Poland: Anti-Semite appointed education minister
Itamar Eichner
Published: 17.05.06, 11:14
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1. worrying
shimon ,   madrid spain   (05.17.06)
What's going on in Poland is really worrying, although we should remember that Giertych and his party fortunately don't represent the position of the majority of the polish people. I come from a mixed polish . jewish family and i can assure you that there are many poles worried and ashamed about what's going on in our politics, where people like Giertych and company, authentically antisemitic and intolletant, are now occupying high political charges. I think it's right that the jewish media are speaking about it and they should keep doing it, but let me just add that there are many public manifestations of student against the nominations of Giertych for the ministry of education. And i can assure you, as a jew and as a pole, that, on the contrary of what seth from washington wrote in the talkback for the article of sever plocker, poland, despite its many guilts, is not he most antisemitic country in the world. Still, Giertych is a shame for our nation. Shalom
2. Right......
Reuven ,   Ramat Beit Shemesh   (05.17.06)
Like appointing a sumo wrestler to be the president Of "Weight Watchers".
3. Yes, let's rebuild the Jewish community of Poland
Yael ,   Tel Aviv   (05.17.06)
A few weeks ago there was an article about how fantastic it is that all these efforts are being made to rebuild and re-establish a "flourishing" Jewish community in Poland and how rosy life is there for Jews now. This effort struck me as utter insanity. I believe one of those orchestrating this revival commented that he was doing so because he no longer "wanted to feel like a victim." With these new developments I'd say he doesn't have to worry --soon he won't have to feel like a victim. He and his followers will get an opportunity to actually _be_ victims.
4. I agree #3:
Dan ,   USA   (05.17.06)
Utter insanity. I was in Poland 2 years ago and it was all very nice and all but there is still very significant anti-semitism there. I can't imagine Jews moving back there. It reminds me of old prisoners who just can't stand to be set free: they long for prison life. Jews belong in Europe like cherries belong in chicken soup. Europe is a racist backwater for Jews and we should have long since been through with them (as a place to live).
5. # 3
Rhoda Lesch   (05.17.06)
Why should an effort be made to rebuild the Jewish community in Poland when there is Israel?
6. response to yael
shimon ,   madrid spain   (05.17.06)
You say Jews will soon be victims in POland. Well, in defense of Poland let me tell you, that despite the presence of fanatics like Giertych, we (the polish jews) come from a country which is a democracy and we know the poles enough to be sure that WE WON'T BE VICTIMS AGAIN. there are too many tollerant poles to allow a minority, although vociferous and dangeorus, to become a real danger for us. It's natural and neccesary to be worried and to claim against Giertych and polish antisemitism, but please, preserve some sense of proportion and reality in your accusations
7. It's a fundamentalist fanatic antisemitic country
Dorothy Friend ,   Tel Aviv   (05.17.06)
Always was, always will be. They had pogroms there AFTER the Holocaust.
8. Israel and the world
Mami ,   Palestine   (05.17.06)
What do you (the Jews) want? Should every country in the world consult you and get your approval before appointing or electing anybody to do anything?
9. Poland, war crimes and EU hypocrisy
Larry ,   Eastbourne, UK   (05.17.06)
The EU admitted to membership not only Poland but also Latvia and Lithuania, i.e. three of the countries whose people most actively collaborated in the Nazi genocide of the Jews. The EU does not object to the failure of these countries to pursue Nazi war criminals. At the same time the EU refuses membership to Serbia unless it takes more rigorous action to pursue those responsible for war crimes against Muslims. What does this tell us?
