Analysis: How did Israel and Poland become so similar?
Janek Skarzynski (AFP)
In an urgent letter to the Polish government, three prominent American senators – John McCain (Rep.), Dick Durbin and Ben Cardin (Dem.) - expressed deep concern over the recent developments in Poland that pose, according to them, a real danger to Polish democracy. The three mention specifically the drastic steps taken by the right-wing nationalist government, endangering freedom of speech and freedom of the legal system in what seemed to be, until recently, an almost miraculous recovery of democracy in post-Soviet era Poland.
The Polish prime minister responded swiftly. Politely, but firmly, Beata Szydlo asked the three to respect Polish sovereignty and its values. The same concerns, and worse, came from the EU which was shocked by the drastic change in its until-now exemplary member.
All of the above sounds rather familiar to those in Israel who are following the developments, specifically the deterioration in all criteria of democracy.
Israelis, on the left and right, cannot ignore the uncanny similarity between the Polish and Israeli scene. It’s incredible that two countries with such different history and geopolitics, can experience comparable phases.
Israel, which takes pride in being the only democracy in the Middle East and Poland, with its newly acquired independence and democratic system, often now seem like identical twins. Both the Israeli and Polish conservative governments seem to be on a mission to rectify the image of their countries which have been tarnished – according to them - by previous all-too-liberal and reckless leadership. In Poland, even the Oscar-winning film “Ida” got a hostile welcome from the new politicians who claim the movie is distorting the positive image of Poland. This argument certainly rings a bell with Israelis who often hear the demand to use art as a tool to promote Israeli agenda and embellish its image.
Just recently, the new government took control of all public media in Poland, causing universal uproar. International attention again focused on Poland with the attempt to strip Holocaust expert, Jan Tomasz Gross (a Princeton professor of Polish origin) of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland which he was awarded in 1996. The Jewish scholar could lose the prestigious honor for asserting Poland’s complicity in the Holocaust. Israel is by no means there yet, but the debate over who deserves national recognition or state awards constantly resonates in the background.
The similarities do not end there, and might be a reflection of more profound changes the world is undergoing. While Israel is becoming more “Jewish”, over the democratic component in its definition as a Jewish- democratic state, Poland, always quite pious, is becoming more Catholic with little regard to other values cherished by the EU.
While the previous Polish government projected a more secular and “worldly” image, the new one emphasizes its commitment to Catholic values and nurtures close ties with the most radical nationalist wing of the Polish church. It might be a wise political move on the domestic level, but certainly not one warmly accepted by allies of Poland. On a different level both Poland and Israel are undergoing a process of the changing of the guard: a new, resentful elite are replacing the old elite who refuses to let go.
The world is watching with concern and occasional open criticism. A few weeks ago, a member of the European Council issued a statement saying that: “Criticism of the government is not an act against its people.” No, this was not directed at Israel which is having it’s own issues with the Union; it was directed at Poland, now under the intense scrutiny of a concerned EU. A debate conducted in the European Parliament reflects the sentiment, rather anger, towards a country considered flagship among the new members, which has now turned into a “problem.”
The populist mood blowing through Europe provides a partial explanation of what is happening in Poland. Yet it is quite surprising to see this setback in a country that fought hard to gain democracy and celebrated its victory just 25 years ago. No wonder the man most closely associated with that struggle, once Solidarity leader and President of Poland, Lech Walesa, plays a vocal role in the new debate over his country.
A few weeks ago, he made big headlines saying that the steps taken by the ruling PIS party “will lead to a civil war”. The term is also used loosely - too loosely - in reference to the current Israeli domestic scene. In Israel too, it is the President, Reuven Rivlin, who stands firmly to guard the fragile Israeli democracy, issuing warnings against what he sees as legislation threatening it.
Far from civil war, the Poles fight back. Mass demonstrations, a new “Committee for Defense of Democracy” and often spontaneous acts of protest by engaged individuals. The spirit of Solidarity is still there, after 25 years on hold.
Lily Galili is a feature writer, analyst of Israeli society and expert on immigration from the former Soviet Union. She is the co-author of "The Million that Changed the Middle East."
