Mustafa Ceric, Ph.D.
President of the World Bosniak Congress
Details of Dodik’s phantom commission, chaired by Israeli Rafael Israeli of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, are not known. However, Serbian propaganda is known, which is announced on Radio Television Republika Srpska (RTRS), where the main character is Rafael Israeli, as a “specialist in the history of radical Islamism”. But, as Rathenau remarked: “There are no specialists; there are only vested interest”. We don’t know what his personal interests are, but we do know that Rafael Israeli while chairing Serbian phantom commission for the revision of the Hague war crimes trial, calls into question not only Den Haag process, but also the Nurnberg process, indeed, the very idea of the Holocaust whether it has ever happened. Moreover, Rafael Israeli’s inflammatory pro-Serbian anti-Islamic rhetoric threatens peace in our country. Knowing that, I wrote a letter on May 15, 2019 to Prof. Asher Cohen, the President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Open link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFkpbLnNF_Y
I am glad to say today that the reaction to my letter was as expected not only from the Hebrew University, but also from the numerous Jewish world organizations to whom I have introduced the contents of the letter. All of them agree that there is no specialist in disparaging and disrespecting the international court of justice, nor is there a specialist in denying the established and condemned Genocide against Bosniaks and the Holocaust against Jews. There is only the personal and selfish interest of Gideon Greif and Rafael Israleli as both of them have agreed to be abused by the Serbian genocidal policy in order to justify the negation of the proven and convicted Srebrenica Genocide before the international court of justice in the Hague.
Some friends even asked me if the Jewish people would enter the project of forming a commission, which would aim to deny the Nuremberg trials and verdicts on the Holocaust. Moreover, some were shocked to think that someone could abuse Bosnian genocide victims to get involved in a possible project to challenge the “Nurnberg process” modeled on Gideon Greif and Rafael Isralaeli/s participation in the Serbian political game. I believe that the Bosnian victims of the Genocide will never agree to that, just as I believe that none of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust approve of what Gideon Greif and Rafaela Isralaeli are doing in Bosnia. I am sure that what Gideon Greif and Rafeal Isralaeli are doing in collaboration with Serbian deniers of the Genocide against Bosniaks is not in the interest of the Jewish people. For sure, it is not in the spirit of the work and activities of the World Jewish Congress, which is fully aware of Sarajevo’s role in saving Sephardic Jews from the Spanish Inquisition in 1492. That is why the attempt to cover the Serbian negation of the genocide against Bosniaks with two Hebrew “specialists” from Jerusalem failed in advance.
This is exactly what Aguis Carmel, President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Courts (IRMCT), clearly said to Serbian politics at the international conference: “Stop the negation of genocide and the Holocaust”, held in Sarajevo on June 20-21, 2019:
„With this mind, let me state unequivocally that I join the European Union, the Peace Implementation Council and other members of the international community in condemning the recent acts of Republic Srpska in seeking to annul the 2004 report on the Srebrenica genocide and in setting up two new commissions, with the aim of rewriting the history of those tragic events back in 1995. I have a message for the leaders of Republic Srpska who have been actively attempting to distort the truth of the genocide for two and half decades: You have not succeeded, otherwise you would not be intensifying your efforts now. And you will continue to fail. Not only because the judgements of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Mechanism and the highest court in the world, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), have established time and again that what had happened in Srebrenica amounted to genocide, but also because the facts will continue to speak for themselves. The story told by the evidence will outlive any political discourse of the moment. The international community has seen Srpska realize that the actions of their politicians will result in isolation. Furthermore, they will hamper the chances of Bosnia and Herzegovina joining the European Union and deprive future generations of the opportunity and prosperity this would provide. I have a second message for these politicians: If for a moment you thought that the closure of the ICTY would give new impetus to your campaign of denial, you have badly miscalculated. As the President, I can promise you that the Mechanism will continue to deliver justice, protect victims, and condemn those who would suppress the truth“, Aguis Carmel concluded his warning with a final message of his Keynote speech: “We must leave no stone unturned in our efforts to isolate the deniers. They will continue to lie, but in time, through our efforts, they will be diminished. History is on side of justice, and we will prevail”.
