Polish students briefed on global anti-Semitism [pg.4]

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
April 9, 2006 21:47
1 minute read.

 
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A group of Polish university students visiting Israel on an exchange program was briefed Sunday on the latest trends in global anti-Semitism, including the increasingly fine line between anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities prevalent in Europe and around the world. The hour-long event, held with a group of Tel Aviv University students at the offices of the Anti-Defamation League in Jerusalem, was part of the group's week-long program in Israel. The students were shown a video presentation of both past and contemporary expressions of anti-Semitism, which included historic blood libels against Jews along with present day caricatures and snippets from the Arab media, a Michael Jackson song and a controversial Dutch Internet advertisement for a trance party which juxtaposed scenes of the Holocaust and Auschwitz. "You hear about anti-Semitism but not many people [in Poland] speak about how to fight this, and how to react," said Polish university student Pitr Difenski, 21, a freshman at the Warsaw School of Economics. "Education is the key to solving the problem of anti-Semitism," said Warsaw University student Helena Tysxka, 21. She noted that while she originally expected that the Israeli students would be more prejudiced against the Poles due to the Holocaust, she was impressed that her Israeli contemporaries had a "healthy" attitude towards the issue. "You can see that the young generation of Israelis is really open-minded," she said. "There are more similarities between the groups than you would think," said Tel Aviv University student Yonatan Shomroni, 25, stressing the fact that both the Israeli and Polish groups consisted exclusively of high-level students. "There are fewer stereotypes here than you have in the Polish street," he added. The Israeli students participating in the popular exchange program will visit Poland for a week this spring. The program, organized by the Israeli-Polish Dialogue Forum, comes at a time of increased Polish awareness of the Holocaust despite lingering elements of anti-Semitism in Poland, following four decades of a virtual news and educational blackout on the subject during Communist rule. It also comes at a period of burgeoning Israeli-Polish relations.

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