The US Embassy in Romania sharply criticized the country's state television network for broadcasting the anti-Semitic Christmas carol.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
In a statement Thursday, the embassy called the song "an unacceptable display of anti-Semitism that must be condemned in the strongest, most unequivocal terms."
TVR3 Verde, a Romanian television channel for rural communities, presented the carol which features anti-Semitic lyrics, including highly offensive words about Jews and the Holocaust.
The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in Romania and the Israeli Embassy in Bucharest also criticized TVR3 for broadcasting the carol on December 5. Its lyrics use a pejorative word for Jews, say God should not let them live on Earth, and suggests they should be burned.
MCA Romanian has also written to the Romanian president and prime minister voicing its shock over the offensive broadcast.
Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean condemned the carol.
The company that broadcast the carol said they were not responsible as they only air songs that are chosen and compiled by the Center for Preservation and Promotion of Traditional Culture.
During World War II, hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed in Romania and areas it controlled as an ally of Nazi Germany. Romania only began to commemorate the Holocaust in 2004.
ADL: Issue part of larger societal problem
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the carol featured a folk tune about the “damn kikes” who should be burned. The Jewish group said the segment was a “perverse” display and “reminiscent of the anti-Semitism that pervaded Romania prior to and during the war, which led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Jews in the Holocaust.”
ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman welcomed a statement from Romania’s foreign minister calling on his government’s National Audiovisual Council and other public entities to investigate and punish those responsible for the broadcast. But he added that an investigation was only the first step in addressing a larger societal problem.
“This pastoral scene of Romanian carolers singing perverse, bigoted and vicious anti-Semitic lyrics utterly shocks the conscience,” Foxman said. “Something is wrong in a society where virulent anti-Semitism masquerading as Christmas cheer could appear on public television and no one blinks.
"It is a throwback reminiscent of the anti-Semitism that pervaded Romania prior to and during the war, which led to the death of tens of thousands of Jews in the Holocaust.”
Foxman added, “The initial steps taken by the Romanian authorities are welcome, but stand in stark contrast to the shamelessness of the carolers and the failure of the TV host who simply thanked the group for their performance. Clearly, more needs to be done by Romanian political, civic and religious leaders to remind all Romanians that expressions of anti-Semitism, bigotry and prejudice of all kinds present a danger to Romanian society.”
On Thursday, Romania’s National Audiovisual Council fined Romanian Public Television 50,000 lei (approximately $15,500) for airing the broadcast, in which a folk ensemble, Dor Transilvan, sang the Christmas carol which included the lyrics:
“A beautiful child was born/ His name was Jesus Christ/ All the world worships him / But the kikes / Damn kikes / Holy God would not leave the kike alive / Either in the sky or on the 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.”
According to the ADL, the television station which broadcast the Christmas carol performance live as part of its show on winter religious traditions in Romanian villages issued an apology on December 11, expressing “deep regret” for the carol with “anti-Semitic expressions.”