Holocaust Museum Director Defends Romanian President Accused of anti-Semitism

Romanian ex-business minister Ilan Laufer calls Romanian president anti-Semitic after the president rejected his appointment to become the development minister

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Romanian President Klaus Iohannis (right) speaks next to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (left) during the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Bucharest, Romania, September 18, 2018.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis (right) speaks next to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (left) during the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Bucharest, Romania, September 18, 2018.Credit: INQUAM PHOTOS / REUTERS

Jewish leaders have defended Romania's President Klaus Iohannis after a politician he refused to appoint as minister accused him of anti-Semitism.

Iohannis, who signs off on ministerial appointments, on Tuesday rejected two nominees including ex-business minister Ilan Laufer, who was selected to be development minister by the government.

Laufer, a Romanian Jew, hit back calling the president anti-Semitic.

>> Romania distributes $10m to Holocaust survivors after years of foot-dragging

Washington Holocaust Memorial Museum Director Radu Ioanid told The Associated Press Wednesday "the accusation doesn't hold water."

He said Iohannis "supports our work in Europe and Romania combatting Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism."

Iohannis also condemned Laufer for "using such sensitive terms for political gain."

Later Wednesday, Liviu Dragnea, leader of the governing Social Democratic Party, publicly distanced himself from Laufer's remarks.

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