Emboldened by vicious conspiracy theorists who maliciously blame Jews for the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, a Toronto Polish newspaper recently carried an article disseminating that outrageous calumny.
By way of response, B’nai Brith Canada justifiably filed a criminal complaint with the police and requested an investigation of this gross manifestation of antisemitism as a hate crime.
“Propagating the lie that Jews are responsible for COVID-19 must be met with criminal charges, especially when someone does so repeatedly,” said B’nai Brith Canada’s chief executive officer, Michael Mostyn. “This horrifying pandemic has killed thousands of Canadians, ravaged out economy and turned our lives upside-down. Blaming it all on an already disproportionately targeted minority group is loathsome.”
Glos, a small weekly edited by Wieslaw Magiera that was previously known as Glos Polski, ran the offensive piece, Coronavirus, or the Fake Pandemic, on its front page in its March 25 edition and again on April 22.
As if this crude accusation was not enough to satisfy its mindless animus, Glos hurled yet more gutter-level accusations against Jews.
It suggested that the Islamic State organization was founded by Jews to reduce the Christian population of the Middle East. It described Israel as “an emanation of the Devil himself” and as “the cause of all the world’s woes.” It claimed that Jews seek to seize Poland to create a “Judea-Poland.” And it said that Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were or are secret Jews.
Regrettably, Glos is not the only Polish periodical in Toronto reeking of animosity toward Jews.
Two months ago, Goniec — a minuscule weekly whose editor is Andrzej Kumor — carried a series of articles warning that Jews seek to exert control over Poland through “puppet politicians” in the United States, and that Jews are “playing their old game” of trying to interfere in the affairs of governments.
Goniec, too, has accused Jews and Zionists of being terrorists, and has urged readers “to stand up to the Jews”
“We are appalled by the blatant Jew-hatred peddled by this publication,” said Mostyn. “While there is room for disagreement over policies in modern Polish-Jewish relations, the antisemitic content we are seeing is truly beyond the pale.”
In reaction to Goniec’s fabrications, B’nai Brith Canada filed a complaint with the police. Kumor, who disengenuously denies being hostile to Jews, was subsequently arrested, warned to desist from publishing more incendiary articles, and released.
Judging by their noxious views, Kumor and Mageira are two peas in a pod. They are rabid right-wing Polish nationalists who support the far-right Confederation political alliance in Poland, which has 11 representatives in the Polish parliament, the Sejm.
The Confederation is one of the latest iterations of the National Democrats, a pre-World War II Jew-baiting political party which called for the removal of Jews from Poland.
During a 2019 election campaign debate in the city of Kielce — the site of a pogrom in 1946 that prompted the flight of thousands of Jews from Poland — Dawid Lewicki, a Confederation candidate, provocatively stuck a kippah in front of Anna Krupka, an opponent from the ruling Law and Justice Party. And in a contemptuous comment, he said, “This is the symbol of Law and Justice. They kneel before the Jews, they sell the country for $300 billion.”
Lewicki made this revolting antisemitic gesture as he and his rival sparred over the contentious issue of Polish restitution payments to victims of the Holocaust. Poland has returned some Jewish community property seized by the Nazis and the Communists, but has so far refused to return private property to their rightful Jewish owners or heirs. Nationalists like Lewicki contend that Poland has no obligation to give back such property.
Kumor and Mageira are peddling this divisive bile to Polish immigrants in Canada. The pair should be put on notice by the police or by the provincial government that such provocations fall under the category of hate speech in the Canadian Criminal Code and are intolerable in a country that values diversity and democracy. They should be made aware that incitement to racial hatred is completely unacceptable and crosses the boundaries of fair free speech
If they fail to comply, they should pay the penalty — the sooner, the better.