U.S. Ambassador to Bucharest Hans Klemm states that those who oppose liberalism and embrace economic nationalism are once again seeking to attack and demonise the Jews in Europe and elsewhere and are doing so directly but also indirectly, by attacking multinational companies and “making allegations about the alleged and presumed infamous Jewish links” of legitimate enterprises, to create animosity and to present nefarious conclusions. He states that the recrudescence of this anti-Semitic discourse, accompanied by the economic transformations caused by globalisation, represents fertile ground for those who are trying to manipulate public opinion and drive Romania away from the foundation of its Euro-Atlantic principles.
The U.S. ambassador made the statements on Monday, the National Day for the Commemoration of the Holocaust, at the ceremonies that took place at the Holocaust Memorial.
The American diplomat said that anti-Semitism has been present in Europe in various forms for hundreds of years, maybe a millennium, however for almost 50 years after the Second World War the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust served as an obstacle to anti-Semitism on the whole continent.
“And yet, today, those who oppose liberalism and embrace economic nationalism are once again seeking to attack and demonise the Jews in Europe and elsewhere. They are doing so directly, through nationalistic demonstrations and the vandalising of memorials and cemeteries. But they are also doing so indirectly, by attacking multinational companies and by making allegations about the alleged and presumed infamous Jewish links of legitimate enterprises, with the purpose of creating animosity and of presenting nefarious conclusions. The recrudescence of this anti-Semitic discourse, accompanied by the economic transformations caused by globalisation, represents fertile ground for those who are trying to manipulate public opinion and drive Romania away from the foundation of its Euro-Atlantic principles,” Hans Klemm stated.
He said this animosity is aggravated by the spreading of all kinds of fake news that make their way from the Internet into public discourse, and such fake news have a single purpose – to divide us, to weaken our institutions and to polarise our societies.
“Politicians and journalists who give in to the temptation of using these scenarios are probably doing so out of opportunism, feeling that there is the chance of short-term gain even though they do not necessarily believe in those scenarios. But this opportunism is eventually devastating. And through it, the work of our enemies, of those who are trying to harm us, is in fact being carried out. The marginal, xenophobic and racist wing of the far right might be involved. It might be Russia’s noxious influence. It might be those who are trying to divide communities through agitations of strident economic nationalism. They are all seeking to weaken our partnerships and our transatlantic orientation for their own hostile goals,” the U.S. ambassador said.
According to him, the only answer to this threat is to identify these scenarios and to resist them, and those who unintentionally disseminate them should be made to understand what is really happening.
“Because only by resisting, by countering this recourse to people’s primary instincts, can we bring back balance to Europe and the world. Just like we committed ourselves to never forgetting the nightmare of the Holocaust, we must be vigilant in preventing the current and future attacks against cultural and religious minorities. We must not allow these people to be made into scapegoats by those who feel frustrated by a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected,” Klemm added.
President Iohannis: Honouring Holocaust victims is proof of Romania accepting its past
President Klaus Iohannis has underscored on Monday that honouring the victims of the Holocaust is a proof that Romania accepts its past.
“Honouring the victims of the Holocaust is proof that Romania accepts its past and positions itself on the side of democratic values,” reads a presidential message delivered by presidential advisor Andrei Muraru to an event that remembered the victims of the Holocaust.
According to him, Romania has proved that it can be considered a regional leader as far as preserving the Holocaust remembrance goes.
Iohannis mentioned in his message, delivered on October 9, the Holocaust Remembrance Day in Romania, the progresses which Romania recorded over the past years with recovering the memory of the Holocaust on an educational level and legislatively by adopting consistent legislation in fighting anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.
He added that, although extremist tendencies don’t take root in the Romanian society, it cannot be completely immune to “these toxic temptations.”
Only by defending democratic values and the rights of the others, can people live in peace and harmony, Iohannis said in his message.
He mentioned that on Monday it is 76 years since the massive deportation of Jews in Transnistria started, where they were forced to live in ghettos and concentration camps.
Vice-President of the Romanian Senate Niculae Badalau, also attending the event, said that the Holocaust represented one of the most serious problems in history.
“The progresses that Romania has made so far with the research, education and remembrance of the Holocaust are a fundamental sign of the maturing and democratisation of the Romanian society,” Badalau said.
In his turn, MP Silviu Vexler delivered a message from of Speaker of the Deputies’ Chamber Liviu Dragnea.
“By bringing the past back into the spotlight we are all painfully aware of the fact that currently we, yet again, live moments when anti-Semitism, hatred and intolerance continue to exist,” Vexler said.
He added that nothing can justify indifference when it leads to affecting the lives and dignity of other human beings.
According to him, Romania continues to encourage the annihilation of any extremist actions and promote tolerance and democracy.