Today I release the letter I wrote to Prof. Asher Cohen, President of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, on May 19, 2019, asking him to stop a member of his University to be on the side of injustice, to be the side of the deniers of Genocide and Holocaust, to be on the wrong side of history. I am sure Prof. Asher Cohen acted appropriately for the sake of truth, justice, peace and reconsolidation. This letter which I am releasing today is just one more reminder to Prof. Asher Cohen as well as to the Jewish World Congress that we are together in our fight against the deniers of Genocide and Holocaust. Thus, we should not fail each other! We should not betray each other because we understand each other more than any other nation in the world because we share the unique experience of Genocide and Holocaust in Europe.
Sarajevo, May 15, 2019
Prof. Asher Cohen
President of the Hebrew University
Dear Prof. Cohen,
Greeting you from the City of Sarajevo, which is well known for its Sarajevo Haggadah as well as for its saving the Sephardic Jews from the Spanish Inquisition in 1492, I hope this letter finds you in good health and mood.
I am Mustafa Ceric, the former Grand Mufti of Bosnia (1993-2012). I am also a member of the Elijah Interfaith Institute in Jerusalem and a member of the Board of Trustees of Peace Forum headed by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah in Abu Dhabi. I have obtained your e-mail address from a good friend of mine in Jerusalem.
I am addressing this letter to you as the President of the Hebrew University assuming that it is committed to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Namely, that it is committed to the truth of Nazi Holocaust against the Jewish people as well as to the rejection of denial of Genocide against any people in the world.
Thus, I would like to bring to your good attention that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has proven beyond reasonable doubt that Genocide was committed in Srebrenica on July 11, 1995. Later on, the Commission for Srebrenica was formed on December 15, 2003 by the Decision of the Government of the ”Republika Srpska” (a Bosnian Entity with Serb majority) for the investigation of events in and around Srebrenica from 10 to 19 July 1995. The Commission consisted of 7 members, of whom the Government of the ”Republika Srpska” appointed five members – Serbs, while two members were nominated by the High Representatives for Bosnia-Herzegovina (OHR) Paddy Ashdown: Gordon Bacon, as the representative of the International Community, and prof. dr. Smail Čekić as the representative of the community of survivors of Srebrenica Genocide.
The working group and the Srebrenica Commission have achieved very important results: firstly, it established the number and identity of “participants in the events in and around Srebrenica from 10th to 19th July 1995 “, i.e. perpetrators of the crime of Genocide. Those are more than 25,000 individuals, including “individuals who were personally responsible for specific events in and around Srebrenica, including those responsible for ordering and committing executions”. Based on numerous sources, the Commission has identified the number and identity of victims – 8,742 victims – (for 7,108 names “dates of disappearance or death are within the period from 10 to 19 July 1995, including 10 and 19 July 1995”, for 698 names, “at least one date of disappearance is outside the period from 10 to 19 July, with that date being in July 1995”, and 936 persons for whom “at least one disappearance date is within the given period, out of 10 until July 19, 1995, and they stayed out of July 1995. “). The ”Republika Srpska” Government has fully accepted the Reports of the Srebrenica Commission and all its recommendations, which the ”Republika Srpska” has acknowledged (“…Acceptance and confrontation with the fact that some members of the Serb people committed the crime in Srebrenica in July 1995…”), its responsibility for the planning and for deliberate liquidation of Bosniaks. The above Reports were submitted by the Government of the ”Republika Srpska” to the Human Rights Commission at the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to the High Representative Paddy Ashdown and to the President of the ”Republika Srpska”.
After publishing the first report of the Srebrenica Commission (July 11, 2004), the ”Republika Srpska” President Dragan Čavić, in his public television appearance, referring to the findings of the Commission, on behalf of the ”Republika Srpska” administration, informed the public with the scope of crimes confessed the committed crimes and publicly apologized for them. The OHR commended the work of the Srebrenica Commission.
