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Israel condemns far-right rally in Warsaw

Demonstrators burn flares and wave Polish flags during the annual march to commemorate Poland's National Independence Day in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.
AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
Extremists from neighboring Sweden, Hungary, Slovakia chanted 'God, honor, country' and 'Glory to our heroes'

Israel called a far-right rally that took place in Warsaw on Saturday, “a dangerous march of extreme and racist elements” and is urging the Polish authorities to take action against the organizers.

Some 60,000 people carrying Polish flags and throwing red smoke bombs marked independence day in an event that brought extremists from neighboring Sweden, Hungary, Slovakia chanting "God, honor, country" and "Glory to our heroes.”

Others were reported as shouting anti-Semitic slogans such as “Pure Poland, Jew free Poland,” “Jews out of Poland,” and “Refugees get out.”

In a statement to The Associated Press, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, “we hope that Polish authorities will act against the organizers. History teaches us that expressions of racist hate must be dealt with swiftly and decisively.”

Organised by a set of radical groups whose roots can be traced to anti-Semitic activity preceding the Second World War, the rally was led by right wing groups, by the National-Radical Camp, the National Movement and the All Polish Youth.

Marching under the banner “We Want God”, Rafal Pankowski, head of the anti-extremist association, Never Again, stated that despite the reference to God the march shouldn’t be viewed as inspired by religious beliefs.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry said that while it condemns racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic ideas, the rally on Saturday was “a great celebration of Poles, differing in their views, but united around the common values of freedom and loyalty to an independent homeland.”

The ministry reaffirmed its opposition to Richard Spencer, American Leader of the so-called alt-right movement and well-known white supremacist, present at the event. In the lead up to the rally the ministry had expressed objection to Spencer addressing the crowd and stated that, “he should not appear publicly, and especially not in Poland.”

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