Polish watchdog: 'Inciting anti-Semitism, hatred is not in the interest of the country'

Polish state TV incited hatred against Jews with report on Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, media ethics panel says.

Katarzyna Markusz, JTA ,

Rafal Trzaskowski
Rafal Trzaskowski
Reuters

A prominent media ethics watchdog in Poland has accused a state broadcaster of inciting anti-Semitic sentiment.

The claim by the Polish Council of Media Ethics in a statement Thursday follows a TVP report earlier in the week warning that a leading presidential candidate would offer compensation for property lost to Jews during or after the Holocaust.

“Experts are certain. The stream of money that is flowing from the state budget into the pockets of Polish families will dry up if Trzaskowski, after a potential victory in the presidential election, seeks to satisfy Jewish claims,” TVP reported Monday.

The report was referring to Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who is considered the leading candidate among nine hopefuls running against the incumbent, Andrzej Duda of the right-wing Law and Justice party.

Trzaskowski has not publicly declared intentions to offer restitution.

In its statement the council — a nongovernmental organization established by the Association of Polish Journalists — wrote that “inciting anti-Semitism, racism and hatred against minorities is not in the interest of the country.”

Sebastian Rejak, acting director of the American Jewish Committee Central Europe Office, had complained about the report to the ethics council, calling it “the age-old anti-Semitic prejudice in which Jews are associated with money and international conspiracies that can harm Poland.”

Poland has returned millions in compensation for property that was owned by Jewish communities, but it is the only major country in the former Soviet bloc that has taken no action to return private property, according to the World Jewish Restitution Organization.

Resistance to efforts by the United States, Israel and Jewish groups to have Poland offer such compensation has become a major theme for the political right in Poland. Some estimate that the claims could run to the billions of dollars.

TVP has not responded to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s request for comment.



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