Children in the rural Polish town of Pruchnik beating an antisemitic effigy of “Judas” to mark the Easter holiday. Photo: Screenshot.
The leadership of the Catholic Church in Poland on Monday strongly condemned an Easter holiday ritual in the southern town of Pruchnik in which adults and children dragged an effigy through the streets of a stereotypical Jew replete with a sidelocks, a large nose and a wide-brimmed hat, while beating it with sticks.
In a statement from the Polish Episcopal Conference — the church’s main organ — Bishop Rafal Markowski said that in the “context of the events that took place in Pruchnik on Good Friday, Apr. 19, the Church clearly expresses her disapproval of practices that harm human dignity.”
Markowski emphasized that the “Catholic Church will never tolerate signs of contempt for members of any nation, including the Jewish people.”
Friday’s gruesome spectacle was first reported by local newspaper Expres Jaroslawski, whose correspondent, Hubert Lewkowicz, expressed shock that the eighteenth-century “Judas court” ritual was being revived “after a break of a few years.”
APRIL 22, 2019 11:17 PM
Member of Parliament for the UK’s Labour Party Grahame Morris became the focus of controversy on Monday after he retweeted…
At 5 p.m. last Friday — the hour, in church tradition, that Jesus was crucified by the Roman authorities — the antisemitic effigy was cut down from a pole in the main square in Pruchnik and dragged to the front of the town’s church. The words “Judas 2019” and “Traitor” were scrawled in black ink on the effigy’s chest.
Video shot by Lewkowicz showed an adult man instructing several children to beat the effigy with sticks, kicks and stones as a “punishment” for the crime of Judas — one of the original disciples who betrayed Jesus to the Romans, according to the Christian Bible. At one point, after the effigy had received 30 lashes from a stick to symbolize the 30 pieces of silver supposedly paid to Judas, an adult was heard encouraging the children to continue.
“Give him five [lashes] more for the fact that they want compensation from Poland,” the adult shouted towards the crown, according to Lewkowicz. Polish ultranationalists have for several years insisted that Jewish commemoration of the three million Polish Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust was motivated solely by financial gain, invoking the most widespread antisemitic stereotype prevalent in Polish society.
After the effigy was cut to pieces and burned, its remains were thrown from a bridge into the nearby Mleczka river. Lewkowicz wrote that as the effigy landed in the water, a woman standing beside him expressed disappointment at its quick disappearance. “In my day, there was more water and you could watch him swim,” the woman reportedly said.
Bishop Markowski nonetheless asserted that Friday’s ritual was un-Christian. “We remember the truth of faith that Christ gave his life for the salvation of all, which results in a Christian attitude of respect for every human being,” he said.
Jewish groups and Israeli leaders viscerally condemned the display in Pruchnik. In a statement expressing “disgust and outrage,” Robert Singer — CEO of the World Jewish Congress — declared that “Jews are deeply disturbed by this ghastly revival of medieval antisemitism that led to unimaginable violence and suffering.”
In Israel, Yair Lapid — co-leader of the Blue and White party– tweeted that “Poles should fight antisemitism, instead of passing laws which deny their part in the Holocaust” — a reference to legislation passed last year which effectively makes discussion of Polish complicity with the Nazi genocide illegal.
Lapid added that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who enjoys a good, if occasionally strained, relationship with Poland’s right-wing nationalist government — “should stop hesitating, and denounce them.”
A 2008 protest by ver.di Jugend in Karlsruhe, Germany. Photo: Wikipedia commons.
A German youth organization affiliated with the country’s second largest trade union has disavowed the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, as well as an anti-Zionist group that endorses a “one state” solution.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, ver.di Jugend announced that it passed a motion at its annual conference to reject BDS and FOR-Palestine, a group that advocates for a Palestinian-majority state in lieu of Israel and strongly opposes Zionism — the movement that supports the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination.
And the many peoples shall go and say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of Hashem, To the House of the God of Yaakov; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For instruction shall come forth from Tzion, The word of Hashem from Yerushalayim. Isaiah 2:3 (The Israel Bible™)
One year following the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, leaders from the White House Faith Initiative, along with Evangelical and Latin American leaders, gathered in Israel’s Knesset to promote dialogue and foster relations between Christians and Jews, as well as the United States, Latin America and Israel.
“I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.” Genesis 12:3 (The Israel Bible™)
An ICEJ delegation visited Israeli communities along the Gaza border and viewed a new specially designed ATV security vehicle donated through the ICEJ to a local moshav. Credit: ICEJ.
After Israel absorbed as many as 700 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the weekend, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) sent a delegation to the western Negev region on Monday to assess the updated security needs of local Israeli communities and how best to help them prepare for any future escalations.
A replica of the golden menorah in front of Titus’ Arch in Rome. (Courtesy)
“He said to me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “I see a menorah all of gold, with a bowl above it. The lamps on it are seven in number, and the lamps above it have seven pipes;” Zechariah 4:2 (The Israel Bible™)
A small group of Christians’ remarkable act of faith has ambitious aspirations: to fix the theft of the golden menorah from the Temple by Titus in 70 CE. In addition, they are seeking to return some of the Divine love that has sustained Germany despite the horrific crimes perpetrated on the Jews in the Holocaust.
U.S. Jews are more likely than Christians to say that U.S. President Donald Trump favors Israelis more than the Palestinians, according to a Pew Research poll released on Monday.
Some 42 percent of American Jews say Trump is favoring Israelis more than the Palestinians, while 47 percent of them say he has been striking the right balance between the two.
Apr 30, 2019 0Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was accused of launching a long-range rocket from northern Gaza at Israel on Monday evening, in an attempt at provoking a heavy response from the Israel Defense...
Only three-quarters of a century after Der Stürmer incentivized the mass murder of Jews by dehumanizing them, we see a revival of such bigoted caricatures.
I do not believe in free speech for me, but not for thee. But I do believe in condemning those who hide behind the First Amendment to express anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, sexist or racist views.
One of the most influential newspapers in the world, the Jewish-owned New York Times decided to present the Jews with a gift in honor of the last day of Passover – a major Jewish holiday – an antisemitic caricature. The controversial cartoon shows US President Donald Trump as a blind man with a skullcap on his head, being led by a dog that looks like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And to make sure the reader knows it is indeed the Israeli premier, the dog has a Star of David dangling from its collar.
Last week, Jared Kushner, one of the administration’s point men on the Middle East, dispensed with the term “two-state solution” in its impending peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians. “The two-state solution has failed,” he said.
The “two-state solution” does not appear in the 1993 Oslo Accords, which called only for “interim self-government” for the Palestinians. The goal was a negotiated final status agreement, in which independence was not specified.
Religious fervor always picks up before the Jewish holidays. Not surprisingly, Israeli undercover police arrested Jewish activists from the Hozrim L’Har (Returning to the Mount) organization early Friday afternoon, just before the onset of the Passover holiday, after an apparent attempt to bring a young goat on to the Temple Mount for a self-proclaimed sacrificial rite. Indeed, this drama plays itself out every year, but according to Jerusalem police, this year a record of at least twelve members of the organization were arrested throughout the course of the day on counts of disturbing the peace.
Every year when Passover eve arrives, I do my best not to think about that night; to allow the joy of cherished rituals meant to renew our family’s tribal history and faith envelop us in its warm glow as whoever among the kids and grandkids it’s our turn to host partake of the matzoh, bitter herbs, and wine. Often – actually most often – I succeed.