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May 31, 2016 / 23 Iyar, 5776
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News From Poland

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Polish Coalition Makes Jews Uneasy

The conservative minority government of Poland’s Law and Justice party has agreed to enter a coalition with two extreme-right parties. The two parties that signed the agreement, the League of Polish Families and the Self-Defense party, have a history of anti-Semitic stances. Jan Maria Jackowski, a prominent member of the League of Polish Families, has warned against Poland becoming a “land reserve” for Jewish settlement, and called accusations of pedophilia against a Polish priest a “Judeo-Communist plot.”

The party is also closely aligned with Radio Maryja, frequently cited for its anti-Semitic broadcasts. Andrzej Lepper, leader of the populist Self-Defense party, has referred enthusiastically to Goebbel’s “propaganda skills” and Hitler’s “economic policy,” according to the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University. According to Polish media reports, Lepper has also received an honorary degree and supported Ukraine’s Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, or MAUP, which frequently publishes anti-Semitic material. The Law and Justice party has struggled to form a coalition since a narrow parliamentary election victory in September.


Good Friday March Criticized In Poland

The Simon Wiesenthal Center complained about the “anti-Semitic tenor” of a Good Friday procession not far from the Auschwitz death camp. Shimon Samuels, the center’s director for international relations, wrote to Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Meller that the ceremony, which included marchers with long beards and Stars of David, fueled stereotypes of Jews.

“This ceremony contravenes Polish responsibility to combat anti-Semitism under its obligation to the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” he wrote. The center urged Poland to discipline organizers to ensure that such desecration is not repeated. “To do otherwise would endorse a message to Polish youth that is in contradiction with this new era of Polish-Jewish reconciliation,” Samuels wrote.


Pope’s Auschwitz Visit Finalized

Details of Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming trip to Poland have been announced by the Vatican: A stop at Auschwitz is set for the last day of the pope’s May 25-28 visit, during which he is expected to deliver a significant address. At the former Nazi death camp, he will visit the site’s Centre for Dialogue and Prayer and take part in a memorial service for Nazi victims, according to the Catholic News Service.

Shmuel Ben Eliezer

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