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Please keep Your art of Deception in Israel or New York. Poland must be free country for the Polish People. Lech Walesa was a traitor. Please do not ask Poland or Polish people for any restutution since we need restitution from Germany and USSR. You got all the 100 Billions German Marks from Germany 10 billions USD from Switzerland and 6 billions USD from Austria and 120 Bilions USD from USA. Where are the money? Prof. Pogonowski from USA. Jews killed Jews to create the state of Israel The statement that: “Jews killed Jews to create the state of Israel” was made by Naeim Giladi, author of the book: “Ben-Gurion’s Scandals: How The Haganah and Mossad Eliminated Jews,” (Dandelion Books, LLC, Tempe Arizona, 2nd expanded edition 2003). Giladi wrote this book first in Hebrew and then in Arabic upon arrival to the US where he confirmed as an eye witness the facts concerning the Zionist bombings in Iraq, the rejection by Isarel of Arab peace overtures and the deadly violence inflicted by Jews on Jews in the cause of creating Israel. Stalin’s intended Israel to be a “bone of contention” in the Middle East. Some observers mention the possibility that Stalin also hoped to create Isarel as a Marxist state, part of the Soviet postwar empire. Stalin’s decision do use the Zionists in establishing the state of Israel after the Second World War, was motivated primarily by his intent to oppose the United States in the oil rich Middle East. The temporary Soviet support for the Zionists materialized in the the form of allowing 711,000 Jews to exit from countries behind the Iron Courtain, in 1945-1947 supposedly in order to emigrate to Palestine. The Zionists advertised this migration under the code-name “Briha” - Escape of Jews from Europe. In reality the vast majority of Jews preferred to go to the United States or stay in France. Of the 711,000 Jewish refugees, panicked by some fifteen pogroms staged by the NKVD in 1945-1947, with some Zionist assistance, only 232,000 actually went to Palestine. Only the Pogrom of Kielce of the 4th of July, 1946, was described in the world press, naturally in the Soviet version. Fifteen other pogroms in the satellite states, four of them in Budapest alone, were never reported in the world media or were reported in such a way that they did not survive in public memory. The Zionists organized the groups of Jewish refugees left Poland mainly through the cities of Szczecin and Klodzko. The Soviet terror apparatus in Kielce conducted show-trials of nine Poles, who under tortures signed confessions and were immediately executed. Later their families provided evidence, that none of the executed men, was present in Kielce on the 4th of July, 1946. The Bishop of Kielce, Czeslaw Kaczmarek was tortured for forty hours and lost nineteen teeth before Jewish security officers were able to extract from him an incriminating statement. They acted under the supervision of colonel Jozef Rózanski Goldberg, director of the ministry of national security (MBP), who wrote threatening note to Bishop Kaczmarek: “I have smashed the faces of the lawyers, and I warn you Bishop Kaczmarek, not to ever seek legal help.” Dr. Roman Dzwonkowski, SAC described these events in Nasz Dziennik of May 20- 21, 2006, Nr . 117m (2527) “War on the Catholic Church in the Polish People’s Republic (PRL 1945-1989).” These events happened during the reign of terror of Jozef Berman, Moscow’s reprersentative in Warsaw, in Soviet controlled Poland. According to Stefan Korbonski, (former head of the military and the civil underground resistance in Poland), during ten years after World War II, “Poles and Jews in World War II.” Polish people lived under Jewish terror controlled by Stalinist Russia. Stefan Korbonski published a number of books on wartime Poland, such as “The Polish Underground State” (ISBN o-88254-517-5). Stefan Korbonski received the Righteous Gentile Award from Yad Vashem in Israel. The Soviet terror apparatus organized the departure for Palestine of Jewish war-veterans and provided them with weapons manufactured in Czechoslovakia. In March 1947, the Soviet Union, represented by Andrei Gromyko, was the first member state of the United Nations to demand the partition of Palestine and creation there of the state of Israel as a new member of the UN. The UN authortized the Partition of Palestine in November 1947 and on May 14, 1948 the state of Israel was founded. The Israeli armed forces were officially established on May 28, 1948. They were composed on the Haganah (the defense) and the Irgun Zwei Leumi (National Military Organization. The armed forces of the new Israeli state included 60,000 soldiers and officers, many of them veterans of the Second World War, who occupied more land than they could settle with Jews present in Palestine. The Israeli conquests provoked an Arab rally in defense of their land which was confiscated by the Jewish invaders. Naeim Giladi, author of the book: “Ben-Gurion’s Scandals: How The Haganah and Mossad Eliminated Jews,” was 12 years old when on June 1, 1941 during the riots provoked by the British colonial forces, when several hundred Iraqi Jews were killed. In 1921, a British puppet, Amir Faisal, became king of Iraq. He appointed many Jews to important government positions, including that of economics minister. At that time “Zionism has sown dissension between Jews and Arabs” as a result of the British support for the “Balfour Declaration.” In exchange for helping to bring the United States into the First World War, the British proclaimed Palestine as a “Jewish Homeland.” This