Poland’s parliament quickly slapped the controversial politician with the highest financial penalty allowed
A far-right lawmaker in Poland used a fire extinguisher to douse menorah candles during an official Hanukkah ceremony on Tuesday, calling the Jewish holiday a form of “satanic worship.” The stunt was later referred to prosecutors by Warsaw’s parliament speaker.
Hosted in the Polish parliament building on Tuesday, the annual Hanukkah celebration was disrupted by Grzegorz Braun of the Confederation party, who was filmed as he hosed down a large menorah with a fire extinguisher taken from a nearby wall.
The incident was captured in videos making the rounds online, with Braun seen unleashing a cloud of white powder into the event hall as he made his way toward the candles – which represent the eight days of the Hanukkah holiday.
Polish member of parliament Grzegorz Braun used a fire extinguisher to put out candles on a menorah that was lit for Hannukah.Parliamentary proceedings were suspended. Braun has previously claimed there is a plot to turn Poland into a “Jewish state.” pic.twitter.com/wRmIhcxEPk
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) December 12, 2023
Braun was immediately confronted by other bystanders during the act, with one woman even attempting to physically intervene before taking a blast from the extinguisher.
In a brief statement after the stunt, the lawmaker declared that he was restoring “normalcy,” also labeling Hanukkah as “satanic.” Asked if he was ashamed of what he did, Braun said: “Those who take part in acts of satanic worship should be ashamed.”
Parliament speaker Szymon Holownia, who hosted the holiday celebration, called the action “absolutely scandalous,” adding that Braun had been excluded from Tuesday’s parliament session. He said he hoped the MP “would not return soon,” and noted that the incident had been referred to prosecutors for possible legal action.
Later, the speaker added that Braun’s salary would be halved for three months, and he would be forced to pay his own expenses for six months, the highest financial penalty permitted for lawmakers.
“There will be no tolerance for racism, xenophobia, [or] anti-Semitism… as long as I am the speaker of parliament,” Holownia said.
Braun has made headlines with controversial statements in the past, having called for the execution of “full-time traitors” working in local media back in 2012. During the Covid-19 crisis, he said then-Health Minister Adam Niedzielski would be “hanged” over the government’s pandemic policies, which was also reported to the prosecutor’s office.
The MP faced accusations of anti-Semitism after disrupting a lecture on the Holocaust earlier this year, storming the podium and seizing the microphone from Polish-Canadian historian Jan Grabowski before destroying the sound system on stage. Braun insisted his status as a lawmaker gave him legal immunity at the time, and ultimately was not charged for the incident.
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