Poland’s public broadcaster has been accused of using an antisemitic dogwhistle to discredit the main opposite candidate ahead of the country’s presidential election in June.
State-owned TVP broadcast a seven-minute report on Tuesday portraying opposition candidate and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski as being in hoc to a “powerful foreign lobby” and “rich groups who want to rule the world.”
Mr Trzaskowski, who is running as the candidate of the liberal Civic Platform, is challenging the increasingly autocratic tendencies of Poland’s governing Law and Justice party at the polls on June 28.
Ever since the national-conservative Law and Justice returned to power in 2015, Poland’s public media outlets have been turned into what Reporters Without Borders have called “government propaganda mouthpieces”.
Rafal Pankowski, who heads the anti-racism organisation ‘Never Again’, told AP that it was “pretty obvious to anyone who watched” TVP’s report that the “foreign lobby” and “rich groups” were references to Jews.
The report also linked Mr Trzaskowski to Jewish Hungarian-American investor George Soros - a regular target of far-right antisemitic conspiracy theories - saying that the Warsaw Mayor had once studied on a Soros scholarship.
Tuesday’s broadcast also noted that Mr Trzaskowski had negotiated Poland’s acceptance of 7,000 refugees in 2015, illustrating the comments with clip of rioting in Western countries.
This is not the first time that TVP has been criticised for antisemitism during the campaign.
On June 5, TVP broadcast a report attacking Mr Trzaskowski as “against Catholics” and cited a remark from 2018 in which he professed his belief in “the God of Spinoza”.
The report described Baruch Spinoza as a “Jewish philosopher” who is “condemned by Orthodox Jews”.