Last week the Northern California Jewish Bulletin published an op-ed piece by one Brad Blitz which made outrageous charges against the Serbian people. I and other Jews see this as a campaign, vigorously persued since the early 90's, and unfortunately supported by powerful Jewish leaders, to turn Jews against the Serbs, historically our ally. Below is my reply to Mr. Blitz, followed by his op-ed article.

Northern California Jewish Bulletin
225 Bush Street, Suite 1480
San Francisco, CA 94104-4201 ]
tel:415 263-7200 fax:415 263-7223 email:

To the editor:
As a Jew and a progressive (i.e., I'm on the left) I
reject Brad Blitz's mix of innuendo and misinformation
(Unveiling connections between Sacramento, Kosovo,
July 9, 1999) aimed at smearing Serbs as Fascists. Blitz
simultaneously suggests and denies he is suggesting
that Serbs caused the racist bombing of California
synagogues. The whole editorial reminds me of --

To justify NATO's nine year policy of dismembering
Yugoslavia and its 78 day obliteration of places of worship,
schools, factories, markets and other civilian facilities as
well as the use of antipersonnel weapons (cluster bombs),
openly justified as an attempt to pressure (terrorize) the
Serbs into submission, and to obscure the current
wholesale assault on multiethnic life in Kosovo, the press
has engaged in massive Serbophobia. Lying through use
of rumors, unconfirmed reports, evidence deemed reliable
by NATO, ludicrously illogical conclusions, suppression
of counter evidence, the uncritical reporting of
NATO-instigated fabrications and the silencing of
critical opposition views, the media remakes the
Serbian people: Fascists.

Blitz says Serbia have "renounced [ethnic]
inclusion]...and crushed minorities." Nonsense.
Serbia's pride is its 26 national groups with schools
and media in their own languages, funded by the
government. Nine languages are mandatory in Court
proceedings. It is Albanian secessionist organizers
who enforced an Albanian boycott of schools, hospitals,
courts, etc., in their language during the '90s.

"Serbia has never had only Serbs living in it.
Today, more than in the past, members of other
peoples and nationalities also live in it. This is
not a disadvantage for Serbia. I am truly convinced
that it is its advantage."

That's a quote from the 1989 Kosovo Field speech by
Milosevic The speech has been misrepresented along
with everything else about the Serbian government as
chauvinist. Milosevic goes on to warn that nationalism
is being promoted by outside Powers to destroy Serbia
and Yugoslavia. When the bombing began, the Serbian
parliament increased the penalties for hate crimes.
(You can read the whole speech at
The Emperors Clothes, )

The KLA is rooted in a long-standing racist, secessionist
movement. As far back as 1982, the NY Times described
the secessionist program as:

"first to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic [in Kosovo] and then the merger with Albania to form a greater Albania. "(NY Times July 12, 1982.)

Alas, the pro-Nazi Kosovo Albanian organizations in
W.W.II were mass-based; these men (women are
largely excluded from leadership among the secessionists)
and their sons formed the secessionist movement when
the Partisans drove them from power at the end of W.W.II
and they first "popularized" the term "ethnic
cleansing" to describe what they wanted in Kosovo. Now,
while NATO troops watch "helplessly" the
KLA expresses its program in action, murderously purging
Kosovo of Serbs, Roma ("Gypsies"), Gorani
(Slavic Muslims), Turks, and especially ethnic
Albanians who support multiethnic Serbia. All
documented. The secessionists' "greater Albania" existed
only under Fascist & Nazi rule, during W.W.II, when their
forbears' regime slaughtered and evicted Serbs, Jews,
Roma, leftists, etc. This Greater (?) Albania is being
recreated under NATO protection today.

An NBC news correspondent reported, with bizarre

PRIZREN, Yugoslavia, June 18 —  
I was at dinner with a kind Kosovo Muslim family the other night when talk turned to the German NATO troops that rolled into town to make the city the headquarters of its peacekeeping district. The patriarch of the family, a man old enough to remember the last time German troops rolled into Prizren, said they all felt safe now. "The German soldiers are excellent," he said. Then he added, "I should know, I used to be one." Then he raised his arm in a Nazi salute and said, "Heil," and laughed merrily.
(end NBC story)

Blitz dismisses as right wing propaganda the KLA's
link to Islamic Fundamentalism and the heroin trade.
It's actually worse. As Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
(a socialist economist) has shown, the KLA is a CIA
creation from gangster material, much like the contras,
but meaner. (Chossudovsky's KLA: Grim Origins can be
read at The Emperors Clothes )

Yugoslav Jews are virtually unanimous in condemning
our media's "unrestrained anti-Serbian propaganda,
raging during all this war, following the Nazi model, but
much more efficient means and in a much more
sophisticated and more expensive way." (See letter from
Danon Cadik, Chief Rabbi of Yugoslavia, at
The Emperors Clothes )

The Serbs, who lost 750,000 to Holocaust extermination
camps because they refused to help Hitler round up the
Jews during W.W.II are justifiably appalled that some
Jewish organizations have helped demonize them.
Amazingly, this has not yet produced widespread
anti-Semitism. When I spoke at a protest rally in
Washington, April 24, to a crowd including perhaps
10,000 Serbian Americans, I began my speech by saying:
"I am a Jew." What I can only describe as a roar of
welcome sprang from 10,000 throats. I condemned the
war and the avalanche of anti-Serb lies in the press.
After the speech I was thanked by literally hundreds of
people. Many told me how their families had hidden
Jews from the Nazi's how they had been taught
that Serbs And Jews are brothers. My writings attacking
the Protocols Of Zion are universally approved by Serbs.
These people are anti-Semites? Right, and I'm the Easter

The Chief Rabbi of Yugoslavia said: "Even American
Jews were not able to withstand this propagandistic
poison, although they were especially expected to resist.
Unfortunately, they did not recognize the Nazi and
racist nature of the Serbophobic dogma. They did not
identify Serbophobia as a twin sister of anti-Semitism,
this being not unknown in the United States."

