A television host in Poland made light of the debate over a Polish law that would criminalize the use of the term “Polish death camps” by joking that they should be called “Jewish camps”, JTA reported Wednesday.
The comment comes amid tensions between Poland and Israel over the legislation, which was approved by the local Senate on Wednesday night.
Author Rafal Aleksander Ziemkiewicz, during the TVP2 show TVP Info, mocked critics of the legislation during a discussion with show host Marcin Wolski, who is also the director of TVP2.
“If we look at the percentage of involvement of countries that took part [in the Holocaust], Jews also were part of their own destruction,” Ziemkiewicz said, according to JTA.
Wolski responded, “Using this terminology, linguistically, we could say these were not German or Polish camps, but were Jewish camps. After all, who dealt with the crematoria?”
He was apparently referring to Jewish inmates who were forced to dispose of gas chamber victims at the death camps.
Krzysztof Czabański, chairman of the National Media Council in Poland, on Wednesday called for an explanation from the president of Polish Television, or TVP, Jacek Kurski.
Earlier, according to JTA ,Ziemkiewicz on Twitter called Jews opposed to the changes in Polish law “scabs,” a term often used in anti-Semitic slurs in Poland.
“For many years I have convinced my people that we must support Israel. Today, because of a few scabby or greedy people, I feel like an idiot,” he wrote in his tweet, which was later deleted.
He was criticized by David Wildstein, deputy director of TVP1.
“Using the term scab is extremely nasty,” Wildstein tweeted. “This word is disgusting,”
Ziemkiewicz replied: “You are right David, a nasty word associated with all the negative traits attributed to the stereotype Jews, which is precisely why (I used it).”
This is not the first time that Wolski has been involved in anti-Semitic controversy. Last year, Wolski read a poem that he wrote saying protesters outside the Polish parliament were “handing out matzah” during anti-government protests, thus suggesting Jews were behind the demonstrations against proposed curbs on the media.
The Jewish Community of Warsaw later filed a complaint for racist rhetoric with the National Council on Radio and Television, which has guidelines against airing such content. It also sent matzah to Wolski.