Hamas may have told Israel it isn’t looking for another war in Gaza, but it’s clearly desperate to advance its attack tunnels. It’s also delighted to be sowing seeds of discontent and concern among the Israeli public.04:19 13.02.16 | 0 comments
Mr. Foxman, along with Mr. Ioanid, an employee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, has demanded that the Bank of Romania withdraw a coin with the likeness of Romanian Patriarch Miron Cristea – one of a series of five coins commemorating Romania’s Patriarchs. In 1939, as prime Minister of Romania, Miron Cristea, who was an anti-Semite, signed a decree depriving 37 % of Romania’s Jews of citizenship. The demand is as absurd as would be a demand to excise the Gospel of St. John from the New Testament, prohibit the reprinting of writings of St. Ambrose, Martin Luther and Romania’s national poets, Mihail Eminescu and Vasile Alecsandri, or withdraw U.S. currency depicting Founding Fathers who owned slaves. Some historical context is in order. King Carol instituted his dictatorship in 1938, the year of Munich. Having realized that Britain and France could be counted upon from a strategic point of view, he was attempting to “Finlandize” his country, while bitterly fighting the pro-Nazi Romanian Iron Guard. He appointed the Patriarch as a prime minister to gain a semblance of legitimacy. The relatively mild anti-Semitic legislation ordered by Carol was an opportunistic move that had little to do with Miron Cristea, a mere figurehead. Mr. Ioanid deserves praise for his activities aimed to keep alive the memory of the anti-Semitic crimes perpetrated in Romania and Transnistria by the pro-Nazi Romanian authorities. But he can err, as he has in the past. When, some years ago, I asked him to support my and my cousin Liviu Librescu’s efforts to have Queen Mother Elena of Romania named a Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem, Mr. Ioanid flatly refused, informing me that "he is not a monarchist." Yad Vashem thought differently and conferred that title on the Queen who saved thousands of Jewish lives. The son of a top communist nomenklatura member, Mr. Ioanid seems not to have fully shed his Leninist upbringing and lack of sense of nuance. His wrong-headed action on the Miron Cristea coin is unhelpfully provocative and poorly timed, coming as it does shortly after President Peres’s visit to Romania, one if Israel’s strategic allies. Mr. Foxman unthinkingly jumped on Mr. Ioanid’s bandwagon. People of good faith and sound judgment -- New York City Mayor Bloomberg and Fareed Zakharia among them -- took exception to his opposition to the building of a mosque near Ground Zero, an opposition called in the New York Times a “useful idiocy,” serving Bin Laden more than the cause of freedom. Neither Mr. Foxman nor Mr. Ioanid is faring much better in the Miron Cristea coin affair. The Holocaust Museum should put in place a responsible and effective system capable of checking Mr. Ioanid, rather than letting him act as a loose gun. Mr. Ioanid represents only himself and should not use his government job to make foreign policy. He does not represent the U.S. government, the American people, or the American Jewish community. And it is high time for Mr. Foxman to retire from his job.