Leading Anti-racism Polish Party Leader Receives anti-Semitic Death Threat

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Ryszard Petru, who is not Jewish, was hit with an anti-Semitic death threat.
Ryszard Petru, who is not Jewish, was hit with an anti-Semitic death threat.Credit: WikiMedia Commons, JTA Photo Archive

A Polish lawmaker from a political party with a strong anti-racism agenda said her party leader received a handwritten, anti-Semitic death threat whose author signed it “Sniper.”

The note, which is presumably addressed to the leader of the Modern Party, Ryszard Petru, read: “A bird that shits over its nest needs to be shot. Time unknown, Jewish son of a bitch. Sniper.”

On Monday, Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, a lawmaker for the party headed by Petru, who is not Jewish, published a photo of the note on Twitter.

Earlier that day, the Modern Party, which in the 2015 election won 30 seats out of 460 in the Polish parliament, presented its program for combating discrimination. It proposed several steps to increase protection for homosexuals and people with disabilities.

This complements its three-point program to combat hate speech and hate crimes that features proposed changes to the penal code that would make hate speech against certain groups subject to especially strict punishment.

“Poland has a problem with hate speech and this is visible in soccer matches, but not only there,” said Jonny Daniels, founder of the From the Depths group, which promotes Holocaust commemorations in Poland. “Prosecutors often do nothing about it.”

The program presented by the Modern Party and action by other entities in Poland “gives the general hope that the issue will be taken seriously, not as a fringe theme anymore,” Daniels said.

The death threat shows “the seriousness of the issue,” he added, “which most certainly cannot be taken lightly.”

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