I got the following quote via a 2009 email from Doris Wise Montrose, president of the Los Angeles chapter of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, linking to a related J-Post article.
“In those days before the [second world] war,” Chaim Weizmann said in recalling international vexation with the Jews, “our protests were regarded as provocations. Our very refusal to subscribe to our own death sentence became a public nuisance.”
Among the propaganda techniques used for years to destroy any public sympathy in the West for the Serbian people is the persistent negative characterization of Serbian culture, national myth and mentality as uniquely peculiar, marked by a strange delusion of being “victims”. This technique of pre-emptive denigration prepares the public to dismiss such facts as Serbia’s extraordinary loss of population in World War I, the authentic genocide practiced against the Serbs by the fascist Croatian Ustashe during World War II and periodic Albanian efforts to push Serbs out of Kosovo as mere manifestations of a national mental illness. If a person or group is earmarked for victimization, what better way to head off foreseeable sympathy than by proclaiming loud and long that the individual or group always complains of being “victimized”. In this way, ears will be deafened to their cries and hearts hardened to their fate.
Anti-Semitic propaganda portrayed Jews as self-pitying whiners as the Nazis rounded them up for the gas chambers.
The NATO line was to justify destroying Yugoslavia by comparing it to Nazi Germany and Milosevic to Hitler. In a Memorial Day address, Clinton claimed that Milosevic’s government “like that of Nazi Germany rose to power in part by getting people to look down on people of a given race and ethnicity, and to believe they had… no right to live”.
Meanwhile, the work went on of making people look down on Serbs and even to question whether Serbs had the right to live.
The Johnstone article this was excerpted from appears to have been written in 1999, but it leaves the reader even more breathless today.
Its opening sentence was this:
As the Serbian people began to be bombed by NATO, the Serbian people began to deserve it. The more they were bombed, the more they deserved it.
That anti-Semitism has grown in direct proportion to Palestinian violence against Israel; that it has systematically ignored this violence in order to concentrate exclusively on the evils of Israeli retaliation; that it has gotten worse even as the world has applauded, or passively accepted, an American attack in Afghanistan, many times more destructive of innocent lives than any Israeli reprisal, on terror groups closely allied with Israel’s enemies — this defies all rationalization. It can open the eyes even of sleepers.
One must not give an inch on this point. The new anti-Israelism is nothing but the old anti-Semitism in disguise.
– Hillel Halkin, February 2002, “21ST-CENTURY HATE: The Return of Anti-Semitism, To be against Israel is to be against the Jews,” Commentary magazine
[Disclaimer: Yes, I’m aware that Johnstone isn’t exactly pro-Israel and may disagree with some of my Israel/Serbia analogies. Then again, the Commentary crowd hates Serbs and sees no Israel/Serbia parallels. Such is the human condition and it sucks.]
It is a common, and accurate, assessment that underlying Europe’s enthusiastic and frequent condemnations of Israel is ongoing guilt for the Holocaust. Europeans engage in projection, and thereby self-absolution, for if the Jewish State can be seen as engaging in “discrimination”, “apartheid”, and even “genocide” of Palestinians, then Europe can feel less guilty for what it did to the Jews.
And so, to this list of Jew-Serb parallels, I must add the closing paragraphs of Johnstone’s 1999 article about Yugoslavia:
The European Union is in need of a common identity more spiritual than a common currency. These days it can’t be religion; Christianity is not only out of style, despite the Pope as Superstar, it is politically incorrect to identify Europe with Christendom, since this would risk implying exclusion of other religions. Both anti-communism and anti-fascist are out of date. What is left? Human rights.
Europe needs a moral identity. The perfect formula, especially for France which is proud of having invented the Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme, is human rights — especially human rights as a creed that transcends national boundaries and justifies the abandonment of long-cherished national sovereignty required by the European Union’s treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam.
In 1994, a number of European intellectuals, mostly French, organized meetings and even an ephemeral electoral list around the slogan, “Europe lives or dies at Sarajevo”. This was in fact extravagant hyperbole. But it caught the need to associate “Europe” with a dramatic cause, equal to the Spanish Civil War, and the intellectuals feeling this need grasped onto a totally idealized “Bosnia” as the symbol of this “Europe” that, rather than an economic powerhouse technocratically organized to take its place alongside the United States in world domination, was actually a tender bud of multi-ethnic civilization in danger of being trampled to death by a new Hitler.
Yugoslavia was the first crisis to be poured whole into the mould of the ideological myth of World War II. Milosevic became “Hitler”, the Serbs became the new “Nazis”, and their adversaries were all victims of a potential new “Holocaust”. The eagerness with which European intellectuals believed the “unbelievable”, exclaiming “we thought it couldn’t happen here” without taking the trouble to find out whether in fact “it” was, or perhaps wasn’t, happening here, perhaps merits the term Schadenfreude. There was a sort of pleasure in the damage, and the pleasure was that of discovering our collective identity as “the West”.
If they are guilty, we are innocent.
They, of course, are the terrible Serbs, guilty of everything the Germans used to be guilty of under Hitler. But now, the Germans are innocent and on the side of the angels, as well as the common currency. Nazism has been replaced as the evil that Europe, and Germany, must eliminate.
