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. Various antisemitic narratives emerged in the aftermath of the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. These narratives still resurface from time to time, usually in the extreme-nationalistic and anti-American circles. While their focus is predominantly anti-American, in some of their segments they extend to traditional, typical, and well-known antisemitic stereotypes and myths. Founded on the myth about the “Jewish influence on the American foreign policy”, these narratives suggest that Jews were involved in the decision-making processes, or that Jews alone were behind the NATO bombings of Serbia. These antisemitic narratives may 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.
The German right-wing party NPD and other right-wing organizations speak of the bombing of Dresden and other German cities during World War II as “Bombenholocaust”, meaning Holocaust by bombs. This is meant to equate those bombings with the Shoah in order to diminish the singularity of this crime against humanity and absolve the perpetrators of it.
The glorification of Nazi ideology is sometimes present on the stands of Serbian football stadiums. The supporter of the football club Rad from Belgrade in particular are known for using Nazi symbols. These “football fans” often display flags with the “Celtic cross,” the “SS Totenkopf” symbol, as well as banners with the image of Dimitrije Ljotić, a Serbian fascist politician and ideologue who established the Yugoslav National Movement (Zbor) in 1935 and collaborated with German occupation authorities during World War II.
Spiegel Cover portraying local German Jews as Eastern European Hasidim. Jews have been an integral part of German society for 1700 years, ‘they are not from an unknown world next door’. To depict German-Jewish history “Der Spiegel” could have portrayed Moses Mendelssohn, Bertha Pappenheim, Walther Rathenau, Max Horckheimer or Rosa Luxemburg. But they chose an image of orthodox Eastern Jews from the poor Scheunenviertel (former Jewish district) in Berlin, familiar from Nazi propaganda.
The centuries-old stereotype that Jews spread diseases was reactivated during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Predrag Kon is head of the Health-crisis Team of the Republic of Serbia in charge of efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemics. Dr. Predrag Kon is Jewish. In November 2020, a graffiti “Dr. Kon on a stake!” with the crossed-out Star of David appeared in Novi Sad. The abbreviation “Dr” was in quotation marks to indicate sarcasm, alluding that Dr. Kon is not a “real doctor.”
In a separate incident, antisemitic posters appeared on the streets of Belgrade, claiming that the pandemic was just a cover for establishing a “global Jewish government.”
“Jews are members of a secret global elite that aims at achieving world domination”
Two common contemporary conspiracy theories serve this stereotype: 1) ZOG/ Zionist Occupied Government is an antisemitic political catchphrase of the extreme right that denotes a government that is supposedly ruled by Jews. The term takes up the old conspiracy ideology of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” that wealthy Jews would conspire to establish a world government.
A flyer that was distributed in a tram in Cologne asked the rhetorical questions “Do we really only have a Corona problem? Or don’t we actually have predominantly a Jew-problem?” while listing Angela Merkel as a Jewess of Polish origin connected to B’nai B’rith, Jens Spahn as “gay Jew” connected to the Bilderberg conference, Heiko Maas as a Jew and leading censor and Christian Drosten as pro-government virologist and Jew “according to his phenotype”. It closes with the words that “the more Jews in politics and media, the worse the conditions”.
The infamous antisemitic fabrication The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a text claiming to have exposed a Jewish plan for global domination, first appeared in print in Russia in 1903. It was translated into Greek in 1920, but it remained “unexploited” in the archive of the Greek Foreign Ministry. The Protocols started gaining publicity in 1925, thanks to the work of Dr. Andronikos, an Athenian pseudointellectual, whose medical authority and adherence to nationalism, fascism and anticommunism made him an ideal propagandist of the Protocols through the press. In early 1928 the dailies To Fos and Makedonia in Thessaloniki − the city where more than 50,000 out of 70,000 Greek Jews dwelled − published a Greek translation of the Protocols. Thereafter, the antisemitic focus of Makedonia intensified. In June 1931, members of the fascist organization “Ethniki Enosis Ellas” (“EEE”, National Union Hellas), acting upon allegations of anti-national behavior of local Jews published in Makedonia, launched a pogrom against the poor Jewish neighborhood of Campbell.
“Milan Nedić and his puppet government bare no responsibility for the Holocaust in Serbia.”. On February 4, 2021, about fifty members of the extreme right-wing organization “Traditionalists” gathered in front of the Serbian Orthodox Assumption Church in Novi Sad, one of the main churches in the city centre, to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Milan Nedić − the quisling prime minister during the Nazi occupation of Serbia.
Dr. Ewa Kurek lectures: “Jews may have viewed the ghetto as an opportunity to gain autonomy from Poles.” [On the allegedly good situation of Jews in ghettos in occupied Poland]. “We need to know whether 1,600 people were actually murdered there or 16. This is the basis from which we can reconstruct what actually happened.”
The Middle East conflict is sometimes used as a political tool for regional political, nationalistic and ethnic disputes in the former Yugoslavia. This might also instigate Israel-related antisemitism. From time to time, there are pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli rallies and events in many places around Europe, particularly when the Israel-Palestine conflict escalates. In parts of Serbia with a Muslim majority such as Kosovo and Metohija or the Sandzak region, and other countries in the Western Balkan region such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, the pro and contra Israel-Palestine rallies can be used as a political tool in regional political, nationalistic, and ethnic disputes.
In 1967 Israel won the Six-Day War. Moscow and the USSR satellite countries supported the Arab coalition. After this event, relations between the “Eastern Block” and Israel deteriorated dramatically. Poland broke off diplomatic relations with this country. A year later, as a result of internal purges in the Communist Party, an antisemitic campaign began with anti-Israel and anti-Zionist themes at its core. As a result of the antisemitic campaign led by the communist authorities (not society) between 13,000 and 15,000 Jewish Poles (mostly the elite and intelligentsia – professors, generals, doctors, etc.) were expelled from Poland. They received a “one way ticket” and even lost Polish citizenship. After “March 1968”, the Polish Jewish world almost ceased to exist. It was a demographic catastrophe. Many Jews started hiding their identity. Nowadays as a result many young people discover their veiled Jewish roots and go back to Judaism, receiving Polish citizenship as descendants of those who fled Poland in 1968.