Right-wing groups dominate Polish Independence Day March
Israel expressed apprehension about the Polish Independence Day March held on November 11. The predominantly Jewish nation termed the event a dangerous march of racist and extremist elements. It requested the Polish authorities to take appropriate action against the event's organizers. The march was organized by groups whose origins can be traced back to hard right anti-Semitic groups in the pre-Second World War era. The event saw 60,000 participants, including families complete with children. Many young men were found to carry placards bearing white supremacist messages. A few march participants shouted anti-Semitic slogans where the content was throwing Jews or asking them to move out from Poland. Refugees were also asked to leave.
Mariusz Blaszczak, the Polish interior minister, showed pride when asked about the event. He said that he felt proud that many Poles took the decision to participate in a celebration linked to Independence Day holiday. The interior minister's views, however, were not shared by everyone in the government. Piotr Glinski, the culture minister, took a strong stance against the banners and the slogans which mentioned race. He did not mention anti-Semitism in this context. The minister said that the Polish Government does not support such slogans. He decried the use of racist and also ethnic terminology to express the concept of the Polish nation.
The response from Jewish groups was immediate. Agnieszka Markiewicz, director of American Jewish Committee, responded by urging the government to take action against the Polish far right. She warned that xenophobic nationalism is becoming increasingly dangerous. She also expressed concern about the tolerance of hate among many Polish Government officials, reminding everyone that history has shown that inaction or silence in such matters could come with a 'pricey' tag. Similar sentiments were echoed by Jonny Daniels of From the Depths. The latter is a Polish commemoration group dedicated to the Holocaust. He asked the police to take punitive action against the far right groups. He said that Poland should not allow events to continue further.
Emmanuel Nahshon, the spokesman of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, termed the Polish Independence Day event as 'dangerous' and played out entirely by racist and extreme elements. Nahshon in his official social media feed said that this event disproved any “anyone who thinks that hatred of Muslims protects the Jews.”
Alarming that white supremacist rally in Poland today drew 1000s of young Europeans who, like those who marched in #Charlottesville, believe in “ethnic purity” and target immigrants, Muslims and Jews for #hate. https://t.co/HP92aYRUm2
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) November 12, 2017