Defamation. What it takes to be slandered in Great Britain
In Great Britain, false accusations by a local deputy are enough to deem a man guilty of imaginary crimes. Nobody even asked me if I really said the things, which she attributed to me.
Rafał A. Ziemkiewicz
This case is hardly about not letting me into Britain. Naturally, the British have the right to freely decide who they let into their country, even if that could be very unpleasant for their family. A separate matter is the fact that they have the right to do this under any reason, or even without any reason at all, but not due to someone’s political views. The United Kingdom is a signatory to international conventions, which clearly state that no one can be treated differently due to their beliefs, especially political ones. The letter I got from the British Immigration Office is effectively, in my opinion, a tort for the European Court of Human Rights.
But this would not be worth Your attention. The true problem is defamation. Defamation of not only myself, a specific writer and journalist from Poland, but also the section of Poland and the Polish political scene, with which my activity (and not always in accordance with my intentions) is associated.
I was officially spat on by the British officials, insulted with the worst insults and slandered. I have been declared a racist, an anti-Semite, and an Islamophobe (although I don’t quite understand how one can be both simultaneously) – in addition, and what constitutes the most gross slander of all and an obvious offence, a “Holocaust denier”. This operation was reminiscent of the Stalinist ritual of “exposing the class enemy”: the “gossip” and kangaroo court mechanism. No one has bothered to provide any specific objections to my views, or even explain how British authorities are aware of them, since none of my books, as far as I am aware, have been translated into English. The British official with whom I spoke refused to discuss the merits of the decision, limiting himself to “good advice” to return from the border in the first available plane, suggesting that I could otherwise face significantly more unpleasant consequences than the ones which I encountered. A decision of this sort is not subject to any procedure of appeal. The decision the British border guards itself immediately became a humiliation that activists and media officers of the Polish left lauded with enthusiasm from the moment there was any information about the case.
How did this happen? A left-wing deputy to the British parliament from the Ealing district, Rupa Huq, played a key role, something which she boasts about incessantly.
The tenacity in the attack against me and my reputation was already displayed by her in 2018, when I was invited by the Polish community in London for a meeting, which she prevented from being held.
In an interview with “The Guardian”, she later told that she “turned the matter over to the police” and it was them who “prevented” my plans. The prevention consisted of – as I was informed by the organizers of this meeting – visits of sad gentlemen who gave “good advice” to the owners of the premises to cancel their reservations in order avoid unspecified problems. The mere fact that such an embarrassing action was publicly presented as an example of the authorities’ effectiveness in ensuring security in the United Kingdom is perhaps significant enough.
Even with all that, there was no talk of trying to prevent me from entering the UK then. In her interview, Rupa Huq even expressed regret that I finally decided against visiting the country, since, according to her, she challenged me to a debate on a local television network, and I was supposed to have chickened out (in reality, I was not notified of any such challenge, and I abandoned my travel plans, because the idea simply did not make any sense; even the day before my planned arrival, my dinner reservation in a restaurant where we were supposed to eat with the Polish community was canceled). Since at that time I was not traveling to England for any public activity, I did not expect another attack, at least not as strong. While staying in the deportation facility, I thought that it would end in the same way as in the case of Wojciech Sumliński, Stanisław Michalkiewicz, Korwin-Mikke, and other representatives of the Polish right, hunted by authorities based on denunciations of “anti-fascist” organizations. After a humiliating ritual of searching, taking my fingerprints and photographs, the clerk will caution me that it is against UK law to stir up hatred towards ethnic, religious, and other groups, and then I will be free to go.
Interestingly, in 2018 I was not only not accused of “Holocaust denial” but neither of anti-Semitism in general. Ms. Huq claimed back then that a group of Polish activists asked her to prevent the arrival of a “Polish hate preacher” warned her that local “Polish nationalists” invited to London a man advocating to fight against immigrants and that this could antagonize the relationship between the Polish residents of London and the local Muslims. It was the cleverly devised vision of potential Muslim protests and riots against the planned writer’s evening, which the British authorities gravely feared, and which prompted the local police to undertake methods resembling that of Soviet authorities.
