To Yael Bartana
Yael Bartana founded an association encouraging three million Jews to return to Poland.
The initiative, like contemporary art in general, is bold and praiseworthy. But it is hardly a new idea. In 1993, Philip Roth published a book titled Operation Shylock, in which Lech Wałęsa delivers a speech in the Knesset, calling on the former diaspora to come home.
The goals set by Yael Bartana’s association are noble, but there is no such thing as an idea that cannot be improved upon. Why would Jews want to come back to Poland, to the Warszawa Gdańska station? Aren’t Poles anti-Semitic? Why wouldn’t they rather go to countries that aren’t as backward and bigoted as Poland? To civilized Germany and its Hauptbanhof. To intellectual France and its Gar du Nord. To worldly wise England and its Waterloo station.
This is what Philip Roth, the author of the idea, has to say about it:
“When the first 100,000 Jews come rolling into Waterloo Station with all of their belongings, I really want to be there. Invite me, won’t you? When the first 100,000 diasporous evacuees voluntarily surrender their criminal, Zionist homeland to the suffering Palestinians and disembark on England’s green and pleasant land, I want to see with my very own eyes the welcoming committee of English goyim waiting on the platform with their champagne. ‘They’re here! More Jews! Jolly Good!’”
To our own, for our own
“Unidentified assailants attacked the apartment of Tomasz Pietraszewicz, director of the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre, in mid-December of last year. They threw two bricks through the window late one night. One of the bricks had a firecracker attached to it, while the other had a swastika painted on it. The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre works to document Lublin’s Jewish heritage.
The investigation is currently being conducted by the Lublin-South District Prosecutor. Investigators have classified the attack on the apartment as destruction of property and reckless endangerment of Pietraszewicz’s life and health. They set aside the anti-Semitic issue mentioned by article 119 of the criminal code. Why? Because Tomasz Pietraszewicz testified that he isn’t a Jew.
What’s the moral of this story? If someone in Lublin yells “You kike!” at another person, it must first be determined whether or not the victim is in fact a “kike”. If he or she is not a “kike”, then they are not affected by anti-Semitism.
Without this convenient interpretation of article 119, we would be incapable of understanding why it took pressure from Minister Sikorski, whose wife is Jewish, to get our authorities to start prosecuting anti-Semitic crimes.
translated by Arthur Barys