The reaction to Helen Thomas's remarks about Israel gave rise to a disturbing, but not unexpected, barrage of Poland bashing. Important information was ignored.
Some 10,000 Jews who had emigrated to Palestine chose to return to Poland in the interwar period. During Stalin's postwar "liberation" of Poland, tens of thousands of Poles were killed. Many more were arrested and tortured, among them Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, part of an underground group that rescued Jews. Historian David Engel estimates that around 500 of the postwar victims
Some died as agents of the new regime where 37 percent of the top echelon of the security police, which led the fight against the democratic underground, were Jews. Others were victims of crime at a time when the state was the primary human rights abuser and thus encouraged lawlessness. However, the American Jewish Committee, which monitored conditions in Poland closely, reported in 1947 that "the return of Jewish property, if claimed by the owner or his descendant, and if not subject to state control, proceeded more or less smoothly." That was the norm, not the exception. Thousands of properties were reclaimed without incident.
One would have thought that Helen Thomas's remarks should have sparked some interest in the plight of the Palestinians at that time. Hundreds of Palestinians were killed by Jewish freedom fighters in Deir Yassin and elsewhere and their property was stolen. Why the selective outrage?
Canadian Polish Congress, Toronto District