Israel’s ambassador to Croatia angers Serbia

Serbia on Monday slammed Israel for congratulating Croatia on the occasion of Victory Day, The Times of Israel online newspaper reported.

“What happened to the Serbs in Croatia, who lived there for centuries, during the Operation Storm on August 4 in 1995 is, unfortunately, the biggest exodus of one ethnic group in Europe after World War II,” Serbia’s ambassador to Israel, Milutin Stanojevic, told the website.

“To congratulate this pogrom to those who celebrate it every year as ‘Victory Day’ or ‘restoring sovereignty’ is against the basic human principles of modern societies. Coming from an Israeli representative, it is more than ironic and sad,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, Israel’s ambassador in Zagreb, Ilan Mor, had published a tweet in honor of Victory Day. “Congratulations to Croatia on the 24th anniversary of Operation Storm, which restored its sovereignty in the Homeland War. Congratulations also on the occasion of Victory & Homeland Thanksgiving Day,” he wrote.

Later in the day, a spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that “in light of the sensitivity, the tweet was changed to correctly reflect the intentions of the ambassador and the State of Israel.”

Mor’s new tweet omitted any reference to Victory Day or Operation Storm.

This is not the first time Serbia was disappointed with Israel’s handling of the occasion.

Last year, two Israeli F-16s participated in Croatia’s victory celebration together with Croatian MiG-21s, which in turn drew criticism from Belgrade.