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U.S. embassy condemns Romanian broadcast of anti-Semitic carol

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The U.S. embassy in Romania on Thursday condemned the broadcast of an anti-Semitic Christmas carol by state television, joining a long list of critics.

Jewish groups, Romanian media and politicians, the Israeli embassy and other diplomatic missions have attacked the decision by channel TVR3 to air the song, which uses a pejorative word for Jews and celebrates violence against them.

The country's national council against discrimination is currently investigating the broadcast.

The U.S. embassy called it "an unacceptable display of anti-Semitism that must be condemned in the strongest, most unequivocal terms".

"Intolerance and hatred are unacceptable and should not be condoned, especially not through the medium of public broadcast."

State television said the carol was part of traditional folklore and that its selection for broadcast was made by the council of the northwestern Romanian county of Cluj.

Hundreds of thousands of Romanian and Ukrainian Jews were killed in Romania and areas it controlled during World War Two as an ally of Nazi Germany.

After Romania switched sides in the war in 1944, communist regimes did little to draw attention to the killings while nationalist governments after 1989 also kept them under wraps.

Only in the early 2000s did Romanian officials admit that death trains, mass deportations and pogroms took place in Romania during World War Two and that anti-Semitism was a state-sponsored ideology even before the war started in 1939.

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; editing by Andrew Roche)

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