The website index.hr is citing a Belgrade newspaper to report that a Croatian delegation left the hall during a conference on antisemitism in Rome on Monday.
The Croatian media outlet is also citing the reaction of Croatian authorities, who denied the report.
According to the website, media in Belgrade “claim that the Croatian delegation left the hall of at the OSCE conference, during the closing speech of Chairman of the Council of the Yad Vashem Commemorative (Holocaust) Center Rabbi Meir Lau.”
This refers to a report published by the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti under the headline, “Croats walk out because of rabbi’s speech” – that said the Croatian delegation “caused a scandal at the antisemitism conference organized by the OSCE in Rome” when they left the plenary hall during the closing speech of Rabbi Mei Lau.
According to the newspaper, Lau, who was Israel’s chief rabbi and is a survivor from the Nazi death camp of Buchenwald, focused his attention on the questions, “Where were you when the crimes were committed, and where are you when hatred is being awaken once again?”
“These words obviously bothered the representatives of Croatia who, instead of – together with other OSCE members – condemning antisemitism and all other forms of hatred towards another nations, religions and races, walked out and left an empty chair,” Vecernje Novosti writes, adding that this was the second case in just a few days that Croatia avoided confronting the truth about genocide in World War II – after opposing “the Serbian exhibition” about NDH (Independent State of Croatia) crimes against Serbs and Jews that was organized at the UN building in New York.
However, there is another side to the story. The Croatian website index.hr also reported a statement from the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that said this was “a continuation of malicious lies coming from Serbia.”
“This is a continuation of malicious lies and manipulations of the Serbian side. Near the end of the meeting (on antisemitism), the Croatian delegation had a scheduled bilateral meeting on the sidelines, as is customary at such multilateral gatherings,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.