zlatko hasanbegović.jpg
Croatian Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic
Photograph: Hina/ Dario GRZELJ/ dag

An association called "Croatian Journalists and Publicists (HNiP)" on Monday dismissed a recent statement by the Simon Wiesenthal Center against the new Croatian Culture Minister, Zlatko Hasanbegovic, as completely unfounded and unacceptable as well as insulting for the Croatian minister.

The association believes that the Israeli Center was used and manipulated for the continuation of an "ideological terror" launched by groups of those who oppose Hasanbegovic's appointment and his advocacy of pluralism out of fear that they may lose their right to ideological monopoly in Croatian media.

Last Saturday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named after Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, expressed "its shock and indignation at several actions taken, and comments made, by newly-appointed Croatian Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic" and called on the Croatian government to immediately dismiss Hasanbegovic. due to his comments on Croatia's history during World War II.

The statement signed by the Center's Israel and Eastern European Affairs Director Dr. Efraim Zuroff says, among other things, that "the Center sought to express the outrage caused by Minister Hasanbegovic's publication of the notorious book about Holocaust commemoration by the universally-discredited American (Jewish) author Norman Finkelstein and his baseless and totally inaccurate comments regarding the history of Croatia during World War II and the Holocaust."

On the other hand, the HNiP recalls that Hasanbegovic, a historian, had developed his career as a scientist through his research work at the Department of History at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Zagreb University where there have been no cases of attempt to revise the Second World War.

If his comments, his scientific publications and his public activities are put in the appropriate context, it is easy to conclude that Minister Hasanbegovic does not negate anti-fascism, the association says on its web site.

Also, this association says that it feels that it is its duty to inform the public about Zuroff's controversial comments, for instance, when he said last year in Serbia that what happened in Srebrenica in 1995 did not fit the definition of genocide.

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