We, on the other hand, we are (on the West end of the Atlantic) America, the New World Order, the one last best hope of mankind and so on; or, on the East side of the Atlantic, the new Europe of the European Union, the exact opposite of the Old Europe of wars between nation-states, that wicked Europe whose surviving (but not for long) remnant is Serbian Yugoslavia.
This is a ritual for anthropologists to describe. Myth is built on history and transformed into a ceremony whose roles must be assumed by succeeding players on the stage of history. Finally, the scapegoat. Yugoslavia bears all the sins of Europe’s past, it represents everything Europe is not, or does not want to be. It must be destroyed. After the bombs, an embargo. Ostracism, further destruction, until nothing is left.
In Serbia, thoughtful people are struggling with the question: what can we do?
Even if Milosevic miraculously resigned tomorrow, there could be no certainty that his successor might not quickly be hailed by Western media as Hitler’s latest clone. The job would be made easier by establishment career moralists such as [author Daniel] Goldhagen ready to expound on the “moral abyss” into which the Serbian people are plunged, unable to extricate themselves without being “placed in receivership”, that is, under a NATO protectorate. And the destruction could go on until conditions are ripe for the required national lobotomy of the miscreant people.
Indeed, the post-Milosevic president Vojislav Kostunica was eventually designated by the State Department (and therefore by the Wall St. Journal) as Milosevic Incarnate, threatening to bring back the “dark days of the Milosevic era.” All because he did everything we demanded but hand over Serbian territory to organ-trafficking terrorists. And, as we can see from today’s more cooperative Serbian leaders and their subdued, compliant populace, the national lobotomy is long complete.
Re-reading a piece from February 2008, written by Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (also a doctor who treats Arabic and Jewish patients equally), I am compelled to quote the following, relevant part of his article:
Islamic proliferation in Europe took in a new country this week. The Moslem minority in Serbia in the Kosovo region bordering the Islamic state of Albania declared its independence…The flag of Kosovo is that of Islamic proliferation and a source of serious anxiety to Europe. Those European countries recognizing Kosovo are doing so under economic pressure from oil-rich Arab countries, the markets of Islamic countries, and internal pressure by millions of Moslem voters in Europe.
…Only someone who doesn’t understand what the Moslems in Europe want can think that the establishment of an independent Kosovo will resolve the conflict in the Balkans. If Israel joins in recognizing Kosovo, there will be no political, legal, or moral claim it can make to oppose establishing an Arab state in the Galilee and Northern Negev. For what is the difference? An ethnic minority with territorial contiguity to neighboring enemy states demands, following a bloody war, to tear pieces from a sovereign country, and proclaim its independence.…And we cannot forget that Arabs and the haters of Israel in Europe portray Israel in colors no less cruel than those used to portray the Serbs, and accusations of genocide are thrown at us just as they were thrown at them. When the day comes when the Arabs in the Galilee declare independence, Israel will have no way to oppose it, assuming it today recognizes a country formed on exactly the same basis.
I have heard commentators explaining that neither we nor Europe should fear Kosovo because the Kosovians are “moderate Moslems.” It was from these moderate Moslems that Haj Amin el-Husseini gathered tens of thousands of volunteers for the 13th SS Division (”Handschar”) and 21st SS Division (”Skanderbeg”). On them he built his dream of marching with Hitler’s armies into Palestine and destroying the Jews of Eretz Israel. Today Israel, together with its European partners, must present a solid front to stop the spread of Islam in Europe, for as long as the Moslem strength there increases, the tendency of European countries to prefer the Arabs over Israel will also increase.
In contrast, look at just one parallel between the Albanian and Palestinian approach. The following is an excerpt from a book by a Chicago professor who wrote the embarrassing college musical “You Took Away My Flag”, or as I call it “Shoot a Serb: The Musical!“:
As early as 1986, Gok Martini was buying advertisements in the Detroit Free Press announcing that “Albanians are living under a state of inhuman terror,” and appealing to the U.S. government to “help our brothers and sisters who are living through a modern day Holocaust.”
The KLA and others within the Kosovar Albanian community, certainly including Rugova and the LDK, were tireless in their efforts to communicate a simple message to the outside world: Milosevic is running an oppressive police state in Kosovo; we are struggling against overwhelming odds for basic human rights. Each KLA communique contained language emphasizing that its activities were aimed at expelling occupiers and did not constitute a conflict of a terrorist, inter-ethnic, or religious character.
[”Leader” Florin Krasniq] emphasized the need to be open to journalists…“We can win this war with TV cameras; we cannot win it with battles.”
And regarding those “humiliating” Israeli/Serbian checkpoints which encumber the pursuit of Palestinian/Albanian livelihoods:
Xhevet helped Adrian smuggle weapons into Kosovo by building a secret compartment underneath the flatbed of his dump truck, which he would load with wet sand. When he came upon Serb police checkpoints, he would say that he had taken the sand from the river to make cement.
Xhevdet Krasniqi inspecting bullets for the KLA’s .50-caliber American sniper rifles; photo courtesy of Florin Krasniqi
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