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Moldovan Church Blames Jews for Anti-Semitic Attack

And we graciously apologize

Marc Tracy
December 23, 2009

On behalf of the Jews of Moldova and the world, The Scroll is sorry for the incident that occured several days ago in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau. What happened is that a crowd, led by an Orthodox Christian priest, attacked and toppled a Hanukkah menorah and replaced it with a cross. (A century ago, Chisinau hosted pogroms that killed thousands of the city’s massive Jewish population and forced even more to emigrate, including this author’s great-grandparents.) Some might blame the priest and the crowd for this incident; in fact, the Moldovan government did, condemning “hatred, intolerance and xenophobia.” But earlier this week, the Moldovan Orthodox Church helpfully cleared up matters and pointed out whose fault this regrettable event really was:

We believe that this unpleasant incident in the center of the capital could have been avoided if the menorah had been placed near a memorial for victims of the Holocaust. … we think it inappropriate to put a symbol of the Jewish [religion] in a public place connected to the history and faith of our people, especially because Hanukkah is classified by the [religious] books of Judaism as a ‘holiday of blessing’ that symbolizes the victory of Jews over non-Jews.

Frankly, this clarification, though welcome, is a bit extraneous. The priest who led the protest put the matter much more succinctly while his followers were removing the offending display: “We are an Orthodox country. Stephan the Great defended our country from all kinds of Zjids [a derogation], and now they come and put their menorah here. This is anarchy.”

So, again, on behalf of all of us (we can speak for everyone, we all talk all the time): we apologize. Won’t happen again.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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