Poland: Confederation leader questions why Hanukkah celebrated in the Polish parliament but there is no Christmas Nativity scene

Confederation Deputy Speaker Krzysztof Bosak (right) has refused to expel MP Grzegorz Braun (left) after Braun made international headlines for extinguishing a lit menorah during a Hanukkah event in Poland's parliament.
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

During a recent Hanukkah ceremony in the Polish Sejm, Confederation MP Grzegorz Braun used a fire extinguisher to put out lit Hanukkah candles in a video that has since gone viral. This incident occurred while deputy speaker Krzysztof Bosak, who serves as chairman of the Confederation party, presided over the session.

Speaker Szymon Hołownia took over the session, excluding Braun from the proceedings and announcing a legal action against him for disturbing a religious ceremony. Hołownia also declared that the Sejm’s presidium punished Braun by halving his salary for three months and withholding his entire stipend for six months.

Following this incident, the Left party submitted a motion to dismiss deputy speaker Krzysztof Bosak, arguing that he allowed Braun to speak and deliver an “anti-Semitic” address after the incident. The Left pointed out Bosak’s insufficient response to Braun’s words, compelling speaker Hołownia to take over the session’s leadership.

The deputy speaker Bosak, in a radio interview, defended not expelling Braun from the Confederation, highlighting Braun’s qualities as a brave and credible politician, especially during Covid-19 restrictions. Bosak condemned the extinguishing of the Hanukkah candles but questioned the necessity of celebrating Hanukkah in the Sejm, particularly during a change in government, according to a report from Polish news outlet Pch24.

He also criticized the participation of Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, in the celebrations, referencing Schudrich’s comments about the Israeli army’s actions in the Gaza Strip. Bosak suggested that perhaps Hanukkah should not be celebrated in the Sejm at all, and wondered why there was not a Christmas nativity scene or an Advent wreath instead.

Bosak has come under pressure to expel Braun from his party, with rival parties threatening to remove him from his deputy speaker position if he does not do so. While appearing on a Polish news debate, Bosak was asked whether he would be willing to give up his position.

He responded, “Of course! We will not do anything for the sake of positions, and we will not allow political correctness to be imposed on us!”

Bosak downplayed the significance of Braun’s actions in the broader European context, noting that anti-Semitic attacks and protests occur daily in destabilized countries like Germany and France. He remarked that stereotypes of Polish anti-Semitism have persisted in Europe for decades.

Confederation spokesperson Ewa Hernik-Zajączkowska also questioned the celebration of Hanukkah in the Sejm on TVP Info, arguing against supporting Jewish ceremonies during Israel’s ongoing actions against Palestinian civilians. She accused speaker Szymon Hołownia and the Left party of hypocrisy, given their previous stance on the separation of church and state contrasts with their current defense of the Hanukkah celebration in the Sejm.

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