Bulgaria: ‘Lukov March’ and the Definition of Antisemitism

In the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, a big Nazi event, the so-called Lukov March, will take place this Saturday. Some politicians have tried to prevent it from going ahead. Among them are Yordanka Fandakova, the Mayor of Sofia, who banned it. But a court has annulled the ban, paving the way for the procession to go ahead.

Bulgaria seems divided on the question whether that Nazi march should be allowed or not. Most of those who say it should not happen mention antisemitism as the main reason.

But what is antisemitism? Everyone involved in any discussion should know.

Generally speaking, honoring someone like General Lukov, who worked on stripping Jews of their rights, and whose organisation was built on antisemitism, is antisemitic.

But let’s look at this in a more detailed way:

Antisemitism is the word for hating Jews. This is the simple explanation. But there are different levels, also there is hidden and open antisemitism. In addition, there are certain statements which in many cases point towards antisemitism:

“I am not antisemitic, but I will not let my child marry a Jew.”

This kind of statement is clearly antisemitic. Wanting to exclude Jews from being children-in-law, neighbors, colleagues or anything is a good example, since it clearly identifies an antisemitic attitude.

“Jews control Wall Street. But not all Jews are bad. My neighbor is Jewish, and a good guy.”

This kind of statement is actually more than antisemitic, since it contains at least two known forms of antisemitism. First of all, there is the usual conspiracy theory about Jews controlling the financial world and what not. Secondly, there is an implication according to which at least many Jews are bad somehow. This one exception is supposed to show the person who said so is not antisemitic. Well, it doesn’t.

“Hitler also did some good things. He built the Autobahn and created jobs.”

This is like saying this: “The man who just killed my spouse also has positive traits. He greeted me after the murder and I liked his jacket.” When a dictator like Hitler, and his willing executioners, attack and conquer half the continent, murder six million Jews, as well as tens of thousands of Roma, homosexuals and political enemies in death camps, then it does not really matter whether he built roads or what else he might have done.

“Hristo Lukov was a war hero.”

Hristo Lukov is known for having founded and headed an antisemitic organisation, that he supported laws which stripped Jews of their rights and that he wholeheartedly supported Nazi Germany’s plans, which included the deportation and murder of Jews. This statement, which does not include the main aspect Lukov was known for, is antisemitic. Trying to conceal antisemitism in a cheap way is antisemitism.

Let’s look at it more scientifically: Antisemitism is hate towards Jews. It is not new, but the exact opposite. Even in the Middle Ages, and hundreds of years before, Jews were considered dirty. They were not allowed to become farmers. They were attacked, excluded, discriminated, murdered.

There are different forms of antisemitism:

> Religious antisemistism

(Example: “The Jewish religion is just wrong. But Chrisianity and Islam are o.k..”)

> Antisemitism based on economical aspects

Since Jews could not be farmers or state-employees in the Middle Ages and afterwards, they had to create other jobs for themselves. Many became moneychangers. Today, some prominent bankers and investors are Jewish, but many are Christian, Muslim or members of other religions. Singling out the Jews in this profession and calling them greedy or bad in any way, is antisemitic.

> Antisemitism based on race

Nazi Germany created the sick “science of race”, which was supposed to prove that “Aryans” were superior, while Jews were inferior. The original Nazis actually spread all forms of antisemitism, including this one.

> Antisemitism based on conspiracy theories

(Example: “The Jews control everything.”)

Today, many antisemites try to hide their attitude behind what they call “criticizing Israel”. They say Israel was occupying Gaza, which it isn’t, the Israelis were killing Palestinian children in order to drink their blood, which of course they do not, that they were poisoning the water for the Palestinians, which they are not, that they are stealing land or starting wars, which they are not, and so forth.

Criticizing Israel for certain policies alone is not necessarily antisemitic. But criticizing Israel exclusively, while not talking about countries who actually abuse Human Rights, is.

Taking part in the Lukov March, or relativizing an event of this kind, is clearly antisemitic.


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