Polish politician attempts to suppress film exposing country’s anti-Semitic issues

Marek Jurek, a senior Polish politician and former speaker in the Polish Parliament, has called for the Polish Government to take legal action against London-based Polish Film Director Aro Korol for his planned film – “Hitler’s Daughter” – which exposes the worrying levels of anti-Semitism in Poland, and Europe, today.

Mr. Jurek – a former member of the Law and Justice party – called on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Radosław Sikorski, to intervene, claiming that:

“Such behaviour [i.e. producing such a film] should not only be met with severe political reaction, but also legal steps, to prevent unpunished insults addressed at Polish institutions at an international audience”.

In the opinion of Mr Jurek and his political allies, Mr. Korol should be prosecuted for his activity, which – in their view – is of criminal nature.

In July 2009, a promo reel of “Hitler’s Daughter” was presented at the Galway Film Fair and subsequently posted on the film’s website. The film – currently in production – explores the rise in anti-Semitic movements in Poland and across Europe. The promo reel created a media frenzy in Poland, making the headlines of major Polish press titles and remained one of the hottest topics on numerous internet portals. Articles were also published in Hungary, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic. Mr. Korol became the object of numerous attacks (some of them anti-Semitic). One person even went so far as to say he wished Mr. Korol would die, while another said: “Leave Poland alone, you Jew, or we’ll cut your hands off.”

Watch the promo reel:

Our guest writer is Lidia Wieczorek

UPDATE 22.09

After a commenter pointed out that there is only one MP featured in the article above we changed the headline to the singular. There is a second politician implicated in this story and Left Foot Forward will be following up.

14 Responses to “Polish politician attempts to suppress film exposing country’s anti-Semitic issues”

  1. Gordon

    So Jurek is a FORMER member of Law and Justice. And Law and Justice sit with the Tories in the European Parliament. So what?

    That’s as tenuous as expecting the Polish Socialists to be embarrassed bcause George Galloway, a former member of the British Labour Party, made an outrageous statement in the House of Commons.

    Is that the sound of barrels being scraped?

  2. willstraw

    Gordon,

    Lidia was drawing our attention to a disgraceful episode in Poland. It doesn’t make any references at all to the British Conservative party, ECR or Michal Kaminski and is just a straight piece of reporting.

    But you’re clearly a bit testy on the issue. Care to tell us why? You don’t work for CCHQ do you?

    Will

  3. FYI

    Hang on a minute, the headline of this piece says “Senior Polish MPs attempt to suppress film exposing country’s anti-Semitic issues”

    But this is a request by ONE politician who according to Wikipedia (for what its worth) doesn’t even have a parliamentary seat and has quit Law and Justice for ideological reasons.

    The headline is wrong. Its not MPs in the plural but one man, he is not senior, he is not even an MP, he is not even a member of a parliamentary party. He has asked for the film to be stopped just like some random nutter. He has a past in senior politics, but that’s about it.

    And why does this individual have an issue with the film? Perhaps he has an issue with its lack of fairness and accuracy? Isn’t it his right to complain about – or even stop – what he thinks is bad journalism?

    This article seems to be another example of the sensationalist “Polish antisemitism” stereotype. We know there is antisemitism in Poland as there is everywhere, but prejudice is wrong in all its forms. Radio Maryja represent the bigoted fringe in Poland, a bit like the Daily Mail crowd in Britain.

    So this article is dodgy, prejudiced journalism. Or was this article simply PR for the film? Because that is what it looks like.

  4. willstraw

    FYI (no idea why you couldn’t even leave a proper email address but there we are).

    1) I’m no expert on Polish politics but Marek Jurek (according to the wikipedia page) is the Speaker of the Polish parliament. That makes him a pretty senior MP.

    2) You make a fair point on the headline but there is a second MP Anna Sobecka who is implicated. Since she wasn’t mentioned in the article, the headline was unfair and I am happy to amend it.

    But we will be updating later in the week since this is a disgraceful story and I don’t see why a progressive website needs a reason to cover interesting articles about anti-semitism. After all, racism and extremism is one of the four things that we are explicitly fighting against.

