'Only in the Chimney': Anti-Semitic Carol Causes Uproar in Romania

Romania's parliament building: A furor has erupted in the country after a TV channel broadcast an anti-Semitic song. Zoom
REUTERS

Romania's parliament building: A furor has erupted in the country after a TV channel broadcast an anti-Semitic song.

Advocacy groups are incensed after a Romanian government-owned channel broadcast a Christmas song glorifying the Holocaust and calling for Jews to be burned. The channel is blaming a local group for the performance.

Outrage has erupted among advocacy groups in Romania after the state channel TVR broadcast an anti-Semitic Christmas song calling for Jews to be burned in a chimney. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), the song ran on a Dec. 5 broadcast by the rural-targeted TVR3 channel.

In the broadcast, a choir was shown singing a Christmas song that indirectly glorifies the Holocaust. The song, which rhymes and uses the word "jidovi," a pejorative word for a Jew, includes the lyrics, "only in the chimney as smoke, this is what the 'jidov' is good for."

On Wednesday, Romania's Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean harshly condemned the event and called on the public prosecutor's office and parliament to bring those responsible to justice. Israel's embassy said it was "concerned" about the broadcast.

Channel Shifts Responsibility

The channel said in a statement on Thursday that it was not responsible for selecting the Christmas songs, but merely broadcasting carols selected by a cultural center dedicated to preserving the traditional culture of the northwestern Cluj region. The YouTube video of the performance shows the host thanking both the singers and the director of the cultural center and asking him about local Cluj folklore values.

MCA Romania, a non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, said it was unacceptable for the channel to evade responsibility by blaming the local organization. According to the JTA, MCA sent a complaint to Romanian President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta that said: "It is outrageous that members of the public weren't scandalized by an anti-Semitic song calling for people to burn Jews."

TVR's leadership is already in the process of being replaced as a result of an unrelated matter, after the parliament concluded on Tuesday that the station had been mismanaged. TVR head Claudiu Saftoiu and the rest of the management were relieved of their positions and replacements have yet to be found.

tmr -- with wires and reporting by Keno Verseck

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1. optional
ilsehoyle 12/13/2013
Disgusting.
2.
spon-facebook-10000337137 12/13/2013
the state televiion is under the direct political control of the SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT and prime minister Victor Ponta is just trying to ditch the blame. but this is not the end of the story, the prime minister Victor Ponta announced that next monday his party PSD will propose a known anti-Semitic advocate to the Constitutional Court
3. optional
blansf 12/14/2013
The transmission of such an anti-Semitic Carol on the state own TV3 station, was disgusting and turns the Romanian culture back to infamous 1927-1941 time frame of "the Iron Guard". It is a slap in the face of Romanian people and Romanian culture - I would like to think that today the majority of Romanians would disapprove and despise such a show and such language. I believe that the Romanian government and parliament should issue statements of strong condemnation and assure us that all the people responsible and involved with this particular show would be severely punished and will lose their ability to ever participate in any state sponsored activity. It is enough bad news about Romania in the foreign press. We don't need a bunch of Romanian Hooligans to reignite the flame of anti-Semitism!
4. optional
Hungary4change 12/18/2013
In Hungary, antisemitism is much worse than in Romania, where at least perpetrators immediately get the sack, such as in the case of the TV broadcasters. That is the proper response from any government, socialist or right-wing. In Hungary, in Eger for instance, which has long been a notoriously antisemtic and pro-Nazi town council, Fidesz (right-wing) local leaders are on tape laughingly making antisemitic remarks, and they have not been fired from their posts. In Hungary, the PM himself, Viktor Orbán, has wished his colleagues "a Jew-free goodnight". In Hungary, a known neo-Nazi has been posted as director of a major theatre, and the government disingenuously pretends to wipe its hands of the issue, as if they had nothing to do with it. In Hungary, right-wing, MP's ask for lists of Jews, and instead of being sacked immediately, they are still there, disseminating hatred, while helping themselves to huge salaries from the tax payers, many of whom are of course Jewish. In Hungary, Ambassadors from Israel arre treated to charming greetings by high-ranking Fidesz politicos, who tell them to "Get out you filthy Jew". So in Hungary, it is not the Socialist party, but Fidesz politicians, both high and low, who not only allow such crimes against human dignitiy, but covertly and overtly encourage it, while pretending to the world at large that they are helpless with putting a stop to it.
5. optional
agavril 12/20/2013
Around 1910, a good 100 years ago, an etnograf collected the incriminated carol in a 'dorf', in Transilvania. If the protesters would have been a bit less jumpy and a little more honest, thay would havwe known that a Carol collected about 100 years ago, can not possible .glorify' the holocaust. That is not to say that there are not elements, or rather, the appearance of anti-Semitism in that carol. Maibe it is also good to know that the person that approved the presentation of that song is himself a jew, which tells that he himself did not see anything wrong with that song. Anyone knowing the Romanian traditions will know also that aroud the Christmas a pig is slothered and laid on a bed of straw that is put on fire in order to burn the animal's hair, before is opened and cut in whatever. As the jews did not eat pork, they stayed away. So, as I said, thare are elements of anti-Semitism, but not what the brouhaha made it to be.
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