Poland to Fund Nationalist Website Headed by Student Who Made Antisemitic Comments

The Polish government will give $50,000 to an organization led by a student who was suspended from the University of Warsaw over hate speech

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Far-right groups hold a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, in 2018.
Far-right groups hold a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, in 2018.Credit: Czarek Sokolowski/AP

The Polish government will give $50,000 to a nationalist organization headed by a student who was suspended from the University of Warsaw partly for hate speech against Jews.

Konrad Smuniewski’s Nowy Lad (or Nowy Order) website will receive the grant as part of the government’s annual funds to nongovernmental organizations.

In 2016, Smuniewski caused controversy for calling Jews “communists” and “Bolsheviks” at a Hanukkah party that featured Poland’s chief rabbi. He also wrote on Facebook that in Judaism there is “racism, xenophobia, hatred.”

A year ago he was suspended from the university after using offensive words for LGBTQ people and proposing that Jews should be chased out of Poland at a rally.

Smuniewski’s website received the money for “developing local watchdog organizations and civic media.” The conservative website rails against liberalism, criticizes LGBTQ people, the left and the West. Its authors are associated with nationalist organizations.

Another organization that received support from the Polish government is the Independence March Association, which organizes a large nationalist march through the streets of Warsaw every year on November 11.

Robert Bkiewicz, a leader in the movement to oppose Holocaust restitution claims to Jewish heirs, is associated with the organization.

“These grants go way beyond the simple abuse of public funds, and constitute active support of purveyors of antisemitism,” Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Referencing the government institute that disperses the funds, he said: “The National Institute of Freedom should change its name to National Institute of Freedom to Hate.”

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