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Walesa Will Fight U.N. Resolution but is Vague on Anti-semitism Battle

March 26, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Polish President Lech Walesa pledged Monday to work to overturn the infamous 1975 U.N. General Assembly resolution denigrating Zionism as a form of racism.

He also vowed to extend government protection to Jewish sites in Poland.

Walesa said he would raise the issue of overturning the Zionism resolution with U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, with whom he met following a gathering here with several dozen American Jewish leaders under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress.

Poland joined those supporting the resolution when it came up for a vote on Nov. 10, 1975.

Walesa also said that a law to protect Jewish sites, including synagogues and cemeteries, is currently being considered by the Polish parliament.

“If I had it in front of me, I would sign it (into law) right now,” he said.

Walesa, the Solidarity trade union leader who got his start in the Gdansk shipyards, arrived here on the last leg of his first trip to the United States as a head of state.

On Sunday, he was in Chicago, where he met at the Polish Consulate with a delegation of American Jewish Committee leaders. He invited the group’s president, Sholom Comay, and its director of interreligious affairs, Rabbi A. James Rudin, to Warsaw to begin a more extensive exchange of concerns.

The group hopes to discuss the findings of a survey it has just completed on Polish attitudes toward Jews and Judaism.


Walesa also met last week in Washington with a group of Holocaust survivors at a meeting arranged by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

At his appearance here, the Polish president asked American Jews to “go forward, do not look back into darkness” in their relationship with Poland.

Sam Bloch, senior vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, urged Walesa to “personally speak out to the Polish nation about repeated acts of bigotry,” and “to teach them that hatred of Jews is un-Christian in the spirit of Vatican Council II.”

Walesa dismissed Bloch’s suggestions as “a politician’s slogans” and then asked the Jewish leaders to “give me ways of solving this, and I will do it, I promise you.”

While Walesa recently announced the creation of a presidential task force to combat anti-Semitism, he did not answer a question about what specific first steps it will take.

He promised to “oppose anti-Semitism with all my authority,” but was clearly frustrated when several American Jewish leaders asked for a more concrete illustration of his plans.

“I will be where anti-Semitism is. I cannot give you more,” the Polish president said. “If I could be a Jew, frankly, I would, and I would shout to all the world, ‘I’m proud to be from the chosen people.'”

To that, one Jewish leader said, “You wouldn’t want to. It’s not easy to be a Jew.”

“It’s not easy to be a Pole either,” Walesa shot back.

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