Anti-Semitic posters have been put up all over the Polish capital Warsaw in recent days ahead of the country’s national elections.
The posters include images of former and current Israeli diplomats as well as prominent Jewish figures along with the slogan “Beware of parasites” — using a play on the words to include the word for “Jew” as part of the word for “parasites.”
Among those featuring on the posters are US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, former Israeli ambassador Anna Azari, Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, and London-born Israeli activist for Holocaust commemoration Johnny Daniels.
The posters also call for an end of restitution to Jewish owners and their heirs of property that was seized during the Holocaust, saying it is a “mafia” program, and demand that Poland “Stop the Jewish occupation” of the country.
“It’s part of a greater problem,” Daniels told The Times of Israel. “We saw this before the EU elections a few months ago — there is always a wave of hate from the far right about restitution.”
Daniels said he had filed a complaint with police and the force was looking into the matter.
Election time in Poland and the anti-Semitic hate starts again with posters reportedly being put up (and thankfully torn…
Poland’s national elections are scheduled for October 13. The ruling Law and Justice Party has campaigned heavily against Jewish Holocaust restitution claims, leading Jewish leaders to warn that the debate had turned anti-Semitic. The month of May saw thousands of Polish nationalists march to the US Embassy to protest US pressure on Poland to compensate Jews whose families lost property during the Holocaust. It appeared to be one of the largest anti-Jewish street demonstrations in recent times.
Israel and Poland have also seen diplomatic tensions over Polish officials’ rejection of any culpability by the nation for anti-Semitic atrocities of the past. Last year the government introduced a controversial law that forbids blaming the Polish nation for Nazi crimes (though the legislation was softened following Israeli pressure to remove punitive measures).
On Friday the office of Polish President Andrzej Duda denied a report that the president had blamed Israel for recent anti-Semitic incidents in the country in a meeting with American Jewish officials, saying the claim was “plainly not true.”
A report on the Jewish Insider website, citing several sources who attended Duda’s Wednesday meeting in New York with top community officials, said the president claimed offensive comments by Israel’s foreign minister had caused an increase in anti-Semitism in Poland.
Spokesman Blazej Spychalski told The Times of Israel: “The quote is not only inaccurate. It is plainly not true. President Duda never said that ‘Israel is responsible for recent anti-Semitic attacks in Poland.’ All participants of the said meeting can corroborate this. The Jewish Insider made this up.”
In February Foreign Minister Israel Katz, then acting foreign minister, inflamed tensions with Warsaw when, quoting late prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, he said “Poles suckle anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk.”
Duda was said to have told the Jewish representatives in attendance Wednesday that those comments were a “humiliation” to Poland and had encouraged anti-Semitism.
Recent months have seen a dramatic rise in reports of Polish anti-Semitism online, in the media and in local politics.