10. Giertych won't last forever
Marcin Sobczyk ,   Warsaw, Poland   (05.17.06)
To those of you who think that Giertych's appointment testifies to the revival of anti-Semitic notions in Poland: Opinion polls show Giertych is probably the most hated and distrusted politician in Poland, also because he uses hate speech, his concepts are ridiculous and insane, and his acolytes (like infamous homophobic former MEP Wojciech Wierzejski) are utterly psychiatrically disturbed. And really—most of the society sees it very clearly. In a recent poll for a leading newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the questions concerned honesty, effectiveness, likeability, and dignity. Giertych had the exceptionally poorest ratings in all categories. Poland did not want Giertych in this government and did not vote for it. Such a possibility was not even considered last year, not even in his wildest dreams. His party received much fewer votes in the parliamentary election in 2005 than he had hoped for (7%, compared to his expectations of 15%) and if parliamentary elections were held today, his party would probably not win any seats in Parliament. Already in the 2005 election, Giertych, who ran for a seat from Warsaw, barely made it to the Sejm, the lower house, and he really owes it more to the electoral laws than actual support of the people. His cabinet nomination is a result of the fact that the biggest party in the Sejm, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, is short of majority and for purely mathematical reasons took Giertych aboard just to have the majority behind projects like the Central Anticorruption Office. As a minister, Giertych has so far toned down his speech and promised no ideologies in schools, although I have no illusions that the old Giertych will eventually come back. But I'm sure this will happen after he is sacked -- and that may happen even this year, once his party is no longer needed for the PiS leaders and their legislative agenda of legal reforms. Of course Giertych is a sad ideological heir to his ridiculous grandfather Jędrzej Giertych and the filo-Russian and anti-Semitic fascist Roman Dmowski, who lived in pre-war Poland (Giertych's first name, Roman, was given to him in honor of that Dmowski thug). But 1. that ideology is widely rejected in Poland (as seen in elections, when such parties get marginal support), 2. even Giertych himself had to tone down his ridiculous attitude in order to even exist in mainstream politics. Also, don't overestimate the Education Minister's influence, especially immediate influence, on schooling, teachers, parents, students. He is very limited, in reality its an administrative job. Some of the first Giertych decisions were, for instance, creating a team that will work on reintroduction of medical personnel to schools. He also advocated for salary hikes for teachers. Does anything like that have to do with ideology? He simply knows that he wouldn't get away with any of the insane crap that he feeds his followers if he tried to turn into an official policy. Plus he's only theoretically "responsible" for teaching about Holocaust and fighting anti-Semitism. In reality, it's teachers, who are quite independent in their views. It's textbooks that vary from one to another, there's a great variety to choose from, and I haven't heard of any plans of rewriting history or introducing some xenophobic content. Giertych said he wanted more patriotic upbringing, but that does not mean a fascist upbringing. Average Americans are one of the most patriotic people I've seen and it doesn't stand in the way of tolerance and cooperation. (continues)
11. Giertych continued
Marcin Sobczyk ,   Warsaw, Poland   (05.17.06)
Besides, please keep in mind that the news media in Poland are extremely critical of this minister, and also remain on constant watch of all government steps, formal and informal. The morning newspapers are really radars of all legislative, social, and economic steps this government is making or thinking about – and believe me, the government gets slammed for even pettiest things. Do you think that any official or unofficial anti-Semitic policies would go unnoticed? Especially in liberal newspapers, such as Gazeta Wyborcza or Rzeczpospolita, which have over the past years demonstrated their absolute respect for Israel, Jews, and international cooperation. The newspapers would be all over Giertych, just like they are virtually destroying his closest aide Wierzejski for his homophobic statements yesterday and today. Even the prime minister, at a conference in the stock exchange building, was confronted with questions about Wierzejski's recent homophobic statements. Judging from the mass protests against Giertych that have been happening in Poland since his nomination, as well as the crushing opposition to what he says coming from almost all politicians, including President Lech Kaczyński (who has recently called himself "a filo-Semite", and I, despite having critical views of this president, for once believe him on that matter), Giertych is the most marginal political creature you've ever seen. His real hold of this government is null, and most people, including the PiS leaders, have nothing but publicly expressed contempt for him. Crowds of young people took to the streets, mocking him, demanding his sacking, protesting against what he says. 60,000 people, including Marek Edelman, the last living Warsaw Ghetto Uprising leader, and so many artists, so many average Poles, signed an online protest posted by an informal group. People organize flash mobs to protest against this idiot. Now – do you really want to tell me that Poland wants to victimize anyone just because a marginal cretino got himself a job with extremely limited influence? And finally – please, I beg of you, try looking at Poland with a more neutral eye. This country and its people are really doing a lot for tolerance, despite vocal outcries of people like Giertych, who only value some narrowly defined national interest. Opinion polls and election results show that Poles want moderate politicians, moderate policies. They open up to the world, this is very obvious in research. Especially in the era of unrestricted travel in the EU and low-cost airlines, they travel more, they see more. So many Poles live in London now – this is THE capital of tolerance. They see those standards and they encourage change of even conservative attitudes, let alone any shameful anti-Semitic attitudes that are really isolated. (continues)
12. Giertych continued 2
Marcin Sobczyk ,   Warsaw, Poland   (05.17.06)
I've been honored last year to meet the vice-ambassador of Israel to Poland, and I've heard from him that he believes Poland is much less anti-Semitic and much more welcoming than old-EU countries, including Germany. I've so far been to the old Jewish cemetery twice, with other Poles who are also full of respect for your traditions that in fact became so much of our traditions. Frankly saying, I don't really see that much of a division between Jewish Poles and Catholic Poles or non-religious Poles. I voted for a Jewish Pole, Bronisław Geremek, for a member of the European Parliament. He won 33% of ALL votes cast in Warsaw! So obviously I wasn't alone in my decision to support him, one of the most respectable and wisest people that our nation--and your nation--have JOINTLY produced! A Jewish Pole, Bronisław Wildstein, has recently been nominated by this very ruling conservative majority to be the new president of the public television TVP! Former president Aleksander Kwaśniewski also has Jewish blood in his veins and he remains very popular! There are so many other prominent Jewish-Polish figures who are active, patriotic, respected. Please don't destroy those fragile foundations of reconciliation by bluntly dismissing the utmost and sincere change of the 20th-century Polish attitudes toward foreign nationals – be it Jews, Germans, or whoever else. Poland has been a proud and tolerant country in the past ages – this is why it had such a large Jewish population. Despite having a marginal group of Giertych followers, the country as a whole really wants to have a diverse society, a society in which Jews will also feel at home. Please let us have that.
