Efraim Zuroff Has No Moral Right To Be Arbiter Of Croatian Politics Says Croatia’s Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic

 

Croatia's Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic On Al Jazeera TV Photo: Screenshot: balka.aljazeera.net 8 May 2016

Croatia’s Culture Minister
Zlatko Hasanbegovic
On Al Jazeera TV
Photo: Screenshot: balka.aljazeera.net 8 May 2016

In an interview with Al Jazeera television on 4 May 2016 Croatia’s culture minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic was asked for his thoughts on attacks against him in recent months that have accused him of being a fascist, an ultra-nationalist, a historical revisionist attempting to diminish the meaning of the Holocaust, including attacks from Efraim Zuroff, the head of Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem. Minister Hasanbegovic replied that it is not easy, that it is uncomfortable to work in such a political environment surrounded by false accusations and attacks that are not founded on truth but that every politician must be ready to face negative attacks. As to attacks against him made by Efraim Zuroff minister Hasanbegovic replied:

“…a person who has through utterance negated the genocide in Srebrenica has no moral right to be an arbiter of Croatian politics or relations within Croatian politics or public life.”

As far as I am concerned, truer and more just words have never been said about Zuroff’s vitriolic meddling in Croatian politics that, as a rule, justify horrific communist crimes as acceptable, which, by the way, means that communists exterminated more innocent people on political beliefs grounds than by the Holocaust on racial grounds. Truer and more just words have never been said about a person who not only negates the genocide in Srebrenica, perpetrated by Serbs, but also negates Serbia’s WWII government’s active role in the Holocaust and extermination of Jews in Serbia.

I am so proud of minister Hasanbegovic for having the courage to direct the world to the truth, most likely knowing he would be a target of even more hatred because of it.
Minister Hasanbegovic did not need to wait too long before renewed attacks against him started on an international level, filled with untruths, vitriol and pure hatred. The US Foreign Policy portal’s Berlin-based Paul Hockenos, who appears to have chosen as his bread and butter or who appears to have made a career of peddling his biased, imaginary and vilifying stories about so-called far-right nationalism rising in former communist countries of Easter Europe has swiftly spread what feels like burning vitriol against minister Hasanbegovic and Croats. He calls minister Hasanbegovic a fascist and uses references to anti-Croatian propaganda for it instead of more objective takes on Hasanbegovic’s true political direction that has nothing to do with fascism but everything to do with justice and truth for victims of communist crimes. Hockenos seems to have made a career out of using mean-spirited wicked tactics to turn Eastern Europe’s plight in exposing the truth of communist crimes perpetrated under former communist regimes into innuendos and allegations of attempts to revise history and diminish the Holocaust. Some call-to-arms to attack Hasanbegovic and Croatia by those who fight hard and dirty in preventing the truth of communist crimes surfacing could have prompted the appalling article of pure unprovoked hatred Hockenos wrote.

Hockenos wrote an article on 6 May 2016 – “Croatia’s Far Right Weaponizes the Past” – that not only brutally vilifies minister Hasanbegovic but also the Croatian nation. Of course, in his article Hockenos provides a link to Zuroff’s statement on Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s website where Zuroff calls Hasanbegovic a Fascist and Hockenos’ article praises Simon Wiesenthal Centre “as a prominent Jewish human rights organization” – so to perhaps suggest that Zuroff is pure and without blemish and how dare Hasanbegovic criticise him…(?) Well, the centre may be prominent for Jewish human rights – and good for them and especially victims of the Holocaust – but its Head certainly isn’t for Croatians’ human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its Article 12 does state “No one shall be subjected to … attacks upon his honour and reputation …” (Everyone has a right to legal protection against such attacks). Hockenos and Zuroff and others in the camp that attacks Hasanbegovic on such unfounded grounds may think human rights only apply to some.

 

It did not surprise me that Croatia’s left-leaning media when writing about Paul Hockenos’ article did not question possible motives for such expressed hatred and false accusations against minister Hasanbegovic nor noticed, it seems, the link between attempting to defend Zuroff by attacking Hasanbegovic.

