EXCL Polish ambassador writes to Jeremy Corbyn calling for Holocaust video removal

Posted On: 
8th February 2019

The Polish ambassador to London has written to Jeremy Corbyn urging him to delete a video from his Twitter feed about the Holocaust, PoliticsHome can reveal.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is under fire from the Polish embassy
Credit: 
PA Images

Arkady Rzegocki said the clip showing the Polish national flag and a Polish far-right activist suggested his nation was “the image of contemporary anti-semitism”.

He insisted: “Contrary to what is shown in the video, Poland is one of the safest countries in Europe for Jewish people.”

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The video, promoting Holocaust Memorial Day, features Labour peer Lord Alf Dubs recounting how he escaped from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia as a child and how family friends were sent to Auschwitz.

Lord Dubs condemns modern-day anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, as images of the Polish flag and notorious activist Piotr Rybak are shown.

Mr Rybak was once jailed for burning an effigy of a Jewish person and led a protest at Auschwitz on Holocaust Memorial Day last month.

In his letter to Mr Corbyn, seen by PoliticsHome, Ambassador Rzegocki said he was “disturbed” to see the video, which the Labour leader tweeted on Sunday and posted to Facebook the previous Friday.

He argued that “singling out a symbol of the Polish nation to best represent anti-Semitism is unfair and unjustified”.

“The actions of Piotr Rybak are despicable, but presenting Poland - by featuring our flag - as the image of contemporary anti-semitism is a consolidation of a painful stereotype for us,” he added.

Mr Rzegocki said Poland was “one of the safest countries in Europe for Jewish people".

He added: “Anti-semitic attacks are very rare in Poland. The Polish authorities do not tolerate anti-semitic incidents in our country and they have on numerous occasions condemned them publicly...

“And since the fall of communism, Poland has had excellent relations with Israel and both sides are keen on maintaining them this way.

“I hope that you understand my concerns and consider taking down the video.”

The Polish embassy used its Twitter feed to call for the removal of the video last week and demand an apology from Labour, but PoliticsHome understands the party has not been in touch.

A Labour spokesman refused to comment when approached by PoliticsHome.

LUCIANA BERGER ROW

It comes after the row over anti-semitism in Labour burst to the fore again after members in Liverpool Wavertree tabled two motions of no-confidence in their MP Luciana Berger.

The motions against Ms Berger - who has campaigned against anti-Semitism in the party - were eventually withdrawn following an outcry from Labour MPs, but deputy party leader Tom Watson called for the local branch to be suspended.