FROM ACCUSATIONS TO APOLOGIES

By William Markiewicz

Anti-Semitism in Serbia and Abroad | 20:18 April 28 | B92 
 
NOVI SAD -- Wednesday - The message, ANEM = B92 = the Star of David,
Was scrolled on the gate of a high school in the center of Novi Sad.
This incident of vandalism points to a rise of the fascist movement
in Serbia says Adam Tibor, president of the commission for documenting
occurrences of anti-Semitism. 

Like Iraq now, five years ago Yugoslavia was attacked by the world for non-existent reasons. Saddam was a dictator; nobody's business. Other dictators are coddled. Milosevic, contrary to Saddam, was democratically elected, a strong man but not a dictator. It didn't stop world media from creating a dictator image for him, even a bloody one! Milosevic wasn't opposed to the division of Yugoslavia; he only wanted it done legally and peacefully as in the ex-Soviet empire or in Czechoslovakia. This "privilege" was refused to Yugoslavia; instead came the order: "Separate or war!" Somebody wanted this war at any cost. Yugoslavia, after many humiliating concessions, couldn't accept the ultimatum of occupation (!) and we know the rest. Now, the Serbs to the end of time must carry the stigma of responsibility for a war and crimes they allegedly were the only ones to commit. The Serbs, traditionally rural folk from pristine hills, knew how to die in battles of the brave but not how to live covered with slime. They attempt a dialogue but their arguments seem innocent and pathetic to the mostly corrupted world. Do the Serbs hate the rest of the world? They should, and it's not a Serb who says it. The Serbs have reasons to hate Americans and Europeans who launched the aggression with forever destructive sequels. The Serbs were never anti-Semites; they are, or rather were, a very particular breed. Because of their isolation, they lived in their microcosmos with only one visible enemy -- the Turks. With their nostalgia for the outside world they were ready to be friends with everybody else. After 500 years of oppression they cherished their freedom. They resisted the Nazis more than most other nations and they would never as a group give a Jew to the Nazis. The sacrifice and martyrdom of the Serbs are well documented.

The PR agency Ruder Finn that started the general anti-Serb campaign considered the Jews a major asset for its success (read: Golem (Serbs and Jews). The anti-Serbian hysteria started with Jewish mega-demonstrations in New York. The Serbs, who have good reason to hate everybody -- can it be called anti-Semitism if they include the Jews? To accuse them of this is to poke somebody deeply immersed in a swamp. If the Serbs talk to their children about the Jews, it will not be about "world conspiracy," "race," "money control" etc., but about what the Jews have done to the Serbs. The only way for the Jews to reconcile with the Serbs is to try to repair some of the damage. How can it be done? By starting new demonstrations in the opposite direction. I would like to see marching Jews, recognizing their error of judgement and asking Serbs for forgiveness. Which Jewish organization should take the initiative? Certainly not those responsible for the previous infamous ones. I believe that the Jewish religious organizations, not known for their public activities, should carry the baton. One of my acquaintances who wanted to convert to Judaism told me that the Conservative Jews were the most humane, kind and understanding. In one way or another, the initiative of reconciliation must come from the Jews and it cannot be something cosmetic like an expression of "good will" and similar baloney.

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