Thursday, February 14, 2013

Polish Tennis Player Agnieszka Radwanska Allegedly Called "Catholic Slut" in Israel

Agnieszka Radwanska. Source
There are allegations that Polish tennis player Agnieszka Radwanska was called a "Catholic slut" while playing in Israel. "There are allegations" is a woefully vague phrase. It reflects the tone of the news articles about this event. There is a palpable hesitation on the part of reporters to report the event in question. One can see that in the news item linked below.

A cautiously-worded news article, "Radwanska Disappointed by Fan Reaction in Israel," is followed by posts protesting the cautious wording. As one put it, "I don't understand this article. There is no information whatsoever. It basically says that something has happened. It's completely useless." Another says, "They cannot say what happened, because that would be considered anti-semitism if they said that Israeli fans behaved bad." That article is found here.

It's interesting to see how the Bangkok Post describes the event. It's not about the alleged word "slut," but, rather, Polish anti-Semitism: "This time though, in the context of reports that sections of the Israeli crowd made noisy allegations about anti-Semitism in Poland, Radwanska's remarks had a far more sombre tinge." That story is here.
How about the Polish press? I'm saddened by this inappropriately breast-beating comment, below. If Radwanska was verbally abused as is alleged, it is she who deserves an apology, not Israel; it is the Israeli fans who are at fault, not Poles or Poland. 

"I believe that Israel is a beautiful country, great tradition, great people, great history. We always need more to understand them for what they encountered on our territory without our fault, but it happened. We should not make a fuss over what happened on the court, because if someone is going to read about it in New York or Toronto, or Paris, you think that in some way our team, we Poles, were not without fault" source

Thank you to Hanna for informing me of this story. 


  1. This is nothing new. Apart from the examples raised in the previous blogspot, remember the following: Carol Burnett and her Polak jokes on prime-time American TV, and the high-regarded and widely-read Ann Landers (Eppie Lederer) with her remarks about Polish men, and Pope John Paul II, being "sexually repressed".

    On and on it goes...

  2. How does the alleged harassment of Agnieszka Radwanska in Israel have anything to do with Carol Burnett???

    1. In a word, everything. All these are examples of Polonophobia--in this case, Jewish Polonophobia.

      With reference to the post below, it is not "smoke and mirrors". There are eyewitnesses who corroborate what had happened, and the Israeli press is not always candid about Jewish wrongdoing.

      Finally, let's say that it is not true. Poles are so accustomed to very-real Polonophobic attacks of this kind that they should be excused if they end up believing one that turned out not to have been factual.

    2. Jan Peczkis, disagree with you on phrase "Jewish Polonophobia."

      It doesn't matter whether the people saying the obnoxious things are Jewish or not.

      I have been insulted as this tennis player has, and the people doing the insulting as often as not were NOT Jewish.

      And, again, the ultimate onus is on Poles and Polonia, who do nothing to counter the Brute Polak stereotype.

    3. Isn't there a world of difference between being insulted as a tennis player, or any other kind of athlete, and being so obviously--and massively--insulted as a Pole and as a Catholic?

      As for the onus, we will have to agree to disagree. In the past, the onus was on the child being bullied for failing to stand up for him/herself. Nowadays, the onus is entirely on the bully--and rightly so. So it is with the Polonophobe bully.

    4. What I mean is that the article in "Tennis" tells just nothing, leaving plenty of space for empty speculations. The video and text in gwizdek24 tells basically all one may need to know.


    5. it has a lot do to, media allows some behavior and some is ignored, polish jokes are oked while insult made by jews on othes are ignored by press

    6. The disease of anti-polonism (at least in its brute Polack incarnation) is, mostly, though not exclusively a Jewish disease.

  3. It's all smoke and mirrors. No substance whatsoever. Are there any more reliable sources which could INFORM what has happened, and not just spread allegations? Anything in Israeli or Arabic press?


    1. that's the point, where is the story? CNN , huffington, all should be talking about it...

  4. Here's some more detail.


  5. "And, again, the ultimate onus is on Poles and Polonia, who do nothing to counter the Brute Polak stereotype. "

    That's despicable. As despicable as saying that if a Jewish person is attacked and called names, it's his fault b/c Jews do nothing to counter the stereotypes against them.

  6. Tony Davis -- real name?

    Tell us about yourself. What brought you to the blog, or to Polish issues?

    What have you done to advance Polonia?

