Poland’s Premier, Responding to Public Criticism, Acting to End Anti-semitism by His Military Regime

A leading Jewish official told a news conference here that Premier Wojciech Jaruzelski of Poland, responding to “a flood of public criticism” is acting to end “the resort to anti-Semitism” by his military regime which imposed martial law in Poland three weeks ago.

Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, director of interreligious affairs of the American Jewish Committee, disclosed this development at a news conference yesterday afternoon at which he and John Cardinal Krol, Archbishop of Philadelphia, denounced the Warsaw regime for attempts to foment anti-Semitism among the people of Poland in its efforts to suppress Solidarity, the country’s independent labor movement.

The Cardinal said such attempts “deserve the highest condemnation — it cannot be condoned.” Tanenbaum said the remnant of Polish Jews were being “scapegoated and held responsible for everything that has gone wrong in Poland.”

“The most recent report we have now is that Gen. Jaruzelski has begun to take seriously the flood of public criticism of this crude Nazi-like exploitation and has begun these past 24 hours to call upon leaders in the government to try to put an end to the resort to anti-Semitism.”

It was announced at the news conference that the Cardinal’s statement at the conference was being broadcast to Poland by the Voice of America.

CONTINUING CONTRIBUTIONS FROM AJCOMMITTEE

The news conference was called to announce the first of what an AJCommittee official said would be continuing contributions from the Committee to Roman Catholic relief funds for Poland. The official, Robert Fox, chairman of the Philadelphia AJCommittee, gave Krol two checks — one for $500 from the local chapter and one for $1,000 from the national AJCommittee.

Tanenbaum reported that the AJCommittee had learned that leaflets are being posted on walls and handed out on the street in Polish cities charging that Jews were monopolizing the distribution of food, manipulating Solidarity, and that they controlled 80 percent of Polish industry.

He added that the 6,000 remaining Jews in Poland were mainly old “and hardly have strength enough to keep body and soul together.” He said many Poles apparently were directly combatting the posting of the anti-Semitic leaflets, tearing them down as fast as they were posted.

POLISH AMERICANS OPPOSE ANTI-SEMITISM

Michael Blichasz, president of the Eastern Pennsylvania district of the Polish American Congress, declared at the press conference that the Congress “stands behind the American Jewish Committee in opposing anti-Semitism.”

He said the AJCommittee would join in a Solidarity rally next Sunday, sponsored by the Polish American Congress, at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in nearby Doylestown. A mass for Solidarity will be held at the shrine at which local AJCommittee members will be present as observers.

Blichasz also said a march for peace and justice in Poland will be held January 17, in which the AJCommittee will participate, which will start at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul and proceed to Independence Hall.

SERIES OF JOINT ACTIONS CITED

The news conference here was one of a number of events in which local AJCommittee chapters have joined with American Polish groups, a spokesperson at the Committee’s national headquarters reported today in New York.

The spokesperson told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that a check was presented by the Detroit chapter to the Orchard Lake (Michigan) Center for Polish Studies and Culture at a special AJCommittee chapter meeting addressed by officials of the Orchard Lake Center. The amount of the check was not specified.

The Chicago office of the AJCommittee’s Institute on Pluralism and Group Identity spearheaded a 50-member multi-ethnic coalition that formally protested the Polish military government’s “repressive edicts and actions.” The Chicago AJCommittee chapter took part with Chicago Polish leaders in a joint City Hall Chanukah candle lighting ceremony dedicated to Polish freedom, the spokesperson reported.

In New York, the American Polish Congress presented to the AJCommittee a statement vigorously condemning the use of anti-Semitism by the Polish military government. A representative of the AJCommittee’s Pittsburgh chapter was a key speaker at a mass rally in Pittsburgh to protest the imposition of martial law in Poland.

In Miami and Long Island, N.Y., Committee chapters sent expressions of support to the local chapters of the American Polish Congress.

The spokesperson said the AJCommittee has been in contact with the Polish American community through the Institute on Pluralism since 1968 when it was founded. In 1979, the spokesperson said, this contact was intensified by the Committee’s creation of a Polish Jewish Task Force which has continued an ongoing dialogue with the American Polish community.

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