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Minority groups in Poland decry aggression, anti-Semitism

February 4, 2018

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki lays a wreath as he visits the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Who Saved Jews during WWII, in Markowa, Poland, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. Poland and Israel are locked in a bitter dispute over Poland's new legislation that is to regulate Holocaust speech. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Minority group representatives in Poland have written to the president to express concern about what they see as a rising wave of aggression based on nationality, race and religion.

The leaders of Ukrainian, Tartar, Jewish and other groups said in a letter published by the Polish Press Agency late Saturday they especially oppose recent “numerous and loud manifestations of anti-Semitism.”

They attributed the voicing of anti-Semitic remarks to lawmakers’ passage of legislation seeking to outlaw statements blaming Poles as a nation for World War II crimes committed by Nazi Germany.

Israel and international Jewish organizations have strongly criticized the proposal.

The opposition sparked anti-Semitic comments on social media in Poland. Members of the ruling Law and Justice party, including deputy parliament speaker Beata Mazurek, retweeted some of the comments.

The minority group leaders called on President Andrzej Duda, lawmakers and the government to “counteract all forms of xenophobia, intolerance and anti-Semitism.”

Duda has less than three weeks to sign into law or reject the Holocaust speech bill.

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