13. war crimes
Marcin Sobczyk ,   Warsaw, Poland   (05.17.06)
1. this issue has never been brought up during negotiations -- was it perhaps because the EU did not exagerrate the issue? 2. what about all those Catholics who helped Jewish Poles? Why do you only see one side of the story? Sure there were criminals who took advantage of the Nazi situation, who shared the views of Giertych's forefathers. But there were also many many people who did not fear the death for helping Jews that awaited them from Germans.
14. not true
mike   (05.17.06)
Primo, I never heard Giertych saying anything about the Jews. Just because he's nationalist doesn't mean he's anti-anyone (well, apart from homosexuals). There's no anti-Semite party in the Polish parliament Secundo, his party has 2 percent of support in Poland. Tertio, you misspeled Kaczynski's name.
15. May 13th Edition of the Economist
Seth ,   Washington, DC   (05.17.06)
They have a huge article on Poland and their dysfunctional political system. An unnamed western diplomat stationed in Poland described Poland's political leaders by stating, "They are amazingly arrogant and amazingly ignorant."
16. EU is not on my personal visit list
Yoel Ariel ,   US   (05.17.06)
Off the top of my head I can think of many places I will NEVER visit based on my desire to go there. Please understand there are many places I would not care to go to, but HAVE visited because it was work related; my duty to visit and NOT for ANY personal enricchment or other social reason. Russia(and ALL of the former USSR satellite states) Poland, Germany, of course France, Belgium, Nederland, and several Nordic nations. In fact MOST of Europe does not beckon me with a sweet Siren song. It sucks and I do not want to visit. Nothing there I want or need. I also avoid buying most of the products manufactured in Europe as well, except for selected weapons. . Wine? No thank you. Cheese? Nah. Clothes? Get serious, my wife tells me I am tacky enought already. Their picturesque vistas? I can do without it, thank you very much. Much better views in Asia or Africa. Nicer folks too. Not at all as snotty as the Euro-snobs of bad hygine and worse manners. Australia is great for a visit or wines. You can take the entire EU and ALL of it's member states and their lousy anti-semitism and place it where Stella's Starlight will not stream(for Jazz fans). Oh. did I say Poland was off the list?
