(JTA) — A far-right Polish politician said that footage of locals beating an effigy of a Jew shows that his country is being spied on by Jews or Freemasons.
Janusz Korwin-Mikke, a former lawmaker in the European Parliament and leader of Poland’s small Liberty Party, aired his conspiracy theory earlier this week while commenting on reports in the Israeli media about a custom in which residents of the town of Pruchnik beat with sticks an effigy of an Orthodox Jew representing Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus.
Korwin-Mikke in a live-streamed conversation singled out Jonny Daniels, the Israeli-British founder of the Holocaust commemoration group From the Depths, as a foreign agent “sent here to spy, perhaps working for Freemasons.” The topic he was discussing is the media coverage of Friday’s event in Pruchnik.
Daniels, who said he would sue Korwin-Mikke over the false espionage claim, has condemned the event in the Polish media.
Meir Bulka, another Israeli who runs the J-Nerations group devoted to Jewish heritage sites in Poland that documented the incident, said it risks encouraging violence against Jews.
On Wednesday, police investigators arrived in Pruchnik following the initiation of a criminal investigation of incitement to violence, the Polish media reported.
Earlier that day, Israel’s Foreign Ministry joined the chorus of condemnations of the incident.
“We regret the anti-Semitic incident in the village of Pruchnik during the festival of Easter, but are encouraged by the firm reaction by the Polish church, authorities and senior officials in Poland’s government,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.