    Obviously you have strong feelings. You feel comfortable insulting and distorting others' words while seated behind your keyboard.

    How about in real life? What have you done for Poles or for Poland or for the real story of World War II to be told in schools, in journalism, in day to day life?

    Thanks in advance for letting us know.

    1. Hello Tony, I too would love to know what brought you here. As you know, Dr.G is continuing the discussion of the issue raised in her book "Bieganski" - serious issues, which are in no hurry to go away.

      I think we need to separate two things here.

      Firstly, this political campaign against us is not our fault - it is not of our doing. And it is clearly not related to anything that we did or did not do in WW2. Poland fought on the Allied side, and made a real contribution to the victory against Hitler.

      And, secondly, there is the question of whether or not we have dealt with this campaign of vilification well.

      What we are perhaps blaming ourselves for is not dealing with it well.

      But those being bullied - especially by the most powerful media and academe in the world - are in a very difficult position, so I hope we won't beat ourselves, or each other, up about it.

      I think talking it over as we are is very important. But I hope we can do it amicably.

    2. I wonder if Dr. Goska blames rape victims for wearing Daisy Dukes?

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Tony Davis calls me "despicable."

    Sue addresses Tony Davis, and never objects to his calling me "despicable."

    I will respond. I will not use the word "despicable." It is possible to make a point without stooping to making, or tacitly approving of, ad hominem commentary. In fact, that is the only way to make a point worth making.

    Ethnic, gender, and religious groups are defamed every day. It's part of life.

    African Americans, Jews, Hispanics, Italians, Muslims, Homosexuals, women … all defamed. Every day.

    The groups mentioned above have all engaged in predictable activism to address their defamation. What activism? See the three-part blog post "The Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision" to see what activism is.

    Results? Plenty.

    These groups exercise power in academia.

    I just googled "endowed chairs in Jewish studies." I found over 230.

    Two Hundred Thirty.

    I just googled "endowed chair Polish studies."

    I found two. There may be more. But not many more.

    Jews are spending money on supporting their cause.

    Poles are not.

    Poles have money. They just don't spend it on scholarship.

    The most common email I receive from Polonians regarding "Bieganski" is not "Thank you" or "I agree" or even "I disagree." The most common email I receive from Polonians regarding "Bieganski" is "Can you give me a free or cheaper copy?"

    These folks have money. I see their posts on facebook – the houses, the cars, the boats, the fancy dress balls. They have decided, though, that scholarship is not something you spend money on.

    Muslims can make or break a political candidate in New Jersey. Ask Chris Christie. Hispanics can get respectful and extended attention on NPR because Ben Affleck, and not an Hispanic actor, played Tony Mendez in "Argo," and Tony Mendez was only part Hispanic. Jews can make it more difficult for an American president to get his own choice as defense secretary.


    Polonians are not doing the organizing work that other groups do, and that is why Polonians suffer.

    What do Polonians do? Polonians complain a lot, and too many Polonians blame Jews a lot.

    Jan Peczkis mentioned what happened to Norman Davies at Stanford. Norman Davies should have gotten that job at Stanford. He did not. He was hung out to dry. What did Polonia do for this brilliant scholar who told our story to the world?

    Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Not at Stanford.

    Polonia let a hero drown because Polonia refuses to do the work of organizing.

    I know my work on Polish Jewish relations has made it harder for me to get an academic job, and not a single soul in Polonia has done anything, even the smallest of things to help in any way.

    Jews? Jews have helped. Jews have written me excellent letters of recommendation, sent job announcements to me, invited me to speak, introduced me to people, helped me to get published, published me.

    What needs to be done? Calling a Polish scholar who has taken great risks to advance Polonia "despicable" is not good for Polonia.

    What would be good? Doing what the three-part blog post on the Crisis in Polonian Leadership recommends. Organize. Others do it, Polonia; you can, too.

    If you want to address this post, please address what I've actually said, and don't accuse me of "blaming" Poles for being vilified, which I have never done, and don't call me names.


    1. Tony said that he finds the idea that us Poles/Polonians are to blame for this "desicable". He didn't say that he found you, or me, or any of us, despicable.

      I responded to that point, hoping that he might want to discuss it further.

    2. Norman Davies may not have gotten a job but I do not see what Polonia could have done for him? Overturn the history department's decision? What do you want? You can complain about it but Mr. Katz lives happily on in San Francisco having trained countless young minds in his antipolonism (see FCC chairman), his lawyers have retired to Berkeley and weekends at the beach, while you get yourself all tangled up in how Polonia is not proactive? What would you like to propose? Other than we shell out $50 for your book?

