Antisemitism report in Romania in times of pandemic 2021-2022
The Elie Wiesel National Holocaust Research Institute published the latest report on antisemitism in Romania. The report summarizes the evolution of antisemitic, hateful and Holocaust-denying expressions over the past one-year period (the period between May 2021 and April 2022). The analysis also monitors the hate speech appearing online and the extreme, antisemitic expressions present in the public.
The context of the pandemic, vaccination campaigns, the increase in reported cases of antisemitism and the introduction of the history of the Holocaust as a curriculum were the main factors that contributed to the increase of offline and online hate speech in the past year, according to the press release of the Elie Wiesel Institute. At the same time, the report devotes more space to the activities and position of the extreme party AUR.
The previous alarm signals about the presence of antisemitism in Romania did not slow down the spread of extremist messages, on the contrary, these manifestations adapted to the new topics present in public discourse, connecting the denial of the Holocaust with antisemitism and confirming the theory that those who thematize the phenomenon actually only want Romania’s reputation. mudslinging, along the lines of various political interests or even serving “foreign powers”, the report states.
According to their summary, there are still examples of damage to Jewish memorials in Romania, glorification of former legionnaires, people convicted of war crimes or people known for their extreme behavior, trivialization of the memory of the Holocaust victims, but antisemitic messages also occur in the parliament.
The most important conclusions of the report:
- At the level of the central authorities, the commitment to the fight against extremism has been strengthened by adopting a national strategy to prevent and combat antisemitism, xenophobia, radicalization and hate speech, and by introducing subjects on the history of the Jews and the Holocaust in Romania.
- At the same time, at the level of local officials, judges, and structures responsible for the implementation of laws and measures adopted by parliament and the government, there is still a lack of knowledge, insufficient attention is paid to the problem, and a lack of a responsible attitude, which makes it difficult to implement the measures formulated by the central authorities. implementation of measures. As an example, they mention that because of this, there are still streets named after war criminals or monuments erected to them in Romania. With the exception of one case (when the local council of Constanta decided to rename Mareșal Ion Antonescu street), the list of them published by the press in August 2021 remained unchanged until the writing of this report.
- At the level of society, extremist attitudes and behavior are further encouraged by the lack of appropriate action by the authorities.
- Hate speech continues to manifest itself prominently in the online space, such as on websites, blogs, and social networking sites, connected to current public issues (vaccination campaign, fight against antisemitism, teaching the history of Jews and the Holocaust in schools, war in Ukraine), conspiracy theories such as and popularizing ideas, such as that “Jews rule the world/Romania”.
- At the same time, although Facebook remains the most popular social networking site in Romania, which is one of the main sources of information and the main channel for public discourse, the platform has improved mechanisms for filtering and removing content that violates the law or social norms, which has resulted in users sharing antisemitic content with other , they migrate to more permissive online communication channels, such as Telegram or VK.