17. even Poles don't want to live there anymore
all moving to Western Europe
18. Economist
Marcin Sobczyk ,   Warsaw, Poland   (05.17.06)
Sure, they are very right. Most Polish politicians are a bunch of ignorants. They unfortunately reflect some social groups, of which more than 50% only has primary education. But please include other findings of The Economist report! TRENDS: The Economist Praises Poland for Economic Success, Criticizes Politics Friday, May 12, 2006 - 08:46 AM In its recent report on Poland, The Economist makes a clear distinction between Polish politics and its economy. The magazine sees Poland as governed by a party hostile to homosexuals, feminists, and liberalism. The country also struggles with high unemployment and badly functioning public administration. At the same time, however, Poland is described as a country which has achieved great economic success. Services are developing rapidly, export is high, and there is 5% GDP growth rate. According to the report, the biggest problems are with economic insecurity, malfunctioning tax administration, unclear laws, and education in need of reform. [Gazeta Wyborcza] ek/
19. More details on Economist report
Marcin Sobczyk ,   Warsaw, Poland   (05.17.06)
Warsaw Independent Newswire: TRENDS: The Economist: Poland Has Opportunities, New Gov't Not So Bad Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 06:01 PM WARSAW, Poland (Warsaw Independent)–Poland has great perspectives despite political tensions, says a special report presented by The Economist weekly in Warsaw on Thursday, May 11. According to the report's author Edward Lucas, Poland is a country "of big contrasts between the modern and successful private sector, the public sector in need of changes, and the state administration, which requires a radical reform." In his opinion, the services sector, such as transportation, is in the worst condition, followed by education and the judiciary. According to Lucas, "in the best-developed fields Poland is on par with other countries. The best Polish companies are very competitive." The report stresses also that EU accession has changed the conditions for business, as "before companies were isolated by customs barriers and now they may sell their products wherever they want." The report takes up the subject of the new Polish government, stating that the current social-conservative attitude and lack of PR competencies do not deserve the kind of harsh criticism that is presently voiced. Attempts to fight corruption have been mentioned as a good sign. Polish expert Witold Orłowski concluded that The Economist's publication is an honest analysis. (WI) ag/
20. ALL moving??
Marcin Sobczyk ,   Warsaw, Poland   (05.17.06)
Hello?? You're calling about 300,000 people out of a nation of 40 million ALL that are moving to old-EU countries??
21. Re: EU is not on my personal visit list
Marcin Sobczyk ,   Warsaw, Poland   (05.17.06)
You're missing out a lot if you don't see European countries, not just the EU. They're great, and they're also the fatherland of a lot of the American culture. I don't really understand your negative selection -- can you provide some criteria?
22. #8 So maybe we should appoint a Arab hating minister too
I know you love to whine about "Racist Israel" but at the end you'd love to live here rather than in the pond of crap called the Arab middle east.
23. Re: EU is not on my personal visit list
DK   (05.17.06)
That's great! You are most welcomed to stay where you are now. We do not want to see people like you coming to Europe! If I would be responsible for granting visas you would NEVER get visa to enter any european country.
24. RE #16 EU is not on my personal visit list
Mac ,   USA   (05.17.06)
Yoel, Reading your pathetic post, I now understand why foreigners have such a low opinion about us Americans (or, in your case, US citizens). Europe has a lot of good things to offer, you just have to want to see it and not close your narrow mind. An old adage says 'de gustibus non disputandum est', but you don't need to broadcast your poor tastes. Do as you please, but judge not, lest ye be judged.
25. RE: #15 - May 13th Edition of the Economist
Mac ,   USA   (05.17.06)
Hey, Seth! You quote "an unnamed western diplomat stationed in Poland described Poland's political leaders by stating, "They are amazingly arrogant and amazingly ignorant." What, as opposed to George W. Bush? The guy who bragged about his poor school results and talked about going to Greece to talk with the 'Grecians'?
26. Big Freaking Deal
Kyle ,   Southpark, CO, USA   (05.17.06)
Israel had a Jew-hating Education minister (Shulamit Aloni) years ago.
27. polish youth hate roman giertych
dzida ,   Krotoszyn , Poland   (05.17.06)
its shame for polish people to have such a guy as a education minister. trust me that here in poland most of hate him ! giertych sux !
28. #8
Jane   (05.17.06)
Well, Mami, that's what you always want. And you want everyone's money. And you want everyone's approval of terrorism. And you want, and you want, and you want. If I were you - which, by the grace of G-d I am not - I would shut up and stay out of issues that you cannot even begin to understand.
29. Who cares
Szymon ,   Poland   (05.17.06)
last time i checked it was Israel that was a counrty of Jews. Not Poland. Poland is Country of catholics. so if Jews have a problem i'm pretty sure they can leave. instead of crying about it.
30. E.U? P.U
Yoel Ariel ,   US   (05.17.06)
Good Day Martin, I have visited many of them as a result of being sent by my employers. I neither want nor am interested in the "culture" of the Vaterland of American culture. ((I dispute that claim)). If you do not understand my negative reactions based on my prior posts, you need to re-read it. I have been there. I do not think they are great, or even OK. I have been and do not feel I am missing anything by not returning on my own groschen. I reject the EU, it's inhabitants and it's dubious culture. I am happy with North & South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Not to say that I have not met europeans that are not OK. Why some of my best friends are Europeans.
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