Polish priest says on public TV that truth for Jews is whatever’s beneficial to them


(JTA) — Representatives of Polish Jews have complained to the state media watchdog about a public broadcaster airing an interview with a priest who said Jews have a unique understanding of the concept of truth.

Henryk Zielinski, editor in chief of the Catholic weekly Idziemy, made the remarks Feb. 24 on TVP, according to the complaint filed Monday by the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland with the National Council of Radio and Television.

Jews have “a completely different system of values, a different concept of truth,” Zielinski said. “For us, the truth corresponds to facts. For the Jew, truth means something that conforms to his understanding of what’s beneficial. If a Jew is religious, then truth means something God wants.”

For nonreligious Jews, he said, “the truth is subjective or whatever serves Israel’s interests.”

Zielinski cited the Haggadah, the text read by Jews at the Passover seder, which contains the story of the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt.

“Often these stories have nothing to do with facts,” he said.

The interviewer, Michał Karnowski, did not contest Zielinski’s assertions, according to the complaint.

Zielinski’s remarks violated National Council of Radio and Television principles for content on public media, including its ban on ideas that “incite to hatred or discriminate on the grounds of race, disability, gender, religion or nationality,” the Jewish union wrote in its complaint.

The interview with Zielinski comes amid an increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric following a row between Poland and Israel, as well as with international Jewish groups, on a law passed in Poland last month that limits rhetoric on the Holocaust.

The law criminalizes blaming Poland for the Nazis’ crimes. Its opponents say it will complicate research and impede free speech on the genocide, in which thousands of Poles are believed to have betrayed Jews to Nazis. Thousands of Poles also rescued Jews from the Holocaust.

Recommended from JTA