Photo by: Reuters
Nationalist leader drops candidacy for Romanian high court amid anti-Semitism concerns
By SAM SOKOL
Jewish groups had expressed outrage that Lucian Bolcas, former VP of Greater Romania party, had been candidate for top judicial spot.
A former Romanian nationalist leader dropped out of the running for a slot on his country’s Constitutional Court on Monday amid accusations of anti-Semitism.
Lucian Bolcas was vice president of the right wing Greater Romania (Romania Mare) party until his expulsion from the faction as a result of an internal dispute in 2010. Romania Mare’s founder Corneliu Vadim Tudor renounced anti-Semitism in 2003 but later relapsed, stating on television last year that “in Romania there was never a Holocaust.”
The news that Tudor’s former deputy was in the running for the top judicial slot enraged Jewish groups.
Romanian anti-Semitism watchdog MCA decried the nomination, saying that government statements reaffirming its determination to combat anti-Semitism “would be proved false if Mr. Bolcas is appointed as a judge.”
Bolcas, MCA alleged in a statement, “has shown full commitment to the anti-Semitic and racist ideas of his mentor, Mr Vadim Tudor. We do not have any indication that he regrets these commitments.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center also condemned Bolcas’s nomination.
Bolcas’s appointment “would make a mockery of the declarations by Romania’s leaders that they will not tolerate anti-Semitism,” the center’s Dr.
Efraim Zuroff told The Jerusalem Post.
“The withdrawal of the candidacy of Lucien Bolcas as a judge on the Romanian Constitutional Court is an important victory for the fight against anti-Semitism in Romania as well as in the struggle for ensuring the accuracy of the historical narrative of World War II and the Holocaust,” Zuroff said Tuesday.
The furor over Bolcas comes only days after the government condemned a Romanian television network broadcast featuring a Christmas carol celebrating the Holocaust. Sung by the Dor Transilvan ensemble, the carol featured the lyrics: “The kikes, damn kikes, Holy God would not leave the kike alive, neither in heaven nor on earth, only in the chimney as smoke, this is what the kike is good for, to make kike smoke through the chimney on the street.”
Last year, Dan Sova, a Romanian politician who said that Romanians never participated in the persecution of Jews during World War II was appointed minister for parliamentary affairs.
On Friday, after opposition to his candidacy first materialized, Bolcas tried to shed his image as an anti-Semite, telling a television audience that he was close friends with Aurel Vainer, the president of the Romanian Jewish Federation.
Vainer denied such a relationship, telling Spiegel Online that “of course” he was not friends with Bolcas, but insisting that he had not personally experienced any anti-Semitic harassment from the lawmaker.
JTA contributed to this report.
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