November 18, 2018 — New York
AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, is deeply saddened by the death of Romanian Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu. He was 57 years old.
“Mihnea Constantinescu was a stalwart supporter of the State of Israel, a leader in the fight against anti-Semitism, and a true friend of the Jewish people. His untimely passing is a great loss for all of us,” said AJC CEO David Harris.
A respected career diplomat, Constantinescu held senior positions in the Romanian Foreign Ministry and served as a diplomatic advisor to several prime ministers. Notably, he also led Romania’s delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), comprised of 31 countries, including 24 members of the European Union, the U.S., and Canada.
In 2016, Constantinescu became chair of IHRA when Romania assumed the rotating helm of the international organization. The IHRA had already adopted a universally-accepted definition of Holocaust denial and distortion, and Constantinescu believed it should take the further step of endorsing a comprehensive definition of anti-Semitism.
Largely due to the determination of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Constantinescu to make combating anti-Semitism a priority, the IHRA Working Definition of Anti-Semitism was adopted by the organization’s member states in May 2016.
“By adopting this working definition, the IHRA is setting an example of responsible conduct for other international fora and hopes to inspire them also to take action on a legally binding working definition,” Constantinescu said at the time.
AJC worked closely with Constantinescu in support of his efforts to gain IHRA adoption of the working definition and to promote its use by governments, educating police, prosecutors, and judges about the nature of anti-Semitism.
“We are grateful for the gift of his life, his abiding friendship, and his relentless dedication to key issues he and we hold dear,” said Harris. “We will miss him greatly.”