Antisemitism in Slovenia’s State-Sponsored Media Is a Major Problem
by Anel Bisaki
For numerous years, it has become clear that various “alternative media sites,” inefficiently moderated social networks, fringe groups’ discussion forums, and unregulated blog posts have become a destination of choice for different extremist groups, conspiracy theorists, frustrated individuals, and even terrorists. Consequently, a growing number of corners of the Internet have become the perfect hotbeds of hate speech, fake news, xenophobia, antisemitism, racism, misogynism, and more.
However, in the Republic of Slovenia, a small Central European country with just two million citizens, it is sadly the country’s state-sponsored broadcasting agency that has been spreading this hate.
The state agency, named Radiotelevizija Slovenija (“Radio-television of Slovenia”) or RTV Slovenija, has been spreading antisemitism, fake news, extremism, hate-mongering, xenophobia, anti-Israeli defamation, conspiracy theories, the worship of political and religious extremism, and praise of violence, terrorism, authoritarianism, and more. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has already issued an alert about the problem.
For the most part of its history, since its foundation in 1928, the official media house of the Slovenian state has been primarily financed by the mandatory monthly contributions from the Slovenian taxpayers; Slovenian legislation explicitly requires every adult Slovenian citizen with a TV set in his/her possession to pay an obligatory monthly allowance of at least 12,75 euro.
Over the past few decades, there have been many political disagreements, troubling discussions, and public polemics about the role of RTV Slovenija in modern times, the media content that it should be required to provide, the (in)appropriate work of its editorial office, and its supposed inappropriate use for advancing the political agendas of different Slovenian political parties and their affiliated groups.
Despite this, almost nobody seemed willing to pay attention to the concerning rise of evidently inappropriate content, including hate speech, fake news, biased content, antisemitism, and anti-Israeli defamation.
One person who has played a crucial role in the process of conceiving, writing, and publishing the articles with such horrific content is a long-time RTV Slovenija employee known by the name Boris Vasev, a notorious journalist working at the External Affairs unit of the Multimedia Centre of the RTV Slovenija.
Vasev, who has since the onset of his journalistic career held extremist political positions and uses his free time to hurl insults at different individuals on social media, has managed to build for himself a reputation of a Middle Eastern media pundit mainly focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has done this despite a lack of appropriate academic credentials, and his reporting is frequently distorted, biased, historically inaccurate, hateful, and clearly one-sided, with a strong tendency of sowing division and hatred against Israel.
Slovenia’s state media outlets are supposed to be non-partisan and ideologically balanced, but Vasev has abused that trust, and used it so smear and defame the Jewish state.
He has slandered the State of Israel with derogatory terms, such as “apartheid regime of Jewish supremacy,” “the project of Jewish settler colonialism,” “a country that found inspiration in the South Africa`s apartheid policies,” alongside such disgusting statements as “Jewish people [do] not have a right of self-determination and their sovereign statehood,” and that “antisemitism and Zionism had the same goal, that was, [ethnically] cleanse Europe of the Jews.”
He also stated that “the 1972 Olympic games massacre has been one of the greatest achievements of the Palestinian people … and a 100 percent success from a propaganda point of view…”, and advanced the ridiculous claim that “Hamas`s main foreign policy principles have been non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, independence in decision-making, finding common points, avoiding conflicting alliances and inciting hostility towards others … [in order to maintain] the Palestine as a model of coexistence, tolerance, and civilizational development.”
Many of these absurd phrases and out-of-touch statements have been cheerfully brought forward while Vasev has been conducting interviews with particularly controversial individuals from abroad, such as Daud Abdullah, Ilan Pappe, Hamid Dabashi, Bahador Aminian, Richard A. Falk, Ajamu Baraka, Bahador Aminian, and Jeff Halper.
With his shameful articles and offensive social media posts, Vasev has been propagating a sickening phenomenon commonly known as “the new antisemitism” — which has been trying to portray the State of Israel as a so-called collective Jew, and has been barely trying to hide antisemitic hatred under the guise of countless ridiculous accusations against the State of Israel, which would not be made against other democratic countries in the world.
However, if the vast part of Slovenian society has either straightforwardly ignored his articles or laughed at these “journalistic masterpieces,” Vasev has nevertheless won an enormous amount of praise and admiration from some fringe groups on the edges of Slovenian society.
Their members have mostly kept a low profile in public; however, they have been much more vocal in cyberspace, on social networks, forums, and blogs, where an uncommon coalition of Islamic fundamentalists, right-wing extremists, and left-wing radicals (also described by the term “red-green-brown “alliance) has often joined forces.
RTV Slovenia should put a stop to this, and take all the necessary measures to permanently tackle antisemitism, glorification of violence, and hate speech on its official channels. Vasev and his clique might be a relatively powerless fringe minority but, as the recent horrifying events in Serbia clearly showed, any brainwashed, angry, hate-filled, or frustrated individual with the possibility of obtaining weapons has the ability to cause immense harm and bloodshed. We shouldn’t let that happen here.
The author is writing under a pseudonym with the permission of The Algemeiner, in order to protect their identity.