The headquarters of right-wing Catholic broadcaster Radio Maryja, in Torun, Poland. Photo: Reuters / Peter Andrews.
A Canadian radio station has cut its long-standing ties with one of Poland’s leading Catholic broadcasters over its antisemitism, in a move welcomed by Jewish groups.
Toronto AM station CJMR 1320 notified Polish broadcaster Radio Maryja of the immediate cancelation of their contract last week.
Matt Caine — vice president of CJMR 1320 — noted in a letter that the broadcaster had “failed” to respond adequately to detailed complaints from experts and advocacy groups about its portrayal of Jews and Judaism, and that its Canadian representative, Fr. Jacek Cydzik, had simply dismissed these as “inaccurate” without providing evidence of why.
“Therefore, despite our long business relationship, we believe that we have clear and overwhelming reasons to immediately cancel our contract,” Caine stated in the Dec. 11 letter.
B’nai Brith Canada — one of the Jewish groups that provided documented evidence of the antisemitic statements broadcast on Radio Maryja — said it was “extremely pleased” by the decision.
“B’nai Brith Canada provided CJMR 1320 with substantial evidence of Radio Maryja’s longtime promotion of vitriolic antisemitic content, including conspiracy theories about imagined efforts by Jews to control Poland and exploit the Holocaust for personal gain, referring to Jews as ‘greedy,’ and slandering Judaism as a religion of ‘trade,’ among other forms of antisemitism and prejudice against other minorities,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday.
Canadian politicians also welcomed the news, among them the former deputy premier of Alberta, Thomas Lukaszuk.
“I commend CJMR 1320 for eliminating the often offensive Radio Maryja program from their airwaves and, by doing so, silencing the spread of division in Canada,” Lukaszuk said.
On Tuesday, Radio Maryja in Poland broadcast a program that discussed the news from Toronto with the inclusion of antisemitic tropes.
According to a report
in the Polish daily Wyborcza
, one of the participants in the discussion attacked B’nai Brith by reminding listeners that the Jewish organization had been banned during the 20th-century interwar period in Poland — a time when antisemitic ideology and violence were rife in the country.
“If we got along with the freemasons, and if we stopped being pro-Polish, we wouldn’t have any problems,” the same participant joked sarcastically, as another member of the panel observed that Radio Maryja had been “the target of attacks since its inception, when it took the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”