Croatia’s Foreign Minister Miro Kovac unequivocally denied on Monday that anti-Semitism, racism, and extremism are prevalent in his country, The Jerusalem Post reports.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Kovac – who is his country’s first government minister to visit Israel since Croatia won accession to the European Union in 2013 – said: “I strongly reject any perception of anti-Semitism. It is simply wrong. It is not true.”
He claimed that as far as tolerance and protection of minorities are concerned, “Croatia is a role model” with a constitution whose preamble condemns fascism and guarantees protection to minorities.
When there are instances of racism, anti-Semitism and extremism he said, “It is up to us to denounce it. That kind of behavior is not compatible with our values as defined by the constitution.”
When it was pointed out to him that spectators at a recent friendly soccer match between Croatia and Israel made anti-Semitic remarks and yelled pro-Ustashe slogans in the presence of Croatia’s prime minister, Tihomir Oreskovic, who remained silent on the issue, Kovac admitted that he would have loved a clear, on the spot reaction.
He had not been at the match himself, he said, but had he attended, he certainly would have said something.