News Brief

Israel wants Polish Catholic leaders and the Polish government to condemn a priest who was recorded making anti-Jewish comments.

Tadeusz Rydzyk, a Roman Catholic priest and owner of the ultra-conservative Catholic broadcaster Radio Maryja, reportedly depicted Jews as greedy because of property restitution claims and criticized Polish President Lech Kaczynski for supporting the Museum of the History of Polish Jews that is opening in 2009.

Rydzyk’s comments were made public earlier this month in the Polish magazine Wprost. He has responded to criticism by saying he never meant to offend anyone. Radio Maryja has a history of airing anti-Semitic commentaries.

Israeli Ambassador David Peleg told The Associated Press, “I think that this is the strongest anti-Semitic remark here in Poland since 1968. We hope that the government, on one hand, and the Catholic Church, on the other hand, will make a statement condemning this anti-Semitic remark.”

Peleg has asked Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the president’s twin brother, to condemn the priest’s remarks, but the president and prime minister have withheld comment, saying they first needed to verify the authenticity of the recording obtained by Wprost.

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