The European Union has decided to give 15 million euros to a Polish college headed by controversial Catholic priest Tadeusz Rydzyk, who is accused regularly of disseminating anti-Semitism.
The College of Social and Media Culture, is affiliated with Rydzyk's radio station Radia Maryja, which itself has been accused of regularly hosting Holocaust deniers on its programs.
Holocaust survivor organizations have launched a campaign to block the move. Noah Flug, chairman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, has asked EU Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso to prevent the transfer of funds to the institution.
In addition to accusations of anti-Semitism, the institution is widely considered to oppose the European Union. The intention to fund the college is interpreted by some as an attempt by the EU and the government of Poland to silence one of the union's loudest opponents.
Rydzyk has recently received press for several anti-Semitic statements he has made on the radio station and at the college, which he founded and heads. He recently told students that Jews use the American financier George Soros' money to seize control of Poland, and regularly blames Jews of being greedy.
"Public figures in Poland have expressed sorrow for the pogrom after the war against the Jews in Jedwabne only because they received Jewish bribes ... All of the claims by Jews of the injustice that was caused to them had one goal: to extort money from the Polish," Rydzyk has been quoted as saying.
The Polish weekly Wprost published excerpts from a lecture Rydzyk allegedly delivered at the college, where he is quoted as criticizing Lech Kaczynski, the president, for bowing to pressure to compensate people - many of them Jews - for property nationalized by the postwar communist government, and for donating land for a future Jewish museum when Kaczynski was Warsaw's mayor.
"You know that it's about Poland giving $65 billion dollars to the Jews," Rydzyk reportedly said. "They will come to you and say: give me your coat. Take off your pants. Give me your shoes."
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