Byford, J. and Billig, M.
The emergence of antisemitic conspiracy theories in Yugoslavia during the war with NATO.
Patterns of Prejudice, 35(4),
Byford and Billig examine the emergence of antisemitic conspiracy theories in the Yugoslav media during the war with NATO. The analysis focuses mainly on Politika, a mainstream daily newspaper without a history of antisemitism. During the war, there was a proliferation of conspiratorial explanations of western policies both in the mainstream Serbian media and in statements by the Yugoslav political establishment. For the most part such conspiracy theories were not overtly antisemitic, but rather focused on the alleged aims of organizations such as the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. However, these conspiracy theories were not created de novo; writers in the Yugoslav media were drawing on an established tradition of conspiratorial explanations. The tradition has a strong antisemitic component that seems to have affected some of the Yugoslav writings. Byford and Billig analyse antisemitic themes in the book The Trilateral by Smilja Avramov and in a series of articles published in Politika. They suggest that the proliferation of conspiracy theories during the war led to a shifting of the boundary between acceptable and non-acceptable political explanations, with the result that formerly unacceptable antisemitic themes became respectable. This can be seen in the writings of Nikolaj Velimirovic, the Serbian bishop whose mystical antisemitic ideas had previously been beyond the bounds of political respectability. During the war, his ideas found a wider audience, indicating a weakening of political constraints against such notions.
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