Former Jewish minister accuses Romanian president of anti-Semitism

A Jewish politician who was refused a cabinet appointment exchanged verbal blows with President Klaus Iohannis.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Romanian Jewish politician Ilan Laufer accused President Klaus Iohannis of anti-Semitism after being refused an appointment as regional development minister.

Iohannis pushed back, saying Laufer was “unfit” for the position, the Romania Insider reported Wednesday.

Laufer, a former Romanian business affairs minister, had expected to be appointed to the cabinet. After being passed over, he charged that Iohannis’ rejection was part of a long string of anti-Semitic actions that allegedly included sabotaging Romania’s relations with Israel and blocking the appointment of a Romanian ambassador to Israel.

“By refusing to appoint a person who has good relations with Israel and the U.S., Klaus Iohannis strengthens the belief that he only wants connections with Berlin,” Laufer stated Tuesday, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s request that Iohannis oppose moving Romania’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Laufer also referred to Iohannis’s “dubious connection” \with the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania, calling it “the successor of a Nazi organization.”

Former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu “sold Jews. Today, I have the certainty that President Iohannis also sold a Romanian Jew. I don’t know to whom and for what money,” Laufer stated.

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References to Nazism ‘irresponsible’

Laufer failed the “maturity test” by choosing to promote the “toxic propaganda” of the Social Democratic Party, Iohannis retorted.

“The references to anti-Semitism and Nazism in the political dispute are irresponsible and show serious deficiencies in education, culture, diplomacy and history,” the president said in a written statement. “People who bring such scandalous accusations automatically disqualify themselves and can’t hold high dignities in the Romanian state under any circumstances.”

Former President Traian Basescu criticized Laufer’s statement, saying it was “horrible.”

Alexandru Florian, head of Romania’s Elie Wiesel Institute, also dismissed Laufer’s comments as “cheap politicizing,” pointing to the 2017 “Light Unto Nations” award that Iohannis had received from the American Jewish Committee.