  9. Indeed-on the other hand-they had never been the target of such a massive betrayal and communist socio-technical infiltration. Its not really better in Poland itself- I thus believe the first step must be to restore polish pride fe through Ald-fashioned,non-"deconstructionist" history lessons.its like in the aftermath of 1863 I guess :|

  10. Henryk Siewierynski:

    "I wonder if Dr. Goska blames rape victims for wearing Daisy Dukes? ... we shell out $50 for your book?"

    To state the obvious -- these comments are disgusting. Comments like these from Polish men do not advance Polonia (to say the least).

    The attitude behind the comments is exactly what mires Polonia.

    "We are helpless ... we can't do anything to help ourselves ... we are helpless victims ... let's say ugly things to Polish women on the internet ... yeah, let's do that. That's being a real man."

  11. A previous poster protests any suggestion that he "shell out" money for the only scholarly book available now that addresses the Brute Polak stereotype.

    In answer to his protest, I will say -- no, he should not "shell out" money for books. Books are for people who are willing to read, to become educated, people who respect scholarship and scholars, people who are curious, people who believe it is best to act from knowledge, rather than ignorance. People who believe it is best to respond to hate, not with more hate, but with informed and unimpeachable facts.

    The poster who protests the concept of buying books should use his cash to buy more booze. The he should wallow in his conviction that he is a helpless victim, unable to do anything to advance Polonia.

    Because, after all, Jews and African Americans and Hispanics and women and homosexuals and Mormons and Italian Americans and Muslims and handicapped people can educate themselves about their own history, can celebrate their own scholars, can fund departments dedicated to their history at universities, can stock libraries with books about their culture, but Polonians can't do that. Because Polonians are helpless. Helpless victims. Or so he believes, and insists.

    But, really, he should avoid books at all costs. He might break out into a rash if he ever got anywhere near a book.

  12. Dr. Timothy NowitzkiFebruary 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Danusha --

    Do not get discouraged. I have been following your blog for a while and know this, hate will never triumph. You are doing God's work here - your efforts at mutual understanding are amazing - we love you!

    Dr. Timothy Nowitzki

    1. Dr. Timothy Nowitzki, thank you for your lovely comment. It really uplifted me. Thanks for having the courage to speak up. God bless!

  13. Henryk.
    The reason to buy the book is so you understand the problem and can argue effectively. Passion makes people say things they might not otherwise say, but "passion" does not automatically equal "success".
    Whether you believe it or not, D doesn't do this because of the money. If she were she might make more from a good paper route.
    She does it because she cares about the slander and unfairness. The hurt. Blind rage. Silly people saying silly things - she cares about them too. She might want to right now, but I know she'll say a prayer for you, Tony, Anonymous and all the others like you. God, open their eyes...

    This is about opening peoples eyes, organizing an effective rebuttal and righting a wrong. It comes through understanding the background. Intelligent discourse isn't just make up off the cuff. Her book is scholarly.

    If you don't feel there's a problem, then silence is golden. Sit back and read about the world you might not think exists.
    If you experienced the problems the blog and the book describe, why not add something to the solution. If you don't have $50 that's okay. If you have it and don't feel the need to buy the book. That's okay, too.

    I spend a lot on computer books. It's important to me.
    I support D because the cause is important.

    Your fifty dollars won't buy her anything she doesn't already own. Intelligence, dignity, a work ethic that kicks ass, and the grace to not call you any number of names.
    What she also has is the passion for the cause and the self sacrifice and determination to make a difference.

    Speaking bs is easy but pointless.


    1. Otto Gross, it's terrific that you see the value of the work. Thank you more than I can say for your comment. God bless you.

  14. "The poster who protests the concept of buying books should use his cash to buy more booze"

    Yes. Those are my two choices - $50 for Bieganski or some booze. If only there were other items to buy in this market economy.

    And why "booze"? Because I'm Polish?

  15. "And why "booze"? Because I'm Polish?"


    Be courteous when posting here.


  16. Why does this story exist? Perhaps nothing at all was said. It's all her fault. She was rude, nothing to see here. Move along. I'll just believe the media's cowardice.

    This makes my heart heavy.

  17. Bieganski is ingrained into the woodwork :

    It boggles the mind how quickