news 27 Oct 17

Bosnian School Slams Israel over ‘Anti-Jewish’ Claim

After Israel condemned the naming of a Sarajevo school after WWII-era author Mustafa Busuladzic, who it called anti-Semitic, the school responded by criticising the building of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories.

Danijel Kovacevic
BIRN
Banja Luka
Mustafa Busuladzic. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Mustafa Busuladzic Elementary School in Sarajevo hit back at the criticism of its new name on Thursday, saying that Israel “has no right to give moral lessons to others” because of the building of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution.

The Israeli embassy for Bosnia and Herzegovina, headquartered in Tirana, sent Bosnia’s foreign minister a protest note on August 23 about the decision to rename the Dobrosevici Elementary School in Sarajevo after what it called the “controversial and anti-Semitic” WWII-era writer and fighter Mustafa Busuladzic.

“The Embassy of Israel reiterates its sincere regret that the Authorities of Sarajevo Canton approved such a move especially considering the fact that the vast majority of the Bosnian Jewish community was brutally killed by the hand of the fascist and Nazi occupying forces with which Mr Bursuladzic identified himself,” the embassy said in the note.

But the school rejected the criticism.

“Multi-ethnic Sarajevo, which you mention in your letter, is multi-ethnic because of Mustafa Busuladzic and other Muslims who, with their tolerant attitude towards others, made this city multi-ethnic,” its letter said.

“Busuladzic was not an anti-Semite; as an intellectual, he was speaking about poor Jewish qualities, but also about other, non-Jewish merchants, who were speculating on overpricing. The current situation in the world, where similar banking practices are causing an economic crisis, shows that Mustafa was right,” it added.

Busuladzic is a controversial figure in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with some people seeing him as a martyr and a victim of the Yugoslav Communist regime, while others point out that he was a prominent associate of Croatian fascist-allied Ustasa occupying forces during WWII, and that his written opinions often reflected Nazi ideas.

The school insisted however that he had been made a scapegoat by the Yugoslav Communists, who executed him on June 29, 1945.

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