Non-Jews do not like us, says top Polish rabbi

By Nissan Tzur, June 19, 2014
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Rabbi Gruary

Rabbi Gruary

The new Chief Rabbi of Krakow, Eliezer Gurary, gave an interview shortly before his appointment in which he said that "non-Jews do not like Jews".

Responding to a question about antisemitism in Poland just ahead of his official inauguration ceremony last Sunday, Rabbi Gurary said: "Let's say it clearly. Those who are not Jews do not like Jews. Everyone understands and knows this."

Rabbi Gurary's statement sparked outrage among Jewish leaders in Poland, and many non-Jews.

Polish-Catholic volunteers at the Jewish Community Centre in Krakow protested outside the "Temple" synagogue - the location of the inauguration ceremony.

Shortly after the interview was published, Rabbi Gurary posted an apology on his Facebook page and called his remarks a "misunderstanding".

However, several people who have heard the recorded interview confirmed that Rabbi Gurary did indeed make the statement as quoted.

In a letter published on the website of Krakow's Jewish Community Centre, six Jewish leaders strongly condemned Rabbi Gurary's remarks: "We are disturbed… by the comments attributed to the incoming Chief Rabbi of Krakow, Eliezer Gurary. These words essentially painted all non-Jews as antisemites. By doing so they insulted the 38 million non-Jewish Poles in this country and potentially compromised the efforts of Jews. We live in a Poland where many non-Jews work hand in hand with Jews to help re-build Jewish life."

Other members of Krakow's Jewish community have, however, dismissed the accusations against Rabbi Gurary and claim he is the victim of political manoeuvring. There has been a long running dispute between the president of Krakow's Jewish community, Tadeusz Jakubowicz, who wanted to appoint Rabbi Gurary as the city's new chief rabbi, and the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, who favoured Rabbi Avi Baumol for the position.

Kaludia Klimek, founder of website Jewrnalism.com and a member of Krakow's Jewish community, backed Rabbi Gurary, calling him "a person you can count on not only with regard to issues of religion".

    Last updated: 5:45pm, June 19 2014