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    Anti-Semitism in European Politics and Concurrent Damage Control Efforts

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    Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, one of the latest European politicians to be accused of anti-Semitism by a Jewish minister, rejected the charge, calling it "irresponsible."

    Romania

    Iohannis, who refused the appointment of the Former Minister of Business Affairs for the role of the new Development Minister, said Ilan Laufer's comments were "inadmissible for the memory of the Holocaust to be sullied via such attacks". 

    President Iohannis announced on Tuesday that he has issued the gov't reshuffle decree, which omitted the candidacies of Ilan Laufer and Lia Vasilescu, the former Minister of Labour.

    Romanian President Klaus Iohannis
    © AFP 2018 / DANIEL MIHAILESCU
    Romanian President Klaus Iohannis

    Laufer hit back at Iohannis, suggesting his decision was "a new act of anti-Semitism," adding that the Romanian president regularly made anti-Semitic statements, blocked the appointment of a Romanian ambassador to Israel and opposed the move of Bucharest's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

    European states have seen a rise in political scandals over anti-Semitic sentiment, including cases in Austria and the United Kingdom.

    Austria

    In Austria, the right-wing Freedom Party (FPO), a junior partner in a coalition with the government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, has been boycotted by Israel. Austria's Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl has been boycotted by Israel due to her affiliation with FPO, Tel Aviv withdrew its ambassador in Vienna and reduced the level of its relations with Austria.

    Chancellor Kurz has been making efforts to reverse these measures and announced earlier in November the visit of Benjamin Netanyahu to attend a conference centred on the fight against anti-Semitism.

    The Israeli PM, however, had to cancel what would have been the first by an Israel prime minister to Austria's capital since 1997 due to domestic political developments.

    Britain

    The United Kingdom saw a rise of one of the biggest political scandals over anti-Semitism in the last two years. One of the two main parties, Labour, has been embroiled in scores of anti-Semitic accusations over abuse and commentary.      

    Britain's opposition Labour party Leader Jeremy Corbyn gives a thumbs up as he arrives at Labour Party headquarters in central London on June 9, 2017.
    © AFP 2018 / Daniel Leal-Olivas
    Britain's opposition Labour party Leader Jeremy Corbyn gives a thumbs up as he arrives at Labour Party headquarters in central London on June 9, 2017.
    In July 2018, Labour accepted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of antisemitism and in September agreed to adopt the IHRA code in full, safeguarding, however, the right to criticise the actions of the Israeli government.

    READ MORE: 'On the Wrong Side': Labour Party's New Anti-Semitism Code Draws Criticism

    Related:

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    'Europe is Turning Nazi' Amid Right-Wing Politicians’ Rise to Power - NGO
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    anti-Semitism, United Kingdom, Romania, Austria
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