Gazeta Wyborcza

Over the last several years, Independence Day, which fills us with justified pride, has unfortunately also provided extremist right-wing organizations a platform to promote racial and ideological hatred. This year, the National-Social Congress, in partnership with the radically nationalist magazine The Storm, has invited Richard B. Spencer to participate in a seminar to mark Independence Day.

Spencer, a white supremacist and leader of the neo-Nazis in the United States, has repeatedly and publicly voiced extreme antisemitic and racist slogans. He was also present at the violent Charlottesville protest against the removal of Confederate statues that led to the death of Heather Hyer. Spencer was also co-organizer of a conference on the future of "white" Europe that was scheduled for October 2014 in Budapest. After the Hungarian interior minister withdrew permission to hold the conference, Spencer was arrested, detained for a few days, and them deported from Hungary.

Spencer’s views threaten not only the Jewish community, but all minority groups. The hatred he and his followers spread is antithetical to our cherished values ​​of human rights and democracy. Therefore we call upon the organizers to withdraw his name from the list of seminar participants, and request the Polish authorities to support this call. Since the opinions Spencer disseminates are in stark opposition to the principles protected by Polish law, a clear, strong message from the country’s leaders is necessary. Certainly, Independence Day is the worst possible setting for this character to spew his poison.

American Jewish Committee (AJC) has for many years supported Poland and the other countries of the region as important participants in transatlantic relations. It recognizes Poland as an exemplary leader in the transition to democracy that was initiated by “Solidarity” in 1989. We supported Poland’s aspirations for NATO membership, and engage in furthering Polish-Jewish dialogue. The recent opening of the AJC Central Europe office in Warsaw indicates the organization’s determination to further strengthen Polish-American relations and the values ​​on which they are built.

Agnieszka Markiewicz,

Director, AJC Central Europe

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