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US ambassador’s Passover wishes in Polish met with anger

April 21, 2019
FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2018 file photo, Georgette Mosbacher stands next to an American flag after receiving her credentials as new United States ambassador to Poland in Warsaw. Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher wished Jews a happy Passover in Polish, and the reaction has been a wave of angry comments on Twitter. Mosbacher was accused of offending the country with her Passover tweet on Friday April 19, 2019, and was reminded she serves in a predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Poland wished Jews a happy Passover in Polish, and the reaction was a wave of angry comments on Twitter.

Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher also wished Poles a happy Easter on Sunday. By then, Mosbacher had been accused of offending Poland with her Passover tweet and reminded she is serving in a predominantly Roman Catholic country.

Krystyna Pawlowicz, a lawmaker with Poland’s right-wing ruling party, called the ambassador’s tweet, which was posted Friday along with a colorful illustration of items for a Passover Seder, a “provocation.”

Some came to Mosbacher’s defense, recalling that Poland also has a small Jewish population. Poland was home to Europe’s largest Jewish population before the Holocaust.

Michal Szczerba, an opposition lawmaker, put some blame on the ruling Law and Justice party, accusing it of encouraging Polish nationalists by failing to react to past cases of racism and anti-Semitism.

Mosbacher’s critics included far-right activist Robert Bakiewicz, who organizes a yearly Independence Day march that Polish government officials joined last year.

“Christ died and was resurrected also for you, pagans and traitorous Jews,” Bakiewicz said.

Also Sunday, Polish media reported that residents of a town in southeast Poland, Pruchnik, carried out a Good Friday tradition of beating and burning an effigy that was styled to look like an Orthodox Jew. The effigy represented Judas, the betraying disciple of Christ in the New Testament.

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