Here we come to the heart of the matter. It is clear to me why Rupa Huq used me for her political campaign – her anti-Semitic behavior and statements are profitable at the level of the local constituency, given the largely Muslim population, at the national level are the root of some problems. This is in fact a problem for many of her party colleagues – the Labor Party constantly flexes simultaneously in front of the key immigrant electorate which promotes anti-Semitism and political correctness, which forbids the meeting of this electorate’s expectations too openly. Ms. Huq found a solution precisely in the demonstrative and hysterical attack against some “anti-Semite”, preferably Polish, because there are only a few Poles in her constituency and so they mostly align with her conservative competitor, and besides, no one likes Poles, since due to the actions of such organizations like the one who approached Rupa Huq, they have already developed a nasty reputation.
Ms. Huq undoubtedly does not know a single word of Polish, and everything that she clams she knows about me, comes from the allegations of Polish-speaking “anti-fascists”. The thickest lie of all – concerning Holocaust denial – comes as an aftermath of the Open Rzeczpospolita association campaign and the jewish.pl portal, which specializing in slander and fake news, which were aimed at prohibiting the dissemination of “The Undefiant Boor” [“Cham niezbuntowany”]. They twisted the phrase “Israel has placed the myth of the Holocaust at the center of its historical narrative” taken out of context from my book and concluded that: “This book says that the Holocaust is just a myth”.
My statements were subjected to similar manipulations many times. In one of the “Behind the Camera” [“W Tyle Wizji”] programs, I said that calling the German extermination camps Polish, simply because they were located in Poland would be like calling them Jewish, because Jews were imprisoned in them, the leftist media announced that: “Ziemkiewicz has labeled Auschwitz as a Jewish camp and claims that the Jews built it for themselves”. When I provided my opinion on the outrageous experiments of the Volkswagen enterprise, which gassed monkeys with exhaust fumes as part of testing, I made a remark that gas chambers are an important element of German cultural heritage – the same media promptly announced that “Ziemkiewicz is mocking gas chambers”. When, admittedly in a state of emotional agitation after Israel’s attack on the Polish Holocaust legislation, I wrote on Twitter about Netanyahu and Lapida, that two stupid fools instantly ruined the long lasting efforts of many people to establish good relations between Poland and Israel, it was reported that I used this expression to refer to all Jews as a nation.
In another Twitter entry about a man who, most likely for blackmail, was falsely accused of rape and abused in numerous media outlets, when ultimately it turned out that his only “crime” (apart from church matters, because this concerned a hypocritical leftist monk) was having drunk sex with an equally drunk woman, with her unquestionable consent, my comment on the situation was that if this is considered “rape”, then almost every man in my generation is a “rapist”. This statement was then diffused by left-wing circles that I condone sexual violence, mock its victims, and even resort to sexually exploiting inebriated women.
I could provide many more such examples. I am not a fan of Marshall Piłsudski and I have never admired his famous words about a dwarf who follows him and picks up his every word in order to twist it, defile it and use it for defamation, but one has to admit that nothing can better describe the actions of the keen observers of my activity from leftist media, “anti-fascist” organizations, and the Polin Museum.
In Poland’s yard, I am able to manage these constant attempts of defamation. Recently – when they return for instance in social media, I do not even have to highlight how they were procured – my supporters manage to do this on their own quite efficiently – thus apart from the extreme left-wing “information bubbles” there are no attemps to do it anymore.
The situation is completely different outside the Polish language zone, where all these lies have been repeatedly distributed in articles, posts and materials produced by left-wing activists and journalists from Poland. The lie about the alleged “Holocaust denial” in jewish.pl and the Open Republic was multiplied in at least 42 foreign-language Jewish portals and online newspapers, including the most popular ones. These media outlets, eagerly accommodating slanderers from Gazeta Wyborcza, Krytyka Polityczna, or Axel Springer into their columns, do not recognize the institution of press correction and no law requires them to do so, thus the possibility of bringing them to trial is purely theoretical.
This article was published in October 2021 in “Do Rzeczy” weekly magazine.