Anti-Jewish sentiment related to the NATO bombing of Serbia

Example narrative (What do they say or do?)

“Anti-NATO” antisemitism – anti-Jewish sentiment related to the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999.

Posters with pictures of a World War II bomber with the Star of David and pictures of the collapsed buildings in Belgrade and bridges on the Danube in Novi Sad, with the message “14 years since the NATO bombing, their terror continues” appeared in Belgrade in March 2013.

Antisemitic context explained (What does this actually mean?)

Particular antisemitic narratives emerged in the aftermath of the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. These narratives still arise from time to time until today, usually in the extreme-nationalistic and anti-American circles. While its focus is predominantly anti-American, it stretches further in some of its segments to traditional, typical, and well-known antisemitic stereotypes and myths. Inclining upon the myth about the “Jewish influence on the American foreign policy” these narratives might suggest that Jews were involved in the decision-making processes, or that Jews alone are behind the NATO bombings of Serbia. These antisemitic narratives might extend to imply responsibility and accountability of all Jews for their alleged role in NATO bombings of Serbia. Taking it further, there is a question of loyalty of Serbian Jews in this regard and accusations that their loyalty supposedly lies with the “World Jewry” rather than with Serbia and its people.

Consequences (Why is this harmful?)

Dual loyalty is a bigoted trope used to cast Jews as the “other.” These narratives disseminate distrust and harmful ideas by accusing Jews of being disloyal citizens whose true allegiance is to a hidden “global” Jewish agenda, implying that Jews are “traitors” that secretly undermine their country.

Personalize (How does it impact a Jewish person or a community)

These antisemitic narratives causes concern, fear, and anxiety among Jewish individuals, families, and the entire Jewish community. As a result, many might feel reluctant to disclose or express their Jewish identity, tradition, or culture in fear of being identified as Jews and bullied or exposed to violence.

Social impact (Why is this harmful for the society?)

For centuries, antisemitic accusations of disloyalty have led to the harassment, marginalization, oppression, and even murder of Jewish people. It leads to spreading hate and intolerance. Jews feel threatened and reluctant to freely express their opinions, culture, and identity, which represents a violation of their human and civil rights. This way, the overall democracy in the society is threatened.

Debunking response (What to do? How to react? Options)

  • Rapport the incident to the relevant authorities,
  • React, counter the narrative, stand against it,
  • Engage in discussion and explain why this is wrong,
  • Education about Holocaust denial and distortion
  • Education about antisemitism
  • Legislation and prosecution