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Fallout mounts from anti-Semitic Polish booklet

Poland’s Foreign Ministry condemned an anti-Semitic booklet published by a Polish member of the European Parliament. “Civilizations at War in Europe,” by Maciej Giertych, portrays Jews as unethical money-chasers who can’t integrate into wider society. Giertych is former chairman of the Catholic-oriented League of Polish Families, a political party now headed by his son Roman, Poland’s education minister. The booklet, released Feb. 14, was condemned by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, American Jewish Committee and Anti-Defamation League. The Polish president then reacted, saying the booklet did not represent Polish opinion and contradicted the teachings of the late Polish-born Pope John Paul II. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement Thursday that was more critical. “The booklet contains numerous unacceptable and alarming expressions with regard to the European Jewish community. In a democratic Poland, any manifestation of xenophobia and anti-Semitism is combated with determination,” it said. The statement continued: “A common Polish-Jewish history is not only a reason for pride and esteem for the contribution of the Jewish citizens of Poland to our cultural heritage, it also leads to close relations of contemporary Poland with the State of Israel and with the Jewish Diaspora. We wish to make these relations ever stronger and deeper.” Also on Thursday, the European Parliament announced it would begin hearings to place sanctions on Giertych for using the European Parliament logo on the booklet.

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