 

Hockenos, like Zuroff, evidently use the killings by WWII Ustashi regime in Croatia as a reason why today’s world should not be presented with the factual truth of WWII and the period after it, which was riddled with communist crimes. Why else would Hockenos insult minister Hasanbegovic and the Croatian people because people, including minister Hasanbegovic, are interested in what the new Jakov Sedlar documentary “Jasenovac – the Truth” has to say about the research into the actual numbers of Holocaust victims in Jasenovac!? Looks like Hockenos might have been on Serbs’ side when in 1990’s they went on a murderous rampage and ethnic cleansing against Croats and Mislims/Bosniaks under the “excuse” that they (Serbs) feared Croatia would in its independence from communist Yugoslavia do the same as the WWII Ustashi regime did when it comes to killing Serbs etc! Preposterous and outrageous!

Hockenos in his article goes on to say that Hasanbegovic was during the 1990’s war one of those nationalists who wanted whole Bosnia for Croatia (just like it was during WWII)… Oh dear, what a pity Hockenos omitted to say that even if Hasanbegovic may have as an individual wanted such a thing way back in 1990’s it was the Serbs, not Croats, who actually and swiftly cleared much of Bosnia for themselves – using ethnic cleansing and genocide against Croats and Muslims/Bosniaks.

 

One can, in a way, understand Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic’s repeated statements that she will not engage in politics that concentrate on historical issues in order to create and maintain divisions among the Croatian people, but given that it is in fact the historical matters that are used to attack and vilify Croatian people and government officials of today any Croatian president does not, to my view, have the right to choose to exclude herself/himself from defending the pride and honour of the people when these are brutally attacked – using matters from the history. Such as the utterly unfair attack by Paul Hockenos’ article, which has caused terrible pain to multitudes of Croatians. The inaction in responding to such attacks, the apparent lack of demands from Croatia’s top echelons for apologies by the author of the article, Paul Hockenos, and the Foreign Policy portal are conspicuous and lead one to conclude with regret that there may indeed be a political protection racket afoot, even from within Croatia, for those who contribute to keeping the world and victims in the dark from the facts of communist crimes.
It is blindingly clear that Croatia is in dire need of condemning communism to the same extent as it did with condemning the Ustashi regime’s symbols. This means banning, forbidding, preventing the symbols of the communist regime from being displayed, shouted, used in public by law. Get to it – Croatia! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Very well written concise article Ina. I read Hockenos’ article the other day and was shocked at how pro Serb he was. His was so attacking of Croatia and our independence. Screw him I Say.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wilkinson says:

    Well done, Ina Vukic

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tom Varga says:

    Bravo Minister Hasanbegovic! It’s about time that Croatia had politicians who don’t pussyfoot around and call a spade a spade – Zuroff is a disgrace when it comes to victims of Srebrenica genocide, but then that’s no surprise – he does the same to victims of communist crimes

    Like

  4. Marshall says:

    At the end of the day Paul Hockenos is a small-time author of bad books and as I see it, filled with his own misguided self-importance, who spends time it seems teaching English to non-English speakers in Berlin and writing articles or opinion pieces that upset people but probably earn him a fee and minister Hasanbegovic is a Government Minister! Eat your heart out Paul Hockenos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sunman says:

      Small time author or not, he has big time exposure. This continued anti-Cro bias will only continue and will greatly damage Croatia and it’s people – this propaganda is like erosion of the soul. Need to counter and be on the offensive to finally rid ourselves of these brutal attacks…certain Hockenos should be sued for slander and violations of human rights. Legal and moral measures should be taken against all who defame croatia…serbia has done this to great success

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      • Marshall says:

        I am on my toes, Sunman, waiting for Croatia’s leaders, especially the President and Prime Minister to take action on possible measures through courts against journalists who come up with such damaging material against members of government etc, and of course, seeking apologies loud and clear.

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  5. Stevie10703 says:

    Zuroff is the same guy who said that what happened in Srebrenica wasn’t genocide because, “only men were killed.” Funny how that works doesn’t it? Hockenos may have been an East German communist who loved imperial countries like the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia where one group of people (Russians and Serbs) held nations hostage so of course he is going to hate the fact that Croatia was able to gain its independence.

    But, I’m wondering while people like Zuroff and Hockenos throw stones at Croatia, they turn a blind eye to not only communist crimes but in Zuroff’s case, crimes committed by his country, and while I am usually pro-Israel, he wants to play that game we can too by saying that Israel is a fascist country. He will say Israel has a right to self defense and if that is the case, doesn’t Croatia too?

