Monday, May 2, 2016

Croatia: Jews fear growing intolerance under conservatives

Via Times of Israel:
“Nostalgia” for a pro-Nazi past, spurning of ethnic minorities and pressure on the press: Croatian activists say an alarming climate of intolerance is taking hold under a new conservative government.

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Since the ruling coalition took power in the European Union country in January, critics say authorities have turned a blind eye — and even contributed to — concerns over a far-right surge.

Last week, in response, angry Jewish, ethnic Serb and anti-fascist groups refused to attend a ceremony remembering tens of thousands who died at Jasenovac, the most notorious concentration camp under Croatia’s pro-Nazi Ustasha regime during World War II.

The boycott was a “brave and correct decision in the face of the wave of neo-fascist Ustasha nostalgia which is sweeping Croatia”, said Efraim Zuroff at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish rights organization.

Although the Ustasha’s so-called Independent State of Croatia was a Nazi puppet state — killing hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma and others — their modern sympathizers see them as the country’s founding fathers.

The downplaying of their atrocities “has existed for years, but in a different intensity,” historian Tvrtko Jakovina told AFP.

“It has now penetrated cabinet ministers and the mainstream media.”

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