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Polonophobia

Since the fall of the Soviet Empire, no former Soviet captive nation has fared as badly as Poland in the American press. In the last year alone, unqualified denunciations of alleged Polish atrocities against Jews, most open to question, have been put into the New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Toronto Star, Toronto Globe and Mail, and smaller newspapers scattered across North America. Almost all of these accounts have a similar provenance and make the same sweeping accusations: they are, for the most part, written by Polish Jews or by their descendants and combine attacks against the Poles as an irredeemably anti-Semitic nation (in a reference to the current Polish pope, Yitzhak Shamir charged that "Poles suck in anti-Semitism with their mothers' milk") with stories about pogroms attributed to Poles.

In commenting on earlier attacks of this kind, Polish primate Josef Glemp, known for his sharp tongue, urged American Jews to call off their newspaper campaign, before (one might infer from his remarks) the Poles retaliated. Despite his tactless phrasing, Glemp was pointing to what seems a precisely focused attack on his country's reputation. Both Canadian and American Jewish organizations and the U.S. Holocaust Museum have highlighted outbursts of Polish anti-Semitism during and immediately after the Nazi occupation. Two much-discussed acts of...

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