First, the mayor of Constanta, Romania’s largest port city, dressed up in a Nazi uniform and goose-stepped in a fashion show (he apologized yesterday). Later this week, a more complicated train of events also gave rise to concerns of anti-Semitism in this Eastern European country. On Monday, Romanian police raided a Bucharest fertility clinic and arrested 30 Israeli-born employees, including the father-and-son owners; allegedly, the clinic paid women, including some minors, to donate eggs. (The owners deny the charges.) On Tuesday, the head of Romania’s Medical Council likened the doctors, who, he said, “bought body parts from poor, vulnerable people,” to the infamous medical experimenters of Auschwitz. This in turn prompted a rebuke from the World Medical Association’s president—who happens to be Israeli—for the inapt and impolitic comparison. While the reductio ad Hitlerum is no doubt a bit much, Haaretz reports that anti-Semitism is likely not at work—actually, there remain several Israeli-run fertility clinics that harvest ova in Bucharest. The president of Romania’s Jewish community explained that the father-and-son owners were conspicuous consumers: “This and other signs of richness create envy and people react negatively.” Not that Dr. Mengele is notorious for his great wealth. Still—call us crazy—we are finding it difficult to get all that agitated in defense of people who allegedly harvested eggs from underage girls.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.