Surge in antisemitic tropes in Polish media in run-up to elections, Jewish group claims

European Jewish Congress says its president, Moshe Kantor, who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been singled out for particular vitriol, conspiracy theories
There has been a surge in antisemitic tropes appearing in the mainstream media in Poland in the runup to the country's general election, according to the European Jewish Congress, which advocates for more than 40 Jewish communities throughout Europe.
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The organization, in a statement released on Monday, also condemned recent attacks on Jewish communities in the European Union.
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משה קנטור בפורום השואה העולמי ביד ושם
משה קנטור בפורום השואה העולמי ביד ושם
Moshe Kantor speaking at the World Holocaust Forum in Yad Vashem in 2020
(Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
"In what can only be regarded as a coordinated media campaign, Polish officials systematically single out the long-term president of the EJC, Dr. Moshe Kantor, and blatantly and baselessly accuse him of using the office of president of the EJC for personal gain. This outrageous claim is a conspiracy theory, which is nurtured and amplified by antisemitic stereotypes," the statement said.
Kantor, a Russian-Israeli who lives in the United Kingdom, was sanctioned by the UK last year over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is the largest shareholder in Acron, a global Russian mineral fertilizer producer, which the UK said provides "vital strategic significance for the Russian government."
In 2010, Kantor established The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the Moshe Kantor Database on Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University. Each year, on the eve of Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, the database publishes a report on global antisemitism.
The EJC on Monday also said in its statement that the Polish media have launched "an attack on the democratically-elected Jewish communities of Europe who elected and re-elected Dr. Kantor to the office of president, renewing their trust in his groundbreaking and historic work to fight against antisemitism, Holocaust distortion and denial, and for the security and values of the Jewish minority in Europe."
The EJC also noted that "Poland continues to hold out on its historic responsibility in the Shoah and to actively oppose claims for compensation for Jewish victims of the Holocaust - they are now making headlines for violating the rule of law."
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Polish President Andrzej Duda condemns antisemitism in a 2016 speech
Polish President Andrzej Duda condemns antisemitism in a 2016 speech
Polish President Andrzej Duda condemns antisemitism in a 2016 speech
(Photo: Czarek Sokolowski/AP)
The attacks on Kantor in the Polish media "are not new," according to the EJC, pointing to statements by Polish President Andrzej Duda around the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in January 2020, a gathering of 50 heads of state and government to honor the memory of the Holocaust and to commit to fighting antisemitism, and the largest diplomatic event ever to be organized in Jerusalem by then-President Reuven Rivlin. Duda pulled out of the event, co-organized by Kantor, because he was not invited to speak.
Last month, Poland appointed a temporary administrator to take control of Kantor's stake in the Grupa Azoty state fertilizer company. “There is no room for capital linked to Russian authorities in Poland,” Polish Minister of Development and Technology Waldemar Buda said in announcing the freeze on Kantor's shares.
"It seems that senior members of the ruling party in Poland found in the tragedy of the war in Ukraine an opportunity to renew and blow out their baseless attacks, and use them as a political campaign," the EJC statement said.
The European Parliament has recently already denounced the "deliberate and systematic efforts" made by the Polish government to undermine the core values of the European Union, the EJC noted.
"The EJC denounces lies and antisemitic tropes. It is high time that all democrats in the EU call out extremists and prevent them from dictating the agenda, whether in Poland or at the EU level," the statement concluded.
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