Fact Check: Romania's Economy NOT Led To Bankruptcy By Jewish Politicians

Fact Check

  • de: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: Romania's Economy NOT Led To Bankruptcy By Jewish Politicians Antisemitism

Is the Romanian state led by a group of Jewish politicians who are driving the country to bankruptcy by borrowing more foreign money than ever? No, that's not true: The three men cited in a video on TikTok are not publicly known to be Jewish and don't play a role in how much money Romania borrows from abroad.

The claim originated from a video that's no longer available (but is archived here) on TikTok by @user3500289586381 on October 8, 2023. The text overlay (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff) read:

Listen carefully to the clip and think about why everything is going wrong.

Let's unite and throw them out. Think about what's going on, nothing is working in Romania. Wake up, Romanians, because it will be worse if we keep sleeping.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-10-23 at 13.55.53.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Oct 23 10:39:46 2023 UTC)

The video alludes to a well-known antisemitic conspiracy theory claiming that Jews control the international financial markets and the world's economy. Alexandru Rafila, Romania's health minister, is not publicly known to be Jewish, as well as the two other politicians mentioned in the video, Andrei and Alexandru Muraru. A Google search by Lead Stories on October 26, 2023, (archived here), with the keywords "alexandru rafila evreu," or "Alexandru Rafila Jewish" in English, did not show any evidence to corroborate the claim. Rafila did, however, express his support for Israel to the Israeli ambassador in Romania, Azar Reuven, and for the victims of the Hamas-Israel conflict. He also announced that Romanian doctors could volunteer to help Israel by organizing medical teams and by going there -- just as Israeli doctors had supported the Romanian medical system in tragedies such as the explosion of a GPL station in August 2023, which led to around 60 victims.

As for the Muraru brothers, Andrei and Alexandru Muraru are political experts and historians with a background in studies on Communist crimes and the Holocaust. Alexandru Muraru is a national liberal member of Parliament from Iași, where one of the most violent pogroms occurred in 1941. He and his brother talked about how their grandfather, "a witness" to the event, told them of the atrocities and the impact that this had on them. While his religious beliefs are private, Alexandru Muraru took part in an important Christian-Orthodox celebration in October 2023 in Iași -- Saint Parascheva Feast -- and wrote on Facebook: "There is no greater feast to bless Iași and all those who believe in the spiritual wonder of our protector, Saint Parascheva, whose honor knows no boundaries."

Regardless of the three officials' religious beliefs and ancestry, the claims in the TikTok are antisemitic and do not prove that Romania is led by "Jews." Radu Moraru, the talk show host shown in the TikTok clip, is known for his antisemitic views, as well as his anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-vaccine rhetoric during the pandemic.

As for the external debt, there is no evidence that Rafila, Alexandru and Andrei Muraru play a role in deciding how much money Romania borrows from abroad. According to economist Dan Chireșlan, Romania's rising debt comes from social assistance expenses, salaries and the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, Eurostat shows that in terms of government debt, in 2021 and 2022 Romania was not the most indebted state in the EU -- it was way behind Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium and several other countries.

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  Ioana Burtea

Ioana Burtea has worked in journalism for 15 years. She started her career at Mediafax news agency in Bucharest and has written for DoR magazine for over seven years. Her collaborations include publications like Europe & Me, New Eastern Europe, Balkan Insight and Washington Post. Ioana published pieces on the justice system in Romania, social affairs, politics and personal essays. In 2018,  she became a fellow of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.  In 2021, she received the first prize in the Portrait category at the national Superscrieri journalism awards.

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