was done in a letter of November 2, 1917 written by the foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, to the chief Zionist in Gr. Britain, Walter Rothschild (see John Cornelius: “The Hidden History of the Balfour Declaration.”) The new bitterness, which did not previously exist, developed between Jews and Arabs. British support for the Zionists and the British “tutelage” of Iraq was deeply resented by the Iraqi Arabs, among whom grew an anti-Zionist backlash. TheBritish occupied Basra in Iraq on April 12, 1941. They alleged that the local Jews pledged allegiance to them and provoked riots that served as a pretext for intervention and looting by the British army, which occupied Bagdad on May 30, 1941. False rumor was spread that Jews from Palestine were fighting alonside the British against the Iraqi’s near the town of Felujah. By June 2, looting spread to the Jewish quarter in Bagdad to 1300 stores and 1000 homes. The British Gurkha units killed some 500 Jews in the streets of Bagdad as a part of the British pacification and occupation of Iraq. The Zionists underground was set up in Iraq. The Zionist conquests in Palestine and massacres of Arabs, such as in the village of Deir Yassin, strengthened the anti-British movement in Iraq. In January 1948 riots broke out in Iraq against the British domination. When Isarel declared independence the Iraqis closed the oil pipeline connected to the refinery in Haifa. As a Zionist, Naeim Giladi was imprisoned in Abu-Gharib until his escape in September 1949. Six month later on March 19, 1950, a bomb exploded in the American Cultural Center and Library frequented by Jews in Bagdad. On April 8, 1950 a bomb was thrown at the Jews into El-Dar El-Bida Café, where Jews were celebrating the Passover and four of them were injured. Leaflets were distributed calling on Jews to leave Iraq immediately. Very many Jews who had no property jammed emigration offices to renounce their citizenship and to apply for permission to leave for Israel. Jewish owned The Jewish owned Beit-Lawi Automobile Company building was damaged by a grenade on May 10, 1950 without any casualities. On June 3, 1950 grenade exploded harmlessly in the Jewish area El-Batawin and Zionists sent telegrams to Israel asking for an increase of immigration quotas for Iraqi Jews. On June 5, another Jewish building was damaged without casualities by a bomb exlosion on El_Rasjid street. On January 14, 1951 a high-voltage cable damaged by a grenade killed three Jews outside Masouda Shem-Tov Synagogue. By ten the exodus reached 600-700 Jews per day. Contrary to the Zionist propaganda, Giladi writes: ”The terrible truth is that the grenades that killed and maimed Iraqi Jews and damaged their property were thrown by Zionist Jews.” The leaflets published by the Zionist underground in Iraq on March 16, 1950 and on April 8, 1950, called on Jews to leave Iraq immediately. Wilbur Crane Eveland, CIA agent stated in 1988 that: “In an attempt to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to terrorize the Jews, the Zionists planted bombs in theU.S. Information Service library and in the synagogues. Soon Leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee tro Israel.. The Iraqi police later provided our embassy with evidence to show that the synagogue and library bombings, as well as the anti-Jewish and anti-American leaflet campaigns, had been the work of an underground Zionist organization, most of the world believed reports that Arab terrorism had motivated the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom the Zionists had “rescued” really just in order to increase Israel’s Jewish population.” (Wilbur Crane Eveland, “Ropes of Sand: America’s Failure in the Middle East,: N.Y. Norton, 1980, pp 48-49). Giladi writes that Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973) needed “Oriental” Jews to farm the thousands of acres of land left by the Palestinians, who were driven out by Israeli forces in 1948. Israel Shamir describes the hatred of farm work and farm workers by the European Jews (“Jewish History, Jewish Religion”). Out of over one million hectars owned by Jews in carist Russia less than 10% was worked by Jews themselves. Giladi describes how Israel was using bacteriological methods and deliberately infected many Palestinians with typhus and dysentery. He quotes Israeli daily, Hadashot of August 13, 1993 in which Sara Laybobis-Dar reported interviews with Isarelis who had knowledge of the use of bacteriological weapons in the 1948 war. Mileshtin said bacteria was used to poison the wells of every village emptied of its Arab inhabitants and Moshe Dayan, a division commander at the time “gave orders in 1948 to remove Arabs from villages, bulldoze their homes, and render water wells unusable with typhus and dysentery bacteria.” The town of Acre was well defended and was situated on a creek named Capri. The Haganah put typhus bacteria upstream into water flowing to Acre, the defenders got sick and Jewish forces were able to occupy that locality. Haganah sent Jews dressed as Arabs into Gaza, then occupied by Egyptian soldiers, who caught them putting two cans of bacteria, typhus and dysentery into the drinking water supply. Giladi started political activity because of contemptuous treatment by eastern European, mostly Polish Jews of Jews from Islamic Countries who were treated like “Negroes.” Among Jews, who came from Poland there were many descendents of mixed marriages and their features differed from Semitic Jews in the Arab countries. Giladi organized demonstrations in Ashkelon, against Ben-Gurion’s racist