Croatia Is Trying to Erase Its Participation in the Holocaust

Oct. 11 2017

After the Axis powers overran Yugoslavia in 1941, they divided parts of it among themselves while granting independence to an expanded Croatia. Governed by its own homegrown fascist party, the Ustasha, Croatia began slaughtering Jews and Serbs. The country’s current government is now trying to rehabilitate the Ustasha’s reputation, and the organized Jewish community has responded by boycotting state-sponsored Holocaust commemoration events. Menachem Rosensaft writes:

The present stand-off between the Croatian Jewish community and the Croatian government (which celebrated Croatian independence on Sunday) over the manner in which the Holocaust is commemorated—or not commemorated—and the effective rehabilitation and glorification of the Ustasha came to a head after a March 2016 Israel-Croatia soccer match, where Croatian spectators shouted the notorious Ustasha slogan Za dom spremni, or “Ready for the homeland,” in the presence of the Croatian prime minister, who apparently sat by without reacting. . . .

It is true that Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic had . . . condemned the Ustasha’s role during the Holocaust during a 2015 visit to Israel. . . . On a subsequent trip to Canada, however, Grabar-Kitarovic sent a far different message when she posed with a group of Croatian émigrés holding a flag bearing the Ustasha symbol. . . .

Even President Grabar-Kitarovic’s description of the Ustasha as a “collaborationist” regime [in her Yad Vashem statement] falls far short of the mark. . . . While the Holocaust in most parts of Nazi-occupied or Nazi-dominated Europe was carried out predominantly by Nazi Germany, albeit with the assistance and often eager participation of nationals of the respective countries, Croatia is in a separate category, together with Ion Antonescu’s fascist regime in Romania. The genocide in the Independent State of Croatia, headed by the Ustasha leader and ideologue Ante Pavelić, was carried out not by Germans but by Croatians without direction or even participation by the SS or other German genocidaires.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Holocaust, World War II, Yugoslavia

Hamas Sets Its Sights on Taking over the PLO

Oct. 20 2017

Examining the recent reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian organizations Fatah and Hamas, Eyal Zisser argues that the latter sees the deal as a way to install its former leader, Khaled Meshal, as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and thereby the Palestinian Authority. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened:

Even the former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat . . . took the PLO leadership by force. His first steps, incidentally, were with the Fatah organization, which he cofounded in January 1965 in Damascus, under Syrian patronage. Fatah was meant to serve as a counterweight to the rival PLO, which had come into existence [earlier] under Egyptian patronage. Arafat, however, was relegated to the sidelines in the Palestinian arena. It was only after the 1967 Six-Day War that he exploited the resounding defeat of the Arab armies to join the PLO as the leader of Fatah, which led to his gaining control over [the PLO itself].

Meshal [most likely] wants to follow in Arafat’s footsteps—a necessary maneuver for a man who aspires to lead the Palestinian national movement, particularly after realizing that military might and even a hostile takeover of [either Gaza or the West Bank] will not grant him the legitimacy he craves.

It is hard to believe that Fatah will willingly hand over the keys to leadership, and it is also safe to assume that Egypt does not want to see Hamas grow stronger. But quasi-democratic developments such as these have their own dynamics. In 2006, Israel was persuaded by Washington to allow Hamas to run in the general Palestinian elections, thinking the Islamist group had no chance of winning. But Hamas won those elections. We can assume Meshal will now look to repeat that political ploy by joining the PLO and vying for its leadership.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Khaled Meshal, Palestinian Authority, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, Yasir Arafat