This was a good step toward a genuine reconciliation in Bosnia. Unfortunately, recent formation of an Ad-hoc Commission by the Government of ”Republika Srpska” with the aim of revising and denying the results of the above-mentioned Commission for Srebrenica is a blunt provocation and a flagrant contempt of the pain and suffering of the victims of the Srebrenica Genocide. And the signs that this revisionist Commission would eventually lead to denial of Genocide are worrisome and demand our prompt reaction because of the notion that denial of the sentenced Genocide beyond reasonable doubt might lead to its repetition, and thus our cry “Never Again” would be nugatory.
Here is the list of members of the Commission, with an Israeli historian, who seems to me to be a quasi-historian, as its Chairman:
[The Government of the Republic of Srpska nominated the following persons to the Independent International Commission for investigating the sufferings of all people in the Srebrenica Region in the 1992-1995 period:
1) Gideon Greif, Israeli historian and Holocaust researcher, Chairman
2) Adenrele Shinaba from Nigeria, Member
3) Yuki Osa, Member
4) Roger Bayard from Australia, Member
5) Zheng Yi from China, Member
6) Giuseppe Zaccharia from Italy, Member
7) Markus Goldbach from Germany, Member
8) Laurence Armand French, from the United States, Member
9) Marija Djuric from Serbia, Member]
However, what is more striking is the fact that a member of your renowned University was named as the Chairman of this Phantom Commission aimed at denial of the truth about Genocide and the revision of the case of the City of Sarajevo, the city that was besieged by the Serb forces for 1425 days, the siege that was longer than the siege of Stalingrad. Here is the list of the members of the Commission, with the member of your University Rafael Israeli as its Chairman:
[The Government of the Republic of Srpska nominated the following persons as members of the Independent International Commission for Investigating the Sufferings of Serbs in Sarajevo during the 1991-1995 periods:
1) Rafael Israeli, professor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an expert in the history of radical Islamism, Chairman
2) Walter Manoshek from Austria, Member
3) Laurence Armand French from the United States, Member
4) Darko Tanaskovic from Serbia, Member
5) Giuseppe Zaccharia from Italy, Member
6) Victor Bezruchenko from Russia, Member
7) Patrick Bario, from France, Member]
It is not difficult to conclude that the member of your University, Rafael Israeli, was not named because he is a specialist on Bosnia or the City of Sarajevo. For, as Rathenau noted circa 1921: “There are no specialists; there are only vested interest”. And the “vested interest” here is to use, or rather, to abuse the name of your University as well as the name of Holocaust for an unethical and immoral result.
I am afraid that Prof. Rafael Israeli is not fully aware of this hazardous engagement of his in an area with which he is not familiar, but is used as the tool for political manipulation, which neither he nor your University needs nor deserves it. I hope he will reply to my invitation to meet in Sarajevo in order to explain to him that denial of the Srebrenica and Sarajevo Genocide automatically induces the denial of Holocaust and that it is by no means acceptable for any reasonable person, let alone by someone coming from the renowned Hebrew University in Jerusalem. And, also, I am willing to visit your University to speak to you, Prof. Cohen, and to Prof. Rafael Israeli to help you understand that this manipulation of your name is against your academic and moral reputation. You neither need it, nor you deserve it.
Thus, as an official of high academic and moral standards, I would like you to raise your good voice on behalf of the Hebrew University against the participation of your member in this Phantom Commission, which is premeditated for the denial of Genocide that was committed against the Bosnian people and sentenced by the International Court in The Hague. This would be not only a blunt contempt of the international law, but also a scorn of human decency. I am sure that we share the common view that this behavior is neither morally nor humanly acceptable and that, therefore, it must be strongly condemned and stopped.
In trust of your good heart and your deep feeling and compassion toward the victims of Holocaust and Genocide, I remain faithful and grateful to your decent judgment and your right vision for our common humanity.
Mustafa Ceric, Ph. D.
Grand Mufti Emeritus
Street Hazima Šabanovića, br. 4