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Micah D. Halpern Headshot

Season of Tradition: Not Anti-Semitism

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December 20 2013.

Dumbstruck. Flummoxed. I cannot believe what I have just read.

I just read the lyrics of the Romania Christmas Carol performed by a folk ensemble named Dor Transilvan on Romania public television.

In the song the carolers proclaim that Jews killed Jesus. They sing that the only good Jew is a dead Jew. And then, complete with musical accompaniment, they add the words "only in the chimney." In other words, do as the Nazis did - mass murder Jews and then cremate them.

The Romanian television network was fined the equivalent of about $15,000 for engaging in a major violation of the law by airing a terribly Anti-semitic program.

Here are some of 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"

After these words were sung, the host of the program actually said "thank you" to the choral group.

There are many people who believe that the Western world has entered a post anti-Semitic era. I am often told that anti-Semitism in the West is a thing of the past and that in the today's new world anti-Semitism, especially in its traditional form, has dissipated. And then come these lyrics.

Conventional wisdom is wrong. Romania is a Western country and Traditional Jew Hatred, the ideas about the Jew that permeated the Middle Ages, is fruitful and is flourishing. Traditional Jew Hatred is a hatred that depicts the Jew as the murderer of Jesus. It is the attitude that justifies hating the Jew on theological grounds. It is the belief that one defends Jesus by hating his murderers.

Classic forms of Traditional Jew Hatred throughout the ages included Blood Libel, the Poisoning of the Wells and Host Desecration. All embrace the idea that Jews continued to reenact the killing of Jesus. Modern times in the Western world saw the rise of new forms of Jew Hatred, turning the gut level emotion in a science of anti-Semitism. The new science proved, through eugenics, that the Jew was inferior. The new science used the arenas of culture and language to prove the superiority of one culture over another. Aryan Volk, for example, was superior to all others - especially superior to Jewish culture. Adolf Hitler blended the old and the new and created the most ugly recipe inscribed into history, ancient or modern, for Jew hatred and mass murder.

This Romanian Christmas carol televised as part of a Christmas seasonal celebration is a sad example of a society that has not stood up against modern anti-Semitic trends creeping through Europe. As shocking as the lyrics themselves is the response of the program's host and staff.

Nobody was repulsed or sickened by the song. There was no condemnation. Rather than whisk the performers off stage with the proverbial hook used in vaudeville, rather than bleeping out the words and going quickly to commercial, rather than being red-faced and embarrassed. these carolers were, publicly and on air, thanked.

Aside from the cultural committee that fined the national public TV station one has to ask who makes decisions at that network? What are their criteria? Is repeating age old hatred, embracing Nazi murder policy and applauding Hitler's mass murder of the Jews of Europe acceptable? And where was the public outcry - the letters, the protests, the editorials?

There were 600,000 Jews living in Romania before World War II. Hitler murder 287,000 of them.
Nearly half of the Jewish population was murdered by the Nazis and the Romanians and Romania officially became part of the Axis powers in 1940. After the War the Soviets became the chief influencers in Romania and there was no teaching or discussion of the history of anti-Semitism. Until five years ago, in 2008, there was no official educational curriculum in Romania that even mentioned the Holocaust.

Five years later, the Holocaust is not only being taught about, it is being perversely sung about. Christmas is a time to remember tradition - but not the tradition of anti-Semitism.