Racist Pamphlet Shows Anti-Semitism In Poland Is 'Alive And Well'
New York, NY, February 16, 2007 … The publication of an anti-Semitic and racist diatribe by a leading Polish member of the European Parliament shows that "anti-Semitism is alive and well in Poland," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said today.
"Civilization at War in Europe," a pamphlet published by European Parliament member Maciej Giertych, accuses Jews of "jealously nurturing their chosenness" and suggesting that Jews are a "tragic community … who did not recognize Jesus Christ as the awaited Messiah." Giertych's son, Roman Giertych, leads the far-right League of Polish Families (LPF) and is Poland's Education Minister.
"Maciej Giertych's pamphlet is anti-Semitic and racist from beginning to end," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, who was born in Poland and is a Holocaust survivor. "It shows that anti-Semitism is not only alive and well in Poland, but is viewed by some as a commodity to be exported to the rest of Europe -- a commodity of hate.
"As Poland knows too well from its history, when anti-Semitism is permitted to flourish, democracy and freedom are at risk," added Mr. Foxman. "It is shameful that members of the parties in the governing coalition in Poland, and in the European parliament, continue to stand silent as their fellow parliamentarians give voice to anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry."
The Giertych pamphlet, published February 14 and made available on his Web site, contains outright anti-Semitic assertions and rehashes age-old stereotypes, such as the claim that the Jewish religion encourages dishonesty in business dealings. The pamphlet also makes false claims about Jewish history by suggesting, for example, that until the advent of the Nazis, Jews voluntarily lived in ghettoes. Credible scholarship recognizes that the ghetto was enforced on European Jewry.
In 2006, ADL published the report, Poland: Democracy and The Challenge of Extremism, which outlined serious concerns about the inclusion of anti-Semitic and xenophobic parties in Poland's governing coalition.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.