The Twitter account of i24, an Israeli news channel, apparently claimed that “10,000” demonstrators had marched through Warsaw on November 11, Polish Independence Day, “waving Nazi symbols and calling for Jews to be burnt”. The claim was described as “some of the worst fake news” seen on the internet.
On 11 November, as every year, a patriotic Independence March passed through the streets of Warsaw. The organisers estimated the turnout at around 100,000 people. The services assessed that the celebration of the National Independence Day in Warsaw went safely. The mayor of the capital, Rafał Trzaskowski, who can hardly be accused of sympathising with the Independence March, was of a similar opinion. He said that the march was “exceptionally peaceful”, and when asked if “fascist symbols appeared”, he replied – “no, no such symbols appeared. We had such suspicions, the police checked it and there were no such symbols,” he added.
However, there is some criticism of the Independence March online, especially from opposition supporters. On Twitter today, there was also a post made on the profile of the English-language version of the Israeli TV channel i24news.
The post links to a text posted on the i24news channel’s website, in which we can read about the march organised in Warsaw by the ‘far right.’ The first sentence of the text reads that “the opposition in Poland criticised the police on Saturday for failing to respond to the appearance of a Nazi-era symbol during the Independence March”. It cited posts by Civic Coalition senator Krzysztof Brejza and his statements to the Associated Press. The text also reads that “one of the speakers called for the burning of Jews”, but this was supposedly happening in Krakow. A rally of the so-called “Rodacy Kamraci [Compatriots Comrades – ed.], a group with which Wojciech Olszański, among others, is associated, was taking place there.
Stefan Tompson, known for popularising Polish history, reacted to the post on Twitter by i24news.
“This is one of the worst fake news stories I have ever seen,” he assessed.
He pointed out that, to make matters worse, the ‘journalists’ had chosen to illustrate the entry with a photo of Polish flags and “a symbol of the Polish anti-Nazi resistance movement during the Second World War”.
A similar narrative to the one presented in i24news was also reproduced by another Israeli media outlet, the Times of Israel.