Polish President Denies Saying Israel Is Responsible for anti-Semitism in Poland

Jewish Insider reported Poland's Duda blamed anti-Polish rhetoric by Israeli leadership for rising anti-Semitic attack in Poland, but his office, other participants provided a different account of the event

Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks at a ceremony commemorating 80 years since the outbreak of WWII in Poland, September 1, 2019.
\ AGENCJA GAZETA/ REUTERS

Polish President Andrzej Duda denied blaming Israeli leaders' anti-Polish rhetoric for rising anti-Semitism in Poland, responding to a widespread report by Jewish Insider.

The Polish Embassy released a statement from the president's spokesperson, Blazej Spychalski, saying, "The quote is not only inaccurate. It is plainly not true. President Duda never said that 'Israel is responsible for recent anti-Semitic attacks in Poland.' All participants of the said meeting can corroborate this. The 'Jewish Insider' made this up."

According to the report published Thursday, Duda made the statements at a meeting of American Jewish leaders at the Polish Consulate in New York on Wednesday.

The report said that Duda referred to comments by Israel's Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, who claimed earlier this year that Poles "suckle anti-Semitism with their mothers' milk."

>> Read more: Poland vs Israel: Who's really winning the war over Holocaust history? | Opinion ■ The Holocaust's evasive history in both Poland and Israel | Opinion

According to the report, Duda called Katz's statements a "humiliation," adding that the recent rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Poland is a reaction to Katz's comments and others like them.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a well-known American rabbi and author who was present at the meeting, reported an account of the events to The Jerusalem Post. According to Rabbi Boteach, while Duda did express his disappointment in Katz's statements, the comments attributing anti-Semitism to Israel were made by Edward Mosberg, a well-known Holocaust survivor.

Katz's statements about Polish anti-Semitism resulted in Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki cancelling his planned attendance at the Visegrad summit in Israel organized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February.

In May, an Israeli man spat on the Polish Ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski, further increasing animosity between the two countries. President Duda denounced the incident as a "hate crime" and called it a "humiliation of Polish pride."