Mr. Blitz' notion that neo-Nazi's are pro-Serbian
is nonsense. There have been several groups
of non-Army foreigners fighting in the Balkans.
The documented evidence: Israeli's, Russians and
Bulgarians have fought on the Serbian side in Kosovo.
German neo-Nazi's and Islamic Fundamentalists
(including bin Laden's boys) have helped the Bosnian
Fundamentalist government and the KLA. As for
Internet posturing, please Mr. Blitz. You can find
all parts of the political spectrum on both sides on
the Kosovo Issue on the Web.

One of the monuments NATO bombed consisted
of a line of Orthodox crosses met by a line of Stars of
David in a park near the spot where the Nazi's forced 3000
Jews and Serbs onto the Danube ice, then broke the ice.
Jews and Serbs died in one another's arms. Until the
monument was destroyed by NATO bombing (was it
US or German planes?) it was common to see Serbs
sitting at this spot and weeping. And indeed, there is
much about which to weep.

Mr. Blitz is totally misinformed, or he is an awful liar.
Would he care to debate? Any time, any place.

Respectfully yours,
Jared Israel

( or more statements and analyses by Jewish writers rejecting
the demonization of Serbs see
Jews Speak out On Serbia in Subjects category on left side of this page or by going to )


Here is what I was replying to:

Northern California Jewish Bulletin
July 9, 1999

Unveiling connections between Sacramento, Kosovo

I was not surprised when I learned that three synagogues
in Sacramento has been firebombed by suspected white
supremacist groups. Nor was I stunned to discover that
the arsonists had targeted the Jewish community, blaming
Jewish individuals in the media and government for
steering NATO's actions in Yugoslavia.

Over the past few months, some fellow academics and I
had been monitoring the rise of hateful propaganda in which
the Jewish conspiracy line has been used to draw
sympathy for the Serbs and boost ultranationalists
organizations. From our perspective, it was only a matter
of time before the infection spread from Serbia to the

In spite of the contact between Serbs and neo-Nazis over
the internet, there has been virtually no discussion of the
Serb's complicity in the hateful propaganda that preceded
last month's bombings. The Sacramento Bee reported that
the leaflet found by one of the buildings mentioned the
Serbian cause, but it quickly rejected any notion that
there was a connection between events in Kosovo and

Instead, it focused on how the community reacted to the
bombings. For over a week, the Bee continued to present
a sickening sweet picture of a multicultural city in which
no one was to blame except a handful of hateful
individuals, still a large. The paper condemned the idea
of hate but chose not to take a deeper look in to last
month's attack. I believe there is a connection between
Kosovo and Sacramento--one that directly affects the
safety of Jews and other minorities. No, I am not charging
Serbs with the arson. The attacks have the markings of
far-right groups. And, let me stress, there is no basis to
believe that members of the Serbian-American community
harbor anti-Semitic feelings or engage in terrorism.

But I do believe that the arsonists were encouraged by
two things: the xenophobic rhetoric from Yugoslavia that
is actively parroted by the Serbian disapora and, above
all, by the hate crimes committed in the Balkans.

Let me explain. While many argue that white supremacists
do not need excuses to bomb Jewish property, there is an
additional point that needs to be considered. Far-right
groups are opportunistic.

They look for events and dress up their crude anti-Semitism
in contemporary themes as if to legitimize their illegitimate
and hateful projects. In this case, Jews were not charged
with murdering Christian babies. They were accused of
directing American's and hence NATO's policies in the

This is the first time that the Jewish conspiracy argument
has been repackaged with Yugoslav wrapping, and at
some level, one must ask where the groups that bombed
Sacramento found such inspiration.

Without second guessing the arsonists, there are some
facts that cannot be ignored--not least the degree to which
neo-Nazi and Serbian organizations have been
exchanging information and promoting each other's
chauvinistic causes.

On behalf of the Serbs, rightwing groups have circulated
anti-Muslim and anti-Albanian slogans. They have
repeated the false accusations that the Kosovars are
fundamentalists and have recast the wars in Bosnia and
Kosovo as civil wars rather than admit the truth behind
Serbia's occupation and genocidal programs.

On behalf of rightwing groups, the Serbian-American
community has financed extremists who are also in the
service of Europe's leading neo-NAZI politicians. They
have attracted racists and given them public platforms
from which they fashioned their prejudices into policies
for southeastern Europe.

More important, however, are the ideological ties between
Serbia proper and the far right. Ultranationalist groups
throughout North America and Europe have cheered on the
Serbian campaigns of ethnic cleansing. For the
ultranationalists, ethnic cleansing makes sense. Reflecting
the way they view the world, the Serbs enthusiasitically
renounced the ideals of inclusion and proportional
representation and crushed minorities in their way.

For ultranationalists, the war against Bosnia was hailed not
only as a rejection of Bosnia's multiethnic existence,
but as a rejection of multiculturalism in general. Now,
neo-Nazis are celebrating the Serbs brave struggle
against "Muslim barbarians" and have described the war
in Kosovo as a battle for Christendom. In short, the Serbs
have become the pin-up boys of the far right.

In this context, why is anyone surprised to see white
supremacists acting out what their Serbian idols are doing
overseas, by torching the sites of the minorities they hate?
The leaflet acknowledges as much. Why can't we?

The writer is an assistant professor of political science at
Lewis and Clark College, Portland Ore,, and co-author of a
forthcoming book on U.S. foreign policy in southeastern

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