    Best wishes,

    Will

  5. FYI

    Are we looking at the same Wikipedia page? I have //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marek_Jurek

    It says:

    “On October 26, 2005 he was elected a Sejm marshal (parliament speaker)”
    “On April 13, 2007 he resigned from the post”
    “In the parliamentary election in 2007 his party did not win any seats in the Parliament as it found itself below the election threshold.”
    “Marek Jurek remains outside the Parliament.”

  6. FYI

    Anti-Semitism is extremely wrong. Jumping to assumptions of anti-Semitism without checking the facts is also wrong.

    I hope you do stories about false allegations of anti-Semitism and the use of allegations anti-Semitism for sensationalist purposes.

    Still, this goon Jurek thinks the documentary on anti-Semitism is slanderous and is calling for legal action and/or a foreign ministry complaint. Is that enough evidence for us to allege that he is an anti-Semite?

    If I called you or your community anti-Semitic and you didn’t think that was fair, what would you have the right to do about it?

    Surely, journalists aren’t meant to believe everything they hear, just because its calling someone or something an anti-Semite?

    What is this website’s view on Israel and the PLO by the way? Is there any anti-Semitism in the Gaza Strip? Do you criticise that, too?

  7. willstraw

    FYI,

    First let me concede that Marek Jurek is no longer a member of parliament although he remains an active politician as the head of the Right of the Republic party. Other MPs are implicated and we will write more about it in the next few days.

    Will

    In answer to your other points:

    1) Neither Lidia nor I have asserted that Marek Jurek is an anti-Semite. There are four references to anti-Semitism in the article, none associated with Jurek.

    2) Anti-Semitism is rife in Poland as you concede. We are a progressive website and when I was approached to run a piece about this episode I was happy to bring the issue to light.

    I hope that clears things up.

    Best wishes,

    Will

  8. FYI

    This is fine, but you have to change your title for a second time. The clause “Senior Polish MP” is inaccurate. “Former Polish MP” would be accurate.

    And please decide what the story is here. Are you saying Jurek thinks the allegations in the film are unprofessional and sensationalist journalism, inaccurate or unrepresentative of the facts, and that he wants to protest that? Or are you saying that he is in denial that anti-Semitism exists and he wants to whitewash antisemitism?

    Lets be precise. I said: “We know there is antisemitism in Poland as there is everywhere, but prejudice is wrong in all its forms.” I did not say “Anti-Semitism is rife in Poland”. That would be a generalization and one should look at the facts. Radio Maryja is bigoted, and so are several British media outlets. To take one outlet as an example of a national characteristic is somewhat prejudicial.

    I support your good intentions. But please remember that we fight anti-Semitism more effectively if we fight it truthfully, precisely, fairly and accurately.

  9. FYI

    You still have the mistake in your lede.

    In accordance with professional journalistic ethics, and according to the guidance around European libel laws, you still need to give the individual you name the opportunity to reply to the allegations in your article. This will make the article both more compelling and it will also protect you from the threat of litigation.

  10. FYI

    According to the Wikipedia entry for Anna Sobecka, she is not an MP. If that page is accurate, you need to correct your UPDATE 22.9 – I think that would be the 5th correction to this article.

    Please improve your accuracy and please refrain from prejudice.

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  12. Emily

    The film with the sensationalist title “Hitler’s Daughter” aims NOT to expose any levels of the alleged anti-Semitism in Poland but directly to smear Radio Maryja – the independent Catholic media in Poland. I am Polish and am listening to the radio so I have a good idea on what it is about. Due to its unbiased information and programs exposing the real political scene in Poland, this media is highly uncomfortable (to the ruling group) in the country deprived of the medial pluralism you can enjoy in the UK.
    The witch hunt and smear campaign against Radio Maryja and its creators goes on for years.
    Marek Jurek’s request is very sensible and reasonable considering the consequences of such an emotionally charged production. Accusing Poles of crimes of anti-semitism (which nota bene is lower than in other countries) will result in nothing better than spreading racism and hatred. (Anyone falsely accused would react with anger and anyone seeing the alleged crimes will become prejudiced and angry too.)
    The hate campaigners like A.Korol should be stopped from stirring and disseminating anti-Polish and anti-religious lies around the world!…

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