(JTA) – Romania’s ambassador to Armenia was recalled to Bucharest for consultations after he expressed what critics said were anti-Semitic and homophobic statements.
Sorin Vasile made the controversial statements last month during a speech at the American University of Armenia, according to MCA Romania, the Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism. He was recalled Friday, according to a report on romaniatv.net.
Replying to a student’s question on whether he found moral fault in the systematic massacre of Armenian civilians by Turkish soldiers during World War I, Vasile said, “It is very complicated. What is moral?” He added, “Are homosexuals moral? Everything is relative.”
Elaborating on relativism, he told a joke about Jewish bosses who would not hire an accountant who said that 10 plus 10 equals 20, but hired one who told them that it equaled whatever they wanted it to.
Vasile apologized for making the remarks, according to romaniatv.net.
But MCA Romania said Vasile had initially refused to do so and called for the Romanian Foreign Ministry to take disciplinary action against him.
“He dismissed the Armenian genocide by a phrase, adopted homophobic attitudes and made jokes about Jews being greedy” and “ready to break any law in order to make a profit, a clear anti-Semitic stereotype,” MCA Romania founders Maximillian Marco Katz and Marius Draghici wrote in a statement Friday.