Israel Condemns Poland's "Anti-Semitic" Booklet
Saurday, 24 February 2007
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correrspondent BosNewsLife with BosNewsLife News Center in Budapest
Warsaw Jewish Ghetto during World War Two.
JERUSALEM/WARSAW/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)-- Israel has "strongly" condemned an "anti-Semitic booklet" written by a Polish Member of the European Parliament whose son is Poland's Minister of Education, BosNewsLife learned Saturday, February 24.
The booklet entitled 'Civilizations at War in Europe' by Polish MEP Maciej Marian Giertych, a senior member of the rightist League of Polish Families party, "includes anti-Semitic stereotypes that must be clearly and aggressively rejected by all civilized people," Israel's Foreign Ministry told BosNewsLife in a statement.
"It should be noted that MEP Giertych's [son], the Chairman of the League, is Polish National Education Minister Roman Giertych," said Israel's Foreign Ministry, adding that the League's spokesman "previously made anti-Semitic remarks."
The 32-page booklet describes the Jewish people as a "tragic community" preferring to live a separate life "in apartheid from the surrounding communities."
The booklet, available online on Giertych's personal Web site, is a treatise on the differences between the Latin, Byzantine, Jewish and Arab civilizations. It reportedly classifies them according to race, language, religion and other criteria.
European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said he was "greatly disturbed" by the brochure which bears the logo of the European Parliament. He told reporters that the EU assembly did not help finance the booklet.
The European Jewish Congress said the text is anti-Semitic and threatened to bring Giertych to court. It reportedly asked the Polish government to strip the lawmaker of his parliamentary immunity so he can be sued.
Israeli Ambassador to Poland, David Peleg, raised the issue Wednesday, February 21, with the Polish Deputy Foreign Minister, who "expressed the Polish Government's and the Polish people's reservations over the booklet," Israeli officials said. Polish President Lech Kaczynski reportedly also expressed his reservations over the remarks in the booklet. "We expect the Polish Government to issue a similar condemnation," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.
However it made clear there were no encouraging signs. "In this context, Israel wishes to protest that Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Andrzej Lepper, who also serves as Chairman of the Self Defense party, received an honorary doctorate from the anti-Semitic Ukrainian Interregional Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP)."
Anti-Semitism remains a sensitive theme in Poland where the Nazis were running Auschwitz, one of the worst concentration camps during the Holocaust. About six million Jews died during World War Two along with others the Nazis didn't like.
The booklet was not the only controversy surrounding Giertych. Last year he reportedly praised the regimes of late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and Portuguese dictator Antonio Salazar, triggering an angry reaction from fellow parliamentarians. German Socialist leader Martin Schulz called his speech "fascist," The Associated Press news agency reported. (With reports from Israel).