A newly appointed Polish minister has in the past implied that anti-Semitic theories regarding a Jewish plan for world domination may be true.
Antoni Macierewicz was named on Monday as the country’s next defense minister. According to UK paper the Guardian, Macierewicz told the radio station Radio Maryja in 2002 that he had read “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a pamphlet that purports to be a Jewish plan to control the global economy and media. The pamphlet, first published in Russia in 1903 and since translated to many languages, was exposed as a hoax as early as 1921, though it has remained popular among anti-Semites.
Macierewicz, according to the Guardian, acknowledged that the pamphlet’s authenticity was in doubt, but told a listener: “Experience shows that there are such groups in Jewish circles.”
The 67-year-old politician is no stranger to controversy.
After the death of president Lech Kaczynski and scores of other senior Polish officials in 2010 when a presidential plane crashed in Smolensk in Russia, Macierewicz suggested the crash may have been deliberate.
Without offering decisive proof, he accused Moscow of orchestrating an attack on Kaczynski’s jet in collusion with Poland’s then prime minister Donald Tusk, now the European Union president.
His appointment is one of a number of controversial appointments made by the right-wing Law and Justice party, which scored an absolute majority for the first time in the country’s history as a democracy.
Winning 235 of the country’s 460 seat parliament, Law and Justice, or PiS, can rule alone. The appointment by prime minister in waiting Beata Szydlo of Macierewicz may complicate the country’s relations with Russia. Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999 and the alliance seeks to curb Russian aggression in both eastern Ukraine and more recently in Syria.
— AFP contributed to this report.