The Media and the Serbs:
An Israeli Perspective
Elyakim Ha'etzni Former Tehiya Knesset Members Elyakim Ha'etzni is an attorney living in Kiryat Arba.
(This essay was broadcast on Israeli radio station Arutz 7 on March 29, 1999)
Without condoning terrible war crimes no doubt committed by some Serbs, we and they basically find ourselves in the same boat. The world press under-states each of our respective sides, while it embellishes the Arab-Moslem case, and sweeps under the carpet its faults, crimes, and inherent dangers. Both the Serbs and the Israelis are given to American-European pressure on behalf of the Moslems. We were forced in Wye Plantation to give over portions of our homeland to the Arabs, and the Serbs are being forced right now to hand over a sovereign region of theirs, Kosovo, to the Moslem Albanians.
The Serbs, in fact, call Kosovo their "Jerusalem" - would it be that we would learn from them how to stand fast in conviction and determination and strength when the time comes for us to fight for our Jerusalem.
The Serbs lost their holy Kosovo to the Turks 600 years ago, and have dreamt and sung about it ever since then. They have woven their national identity around Kosovo. We have pined for Zion and Jerusalem more than three times as long, and with it all, tell me if there is one politician amongst us who would say about Jerusalem what Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Draskovitch said about Kosovo. (Draskovitch, it should be noted, does not agree with his Prime Minister) But he and the entire Serbian nation are united around the Kosovo issue. Draskovitch said: "Our faith was born there, as was our language, our nationhood, our pride. It is incumbent upon us to defend Kosovo even if we all die." An American reporter asked him if he does not want his hungry country to become a part of the West and to share in its wealth. He answered, "Not if the price is Kosovo."
The hostile press does not tell us who the Serbs really are. From amongst all the Yugoslavian peoples, they bore the main brunt of the fight against the Nazis in World War II. The Croatians established a Nazi state, and murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews. Jews and Serbs are buried together in the Yasenovatz destruction camp. From within Muslim Bosnia, with inciteful encouragement by the Mufti of Jerusalem, a Jew-killing SS Division arose. The Serbs kept dozens of German divisions occupied in battle, and caused them great losses. Serbia was the only country in Europe that threw off the German conquest on its own, paying a terrible price along the way: 1,700,000 dead - 11% of its total population. The partisan army numbered a quarter of a million, including many Jews, and it saved thousands of Jews. How could Clinton possibly think that a people who went through all this would surrender to an air attack of the type of which Saddam Hussein made a mockery?
The hostile media hide from the public the fact that "ethnic purifications" have taken place all over Yugoslavia. The Croatians expelled 200,000 Serbs from the Krajna district. From Kosovo itself, the Moslems - beginning the moment they received autonomy there in 1974 - pushed out a half-million Serbs, while 400,000 Albanians spilled over the border, turning the Serbs into a 10% minority in their own homeland.
What are the Serbs fighting about? Milosevich agreed to restore the autonomy to the Moslems. He merely refused the NATO demand to bring in 30,000 foreign troops to his country. What self-respecting country would have accepted such a dictate? Clinton had great difficulty explaining why he attacked a sovereign country simply because of an internal dispute within its own borders. And anyone can see the situation there is not at all the same as Iraq's attempt to wipe out a foreign country. If the present attack is justified, why didn't NATO intervene in China against the oppression of the Tibetans? What about when Sudan slaughtered 2.5 million Christian blacks in Khartoum? Why doesn't NATO force its member state Turkey to give to the Kurds what it demands for the Kosovo Albanians? These are merely a few of the many, many similar examples all over the globe.
In truth, the NATO attack has nothing to do with ethics. Only pure political pro-Arab interests are at stake - oil. The U.S. intervened in Afghanistan on behalf of the Moslem extremists - who are now engaged in blowing up American embassies and using their American-supplied Stingers to endanger aviation all over the world. Even worse, the Americans, all for the sake of Kosovo, are themselves endangering American-Russian relations and the precious gift that Gorbachev gave the world - the lifting of the Iron Curtain. Russia and the Serbs are bound by a historic alliance. When NATO armed the Croatians and the Bosnians against the Serbs, and even bombed the Serbs from the air, Russia renewed its diplomatic and military relations with Iran, Iraq, and Syria - and we, Israel, are the victims of the renewal of the Cold War in the Middle East. This is a direct result of the defective American policy in Yugoslavia.
American diplomatic failures have left their blood-stained marks of destruction all over the world: in Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Beirut, Somalia, Panama, Bosnia, Arafat's Palestine, and now Kosovo. This new method of forcing a country to give up parts of its territory under the threat of international attack is now being tested. *Are we next in line?*
Israel's media are acting as if this has nothing to do with us. The contrary appears to be true: just as the press here is against us and in favor of Arafat, it is also in favor of the Moslems in Yugoslavia. At the behest of Yossi Sarid of Meretz, our left-wing government of a few years ago sent humanitarian aid to the Bosnians, of all people, and even absorbed Bosnian refugees. We, the listeners of Arutz-7, are in favor of the Jews! We will be alert and attentive to what is happening in Kosovo, as it may be a general rehearsal for what could happen here if we don't give the Palestinian terrorists a state with Jerusalem as its capital.
But not only our own self-interest is at play here. The gratefulness that we have to the Serbs for their actions in World War II also demands that we listen to both sides, and to send aid also to the Serbian victims. Sarid is again insisting that the Foreign Ministry send aid only to the Moslems.
I call upon the listeners to demand that Foreign Minister Sharon (fax: 972-2-530-3506; email@example.com
) put an end to the one-sided leftist aid only to the Moslems, and send aid also to the Serbs.
A public committee should arise to send aid to the Serbs, as well.