policies and 10,000 people participated. They protested being treated as second class citizens in Israel. The cease-fire with Egypt in 1970 brought enough tranquility to enable the “second class” Israelis to demand equal treatment. They were called “Israel’s Black Panters” and proudly displayed posters of personalities such as Martin Luther King, Malcom X, and Nelson Mandela. Similar attitudes were common in Germany before WWI when the German Jews discriminated against the “Ost Juden” who tried to migrate to Germany from the East. According to Israel Shahak at the end of the “golden decade” of Jewish colonization and exploitation of Poland’s Ukrainian provinces in 1648 Khmelnytzky rebellion broke out and some 50,000 Jews were slaughtered Khmelnytzky’s Cossaks. At that time the Jewish leadership became convinced, that Jews will be evicted from Poland sooner or later, as they were evicted earlier from England, France, German states, and Spain. The flight of Jewish money out of Poland to Berlin helped to finance in 1701 the creation of the Kongdom of Prussia, the initiator of the partitions of Poland in 1762. When the international crime of the partitions of Poland was taking place, the Germans evicted from western Poland masses of poor Jews called “Bettel Juden.” Germans allowed only well-to-do Jews to remain in the Kingdom of Prussia. Bettel Juden as well as Ost Juden were contemptuous terms used by German Jews, and they were similar in intent to the term “Jews from Islamic coutries” as it is used today in Israel. When the Isareli authorities condoned the massacres of Palestinians in Lebanon at Sabra and Shatilla, Naeim Giladi moved to the United States, revoked his Israeli citizenship and became an American citizen. In order to publish his book translated into English, Giladi spent $60,000 out of pocket, or rather out of proceeds from the sale of his house in Israel. He mentions that on Sept 12, 1990, the New York State Supreme Court issued a restraining order, at the request of the Israeli government, to prevent the publication of Victor Ostrovsky’s book, “By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer.” (The New York State Appeals Court lifted the ban the next day.) Giladi now considers the Zionst program to be criminal from the beginning, because Zionist leaders knew, that in order to establish a Jewish state, they had to expel the indigenous Palestinians and import hundreds of thousands Jews (first 232,00 from Soviet satellite states and then 547,000 from the Arab states). Vladimir Jabotinsky frankly admitted that such a transfer of population could only be brought by force and fear. To drive Jews out of their homes in countries such as Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary pogroms were staged by the NKVD in Kielce in the Soviet occupied eastern Europe. The best known of these is the pogrom of Kielce on the 4th of July, 1946. There also occurred two pogroms in Bratislava and four pogroms in Budapest in 1945-1947, etc. But the Pogrom in Poland received most publicity, because it could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak: persuade the Polish Jews to leave for Israel, and convince the western powers that only a strong Soviet hand could keep “anti-Semitic” Poland from doing harm to Jews. Subsequently the Zionists organized, with Soviet permission, the exit of some 711,000 Jews from countries behind the “Iron Curtin.” The Zionists also organized the terror in the Arab states and caused the flight of Jews from Bagdad, Damscus, and other Arab cities in 1950-1951, and later. In the early 1950s an Iraqi investigator published in Arabic a book of the1950-51 bombings in Bagdad. The book was titled “Venom of the Zionist Viper,” in which the anti-hero is Israeli emissary Mordechai Ben-Porat. Mossad, working through the US Embassy in Bagdad, bought up all the books about the “Zionist Viper” and destroyed them. Giladi writes about Zionist collaboration with the Nazis and states that Britain was able to enforce the Arab governments to operate under pro-British leaders. And if, as in Iraq, these leaders were overthrown, then the British would foment an anti-Jewish riot or two in order to use the riots as useful pretexts to invade the Arab capital and reinstate the “right” leaders. In 1949, Isarel sent the spy Mordechai Ben-Porat to Iraq, to offer the government of el-Said in Bagdad, large financial incentives to enact a law that would take away the citizenship from the Iraqi Jews so that they would be forced to emigrate to Israel. Uri Avnery, writing in the magazine Haolam Hazel, accused Ben-Porat of the Bagdad bombings. Porat is still called Morad Abu al-Knabel or “Mordechai of the Bombs.” Giladi asked Ben-Gurion: why, since Israel is a democracy with a parliament, does it not have a constitution? Ben-Gurion answered: “Look boy if we have a constitution, we have to write in it the border of our country. And this is not our border, my dear.” Asked: “Then where is the border?,” Ben-Gurion answered: “Wherever the Sahal (Isareli army) will come, this is the border.” Thus, according to Naeim Giladi “Jews killed Jews to create the state of Israel,” the author of the book: “Ben-Gurion’s Scandals: How The Haganah and Mossad Eliminated Jews.” Provides ample proof for that statement. In the process of creating, enlarging and consolidating the state of Israel more than million two hundred thousand Jews were cruelly and brutally driven by terror from their homes in Europe and in the Middle East. This was planned and done in order to create a Jewish state in Palestine at the expense of the Palestinian Arabs.