences it would have on people affected by such discriminatory and anti-Semitic election laws.
Apart from the US and UK, Israel has given its support to election laws that would discriminate Jews! The Israeli embassy in Tirana, covering Bosnia and Herzegovina as well, issued a Memo ‘welcoming’ such discriminatory (and anti-Semitic) election laws, as reported in all Bosnian media on 8th August 2022.The Israeli embassy Memo was also reported in the Israel’s media such as Haaretz of 10th August 2022, and the Times of Israel on 13th August 2022. (10)(11)
The Memo of support to the introduction of such election laws issued by the Israeli embassy in Tirana was met with official reactions in Bosnia and Herzegovina condemning such an action on part of Israel.
Thus, Bosnian Foreign Minister, Mrs. Bisera Turkovic, a Bosniak of Jewish descent, expressed her disbelief in her interview given to the Haaretz and reported in the JTA:
“It is hard to fathom how the official policy of the State of Israel could be to welcome the discrimination of Jews in not being able to hold office in Bosnia and Herzegovina,”
According to Haaretz. “The proposed electoral legislation would cement the current discriminatory system towards minorities in Bosnia.”(11)
The Head of the Bosnian Jewish community, Mr. Jakob Finci, also expressed his disbelief at the support given by Israel to the election laws that High representative Schmidt intends on imposing on Bosnia at the request of Croatia, stating that those would ‘minimise the political influence of Jews and other minorities’. (9)
Criticising Israel, Mr. Finci accused the Israeli embassy in Tirana of ‘acting in support of a local ethnic Croat political party’. Finci stated that
‘this was the first time that Israel is taking a position in internal Bosnia affairs, not helping the Jewish community, or at the request of Jewish community, but one political party in the country’.(9)
The ‘political party’ that Jakob Finci referred to in his statement is the Croatian HDZ in Bosnia – ‘a far right party with a large anti-Semitic base in Croatia and BiH’ as per the letter of the Bosnian diaspora of 22nd February 2021. (1)
In their response to Mr. Finci the Foreign Ministry of Israel stated they had ‘no interest in responding to his words’!(9)
Putting it politely, ‘we heard you but we shall still continue to do as we please’!
Should we too, be left in disbelief at the State of Israel welcoming election laws that discriminate against Jews, which High Representative Christian Schmidt, a former German diplomat and politician, seems to want to impose on Bosnia at the request of Croatia?
Shouldn’t they instead be screaming ‘anti-Semitism’ at the very mention of a possibility of imposing such election laws in Bosnia? Shouldn’t they be protesting to the US and UK for supporting Christian Schmidt in his intention to impose such laws?!
I shall leave it to the readers to ponder over those questions, and would finish by quoting a tweet from Jews Sans Frontiers of 11th August 2022 commenting on the interview given by Jakob Finci:
“Bosnian Jewish community leader protests Israel’s support for ethnonationalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. New electoral law excludes Jews and Roma with Israel’s support. I don’t know why a knowledgeable Jewish leader would be surprised at this.” (12)
What can we do? Write to our governments and MPs or members of Congress in the UK, US and Israel, to protest and demand that they stop supporting High Representative, Christian Schmidt in his intention to impose such discriminatory and anti-Semitic election laws in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If you can, please do.
(1) Bosnian American Diaspora Opposes German Push for New High Representative – Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina
(2) Berlinski Magazin – Premijer Plenković U Berlinu uručio odličje Red Ante Starčevića, Christianu Schmidtu njemačkom zastupniku.
(6) What do Heliodrom camp, Milivoj Petković and Dretelj…