To achieve the desired effect, the IWPR reporters make vague claims, engage in fanciful speculation, and falsify logic. "Many bookstores," they say, sell the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, the anti-Jewish tract concocted by the Tsarist Russian secret police over a century ago. How many? Which ones? Would it be so hard to mention a specific example, so one may establish if they are fringe enterprises or mainstream booksellers? After all, there is most certainly a difference between, e.g. "Uncle Adolf's Racial Rack" and "Barnes & Noble." But the IWPR does not say, and does not care.
Then they mention a "list of Jews in Serbia" posted on the neo-Nazi site Stormfront, supposedly posted by someone in Serbia, "most Serbian commentators conclude." Again, who is "most"? There are all sorts of commentators in Serbia, dozens of whom would be delighted to accuse their country and people (both of which they loathe) of the vilest things. Just so I don't commit the same transgression I accuse IWPR of, I'll mention the roster of columnists for the daily Danas as an example. Any opinion can be had for the right price, and having many rich sponsors, IWPR certainly doesn't lack money.
Next, the IWPR hacks try an assumption:
"Other experts agree that Serbia is becoming a hotbed of extreme racist ideologies – partly a consequence of a decade of warfare under Slobodan Milosevic, when the media painted Croats, Muslims and Albanians as the demonic enemies of innocent Serbs."
Not only is this a brazen thesis reversal of the obvious truth (that Croats, Muslims, Albanians and the mainstream Western media demonized the Serbs as enemies of innocent whoever - and this article is part of that demonization legacy!) but further down in the article, they contradict themselves! According to the Serbian Jewish leader Aca Singer, "anti-Semitic incidents have increased since the fall of the Milosevic regime in October 2000," and that "In the past five years over a hundred anti-Semitic books have been published in Serbia." But if anti-Semitism supposedly exploded once Milosevic was gone, how could it be his fault?
Singer "believes this may be because the advent of democracy has released feelings about Jews that were previously well concealed." So, Serbs have always been evil, but the evil Milosevic held them in check?! Where does this nonsense come from?!
IWPR does quote one specific case of anti-Semitism, a small "Christian" publishing house called IHTUS, which has published the notorious "blood libel" and other anti-Semitic diatribes. Its owner is a former member of a pre-WW2 fascist movement, who recently returned from decades of living in - the United States. The above-mentioned Stormfront is hosted in - the United States. "Serbian Defence [sic] League," another site they mention, is also hosted in - the USA, and owned by a U.S. resident who claims to be a Serb. So far, all that these examples of "Serbian anti-Semitism" have in common is their American origin. But IWPR does not claim America is anti-Semitic, does it?
IWPR reporters also target Obraz, a conservative movement reviled by Serbia's Jacobins, claiming that since its website threatens "Zionists," it is anti-Semitic. But are "Zionist" and "Jew" one and the same? Can one be Jewish and not advocate the establishment of the Jewish State? I'd suggest asking the Hassidic Jews, and other Orthodox Jewish groups, who emphatically reject the esablishment of Israel as sinful. Are they anti-Semitic?
Finally, the IWPR brings out the Big Guns: "one taxi driver" and "another woman interviewed on the street," who both make anti-Semitic remarks. Well, congratulations, folks - you've just discovered the key to establishing the prevailing sentiments of a nation! Let's interview one New York cabbie, at random (not fishing for a story, like IWPR), and see what we can conclude about the U.S. public opinion...
The "woman on the street" dared question the sacred orthodoxy of victim politics: “Jews use anti-Semitism on purpose to gain privileges for themselves," she reportedly said. However, when Singer argues that “The penal code should include a provision on anti-Semitism as a criminal offence,” as he does just a few paragraphs away, does he not prove her right? Why should libeling Jews be a special criminal offfense, but libeling Serbs one of the most profitable enterprises in the news media today?
What's truly tragic about all this is that there is a campaign of anti-Semitism in Serbia, but conducted by a Hungarian nationalist organization "Youth movement of the 64 counties" (HVIM), which has been organizing projections of a Hungarian-made political documentary "Trianon." The film, which advocates the resurrection of the pre-1918 Hungary, is reportedly anti-Semitic (see the RFE/RL Newsline for January 11, 2005, Southeastern Europe, penultimate paragraph). The Serbian authorities are not going after HVIM, probably because they fear a campaign of accusations they are "persecuting Hungarians," like the one launched last summer.
But actual anti-Semitism and Hungarian irredentism don't interest the IWPR; they don't reflect badly on Serbs, so something must be made up that does. The Open Society Fund, the Foreign Office and the State Department should give their propagandists a raise. They are doing an excellent job.