Romanian journalist physically attacked
By Maximillian Marco Katz
On May 17th, a Romanian journalist was verbally harassed and physically attacked. While walking the streets of Bucharest, in the middle of the day, Mircea Marian, a journalist with a national daily newspaper was pushed around by a man who called him “JIDAN” (KIKE).
According to the media, the incident took place while two policemen who were nearby stood and did not intervene. Only later on, other policemen took over the case which is now analyzed by the authorities.
The Romanian media published the case expressing its outrage generated by the fact that a journalist was attacked. Also some leading Romanian NGO’s highlighted the incident and asked the authorities to act swiftly for making sure that journalists will not be abused again.
The Prime Minister of Romania, Mr. Victor Ponta asked the authorities to investigate the case in depth. The authorities announced that a criminal investigation, for public assault, was opened against the aggressor.
However no one in Romania approached, directly or indirectly, the anti-Semitism behind the incident. Yes, the “JIDAN” expression was published but no one said/wrote a single word against it and about the need to take a firm stand against the aggressor because of his anti-Semitism. The only institution to point out the anti-Semitism and the need to take a firm stand against it was, as usual, MCA Romania-The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in Romania.
So once again, generally speaking, the anti-Semitism was swept under the carpet. Once again the media, the politicians missed the opportunity to show a change of mentality, some deeper understanding of the anti-Semitic phenomena that is affecting a society, virtually left without the Jewish minority (less than 3500 Jews live today in Romania).
In his interview published by the media, the attacked journalist did not speak about the anti-Semitism involved in the incident but he did mention the fact that he felt the need to defend himself by saying that he is a Christian Orthodox. However he felt that it was shameful to act so and he did not do it.
This kind of defense reminds of the times when many Jews changed their “Jewish” names to “Romanian” names in order to avoid exposure to social and political harassment and discrimination. It seems that motives that triggered that kind of self-preservation attitude are still present in Romania.
What that means? If a simple citizen, a Jew would be harassed on the street by the same aggressor, in the same manner as the journalist was, would the media write about it? Would then the Prime Minister ask for a firm investigation? We will find more about it when we will learn how the prosecutors will handle the case and when the ruling on this matter will be published. Then we might learn how deep the anti-Semitism is buried in the local mentality and spirit.
MCA Romania – The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in Romania (2002)