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Polish senator calls for Israeli ambassador's expulsion

Israeli Ambassador to Poland Anna Azari speaks at observances marking the 73rd anniversary of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018
AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
Volume of anti-Semitic hate speech in Poland in January has exceeded that seen in preceding decade combined

A Polish senator for the governing party, Jan Zaryn, has called for the eviction of Israel’s ambassador, Anna Azari, amid her warnings that anti-Semitism is on the rise the country, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Sunday.

“If anyone today thinks to equate in any way the rule of the Law and Justice party to the persecution of Jews led by the communist party apparatus in 1968, or by the marshals, then I certainly will not shake hands with such a person,” Senator Zaryn is quoted as saying in an interview published on Friday by the wPolsce news site.

“If this is done by the ambassador of a foreign state, then maybe we have to ask this lady to leave this country,” he stated.

These comments come amid heightened tensions between Poland and Israel over Warsaw’s passage of a controversial Holocaust law in January that sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone referring to Nazi German death camps as Polish or accusing Poland of complicity with the Third Reich’s crimes.

Last month Israel’s embassy in Poland noted that of flood of anti-Semitic comments poured in, with several real-life incidents taking place, in the wake of the bill.

"In the last few days we could not help but notice a wave of anti-Semitic statements, reaching the Embassy through all channels of communication," the embassy said in a statement at the time on its website. “Many of them targeted Ambassador Anna Azari personally,” it added.


“We have restrained ourselves from reaction, but we feel we should no more. Anti-Semitic statements are overflowing the internet channels in Poland, but they have become present on the mainstream media too, especially on (public broadcaster station) TVP Info,” the statement continued.

According to the Never Again watchdog on anti-Semitism, the volume of anti-Semitic hate speech in Poland since January exceeds that observed in the preceding decade combined, the Times of Israel reported.

The law was purportedly passed in order to prevent a distortion of history that would defame the Polish nation (by use of terms such as "Polish death-camps").

Israel, however, is concerned that a survivor recounting an episode like the Kielce Pogrom, where Poles slaughtered dozens of fellow Poles of Jewish faith long after the Nazis' defeat, could be condemned under the new law.

The Jewish state sees as a bid to deny that certain Poles participated in the genocide of Jews during World War II.

Poland's president Andrzej Duda apologized to Jews chased out of the country 50 years ago during the communist regime's anti-Semitic campaign in 1968.

Last week, a Polish delegation arrived in Israel to discuss the legislation focusing on issues relating to historical accuracy, freedom of speech of information. Whilst there is little chance the law will be modified, the talks were of a symbolic nature.


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