Dr. Blerjana Bino, Executive Director of SCiDEV is part of the Beaconproject of the International Republic Institute that has published a new research study: Antisemitic Discourse in the Western Balkans. IRI’s Beacon Project adapted methodologies and tools used for tracking and identifying disinformation to analyze online antisemitic narratives. Working with local researchers (Blerjana Bino Principal Author for the case of Albania), the publication provides a baseline analysis of the state and character of antisemitism in the Western Balkans.
The purpose of this publication is to provide a complex analysis of antisemitism in the Western Balkans. In cooperation with a team of researchers, the International Republican Institute (IRI) conducted online media monitoring to determine the most common narratives related to antisemitism and the relationship between Western Balkan societies and the local and international Jewish community. The publication contains seven country case studies analyzing online media narratives in the light of each country’s specific historical, legal, and societal background. The aim is to provide information that can be used to assess resilience against antisemitism and hate speech and recommend solutions for identified policy gaps.
For the case of Albania, Jewish heritage, history, and connections with Albania are memorialized in various forms, such as museums, memorials, conferences, publications, documentaries, and public events. Albania prides itself on being a country free of antisemitic sentiment and discrimination against Jews. The media monitoring found traces of rhetorical antisemitism, primarily through conspiracy theories regarding Jewish people controlling the world order and economy and, most frequently, about Hungarian philanthropist George Soros’s impact on Albanian political developments. The link between the conspiracy narrative and hate speech against George Soros, and allegations about Jews and their power as a collective is not always self-evident. Anti-Soros rhetoric exacerbates the antagonism between left and right political actors in Albania, their allies, and their supporters. It also aggravates the existing vulnerability of average citizens to disinformation and conspiracy theories. For more read the full chapter on Albania here.