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Polish TV ad slammed

by: JTA and staff - Last updated: 2007-10-17

A right-wing Polish political party is running a campaign advertisement that some suggest is anti-Semitic in the run up to a general election on Sunday.

The television ad from the League of Polish Families' indicates that Poland has sent soldiers to Iraq to serve Jewish and US interests, The Associated Press reported.

The ad shows Polish President Lech Kaczynski meeting with President Bush and then at the Western Wall with Orthodox Jews. The ad states: "Our allies. They put us in the line of attack."

The head of the party defended the ad, saying it was not anti-Semitic but only critical of the cooperation between Poland and Israel. "One can be against the war in Iraq without being an anti-Semite," Roman Giertych said at a news conference. "This ad shows the cooperation between Poland and the US, and Poland and Israel — we have a right to criticise it," he added.

Jacek Kurski, a lawmaker with the governing Law and Justice party, slammed it as "a pathetic masquerade" that was "seasoned with some anti-Semitism." Poland's Stop War movement, which opposes Polish involvement in Iraq, distanced itself from the ad and said it has "strong anti-Semitic connotations."

In a statement, The Board of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland said: "The use of such materials during an election campaign by the Election Committee for League of the Right of the Republic is highly inappropriate. The Western Wall is the only surviving remnant of the Jerusalem Temple – which has great significance not only for the Jewish people but also for Christians. It is a place of frequent pilgrimages, the late Pope, John Paul II, was also one of those who prayed at the Wall. Using the visits at the Western Wall as an element of political rivalry is at least inappropriate."