    If these people really want to see “fascism” at work, why not take a look at Serbia…their Prime Minister advocates a Greater Serbia and state which is ethnically pure and that include annexing parts of Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosova, and Macedonia…their Prime Minister also took up arms and fought during the invasion and occupation of Croatia. Their President is an alleged war criminal who was there in Ovcara and who also took part in the rapes of Croatian women in Slavonia. A member of their Parliament is Vojoslav Seselj another (alleged) war criminal who advocates the destruction of Croatia and the annexation of its territory and that Croatians must be wiped out. All three were elected by the people over there….and yet, not a peep. You want fascism, take a look at what happened in Novi Sad where a Croatian priest was once again beaten up to an inch of his life and if you want more proof of genocide, how is it that in Srijem before the war in Croatia started there were roughly 170,000 ethnic Croatians living there and now there are only 40,000. How did this happen? But, yes, Croatia is a “fascist” State.

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  6. Amen to that!

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  7. powerful post.

    Like

  8. Velebit says:

    “Hockenos, like Zuroff, evidently use the killings by WWII Ustashi regime in Croatia as a reason why today’s world should not be presented with the factual truth of WWII and the period after it, which was riddled with communist crimes” If we are going to be the seekers of truth and justice, if we want to reveal and distinguish fact from fiction, than I humbly ask that when we are discussing WWII and its aftermath in Croatia, that we consider our words carefully. What exactly were “the killings by WWII Ustashi regime in Croatia”? Where did these killings take place? Who was killed? Why were they killed? How many were killed? Who were the killers? Surely such killings can be substantiated and independently verified and not just the result of communist fabrication that was adopted as fact.??? Or maybe not. Why are we still willing to swallow whole, the communist version of what took place during and after the war in Yugo.? I for one am not. The jury is still out on that score. To quote Father Luka Prcela : – Ne mogu podnijeti kad netko nekoga udara bez razloga, i ne mogu podnijeti kad i moj narod nekoga udara bez razloga. Pogotovo ne mogu podnijeti da mi sami po sebi pljujemo. Strašno je kada mi, evo sada se nalazimo u mjesecu svibnju, u subotu će se ići na Bleiburg. Zaboravili smo da smo bili ta žrtva. Ja ne mogu nikako oprostiti ovo što je Kolinda Grabar Kitarović izjavila da je hrvatska država, Nezavisna država nije bila nezavisna i da je bila zločinačka. Tko to kaže da je današnja Hrvatska država nezavisnija od one koja je bila od ’41. do ’45.? Ma, ja pitam ako je morala to reći pred Amerikancima, a onda postavljam njoj pitanje, a zašto nisi rekla pa nismo mi Hrvati bacili atomsku bombu na Hirošimu i Nagasaki – naveo je Luka Prcela.http://www.dnevno.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/ne-mogu-oprostiti-kolindi-izjavu-da-je-ndh-zlocinacka-i-nije-nezavisna-919970

    Za Dom Spremni!

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    • Father Prcela was completely justified, Velebit, for criticising President Grabar-Kitarovic when she said that the Ustashi regime was a criminal regime without yes mentioning the fact that Croatia did not dump atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki etc but as to killings done by members of Ustashi during WWII in line with race laws there have been streams of evidence and also I believe the evidence in Jasenovac museum albeit somewhat faulty has material corroborating – the point is that Croatia must also deal with communist regime in the same way as it does with the Ustashi…also archives from that time opened for research since 1990’s do point to some facts. The point is that even if a handful of innocent killings occurred they are killings and one cannot say that because those occurred the other perpetrators of other crimes cannot be pursued for justice.

      Like

      • Stevie10703 says:

        Another issue is asking why the Ustase actually came about. Why is it that not one person talks about the first Yugoslavia and what the Serbs did during that time and even before. Just read at what happened and what they did during the First Balkan war, their crimes against the Albanian people at the time. Then after that what they did in the First Yugoslavia and their land grabs not to mention the killing of Croatian intellectuals, politicians, and your regular everyday people we haven’t heard of. There were forced conversions, the Serbian king also drove Croatians and Bosnian Muslims off their land and then resettled their own people in their spots all over Croatia and what is now Bosnia-Hercegovina and even in Slovenia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Things got so bad at the time that Albert Einstein appealed to the world through the NY Times that what the Serbs are doing in Croatia must be stopped. Why is it that not one person talks about this?

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      • So important Stevie – why Croatians needed to “rise” (become Ustashi) against oppression and brutality in the Serb kingdom etc but unfortunately there are no leaders that will voice the truth – every nation’s fight for freedom has ugly parts but Croatia does not seem to be able to address it all and affirm its stand…People do talk about what you mention but perhaps not strongly enough

        Like

      • DELETED as offensive

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      • Your malicious attacks and vilification against Croatia for attempting to bring justice for victims of communist crimes will not pass on this website, Zack

        Like

  9. KasperHansen says:

    Zlatko Hasanbegovic is a Muslim how can he be part of a rightwing … government ? the silly anti-croatian propaganda is not even any longer following basic logic.

    Like

    • Kasper the government is centre right – conservative – not what you imply but it seems only people like you take religion to mean race and mix everything up in failed attempts to appear clever

      Like

      • KasperHansen says:

        You misunderstood me the American writer claims that having Zlatko in the Croatian government is prove of rising rightwing movement in Croatia and that Croatia is a white racist place. In fact Zlatko proves them wrong. The argument of the American is contradictive.

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      • Thank you KasperHansen I did understand you it’s just the way you wrote it appeared like stating facts which are not facts i.e. that the government is racist as to the American writer I did give my opinion and many thers did how wrong and full of lies he is in the article. Again, it’s him that’s wrong on another point – religion does not equal race.

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  10. AngryBosniak says:

    Since the war I refused to speak to my former Serb friends and neighbours forget about sharing a country with them again. I spit on the Yugoslav flag, lost two brothers in Srebrenica and here you have that Zionist animal saying it was not genocide. More than anything I am angry about all those years my people wasted in the Yuguslavia republic. The army that killed us in Srebrenica was it nor our army ? that was what my brothers though as they always used to sing union songs and bragging about our glory federal army little did they know the same army will kill them.

    Like

    • Know exactly what you mean about wasted years living in Yugoslavia, AngryBosniak. And as to not talking to former friends and neighbours – good for you….you trusted them living in Yugoslavia only to discover all the while they were sharpening their knives to pounce at you and your family… just awful stuff.

      Like

  11. Veronika says:

    Thank you for posting Ina. You are a shining light.
    Paul Hockenos wrote a book a few years ago called Homeland Calling in which he was exceptionally negative to the Croatian Diaspora.
    Nothing this hack writes surprises me.
    What is distressing is that international publications print this drek and continue to brush the entire tiny nation of Croatia with the same Nazi/Far-Right brush.
    Few drone on and on about communist and fascist sympathies in places like Italy, for example.
    Yet Croatia continues to be figuratively ‘nailed to the cross’ of history, whether factual or manufactured.
    I am grateful to reputable historians like Hasanbegovic, Leljak, Juricevic…. and others for exposing the lies manufactured against Croatia in the last 70 years and for finally exposing the crimes of Tito and his blood-thirsty Communist state.
    Sadly, there are still many ardent and rabid Reds in Croatian society and in her government that perpetuate the fascist bogeyman in Croatia and hacks like Hockenos and his editors dine out on this drivel.

    Like

    • Yes Veronika, I am aware of pathetic attempt of a book by Paul Hockenos – what really caught me was the question where does his hatred against Croatians come from and I have decided that it’s jealousy and envy for he has probably never come across such pure and strong love for the homeland as he has watching Croats 🙂

      Like

  12. When politicians attack each other they just look like bullies in a school yard. But when a politician refuses to succumb to the attacks, he/she looks like a person of integrity – something we wish and wish and wish….

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. […] But criticisms did not stop at attacks via the media – and although communist rattles such as Efraim Zuroff from Jersusalem based Simon Wiesenthal Centre have sought that the minister be removed from his […]

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  2. […] But criticisms did not stop at attacks via the media – and although communist rattles such as Efraim Zuroff from Jerusalem based Simon Wiesenthal Centre have sought that the minister be removed from his […]

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  3. […] Because of this, Hasanbegovic had been a target of terrible attacks within Croatia and beyond – staged and implemented by former communists and their mates, including the head of Istrael’s branch of Simon Wiesenthal Centre – filled with hateful […]

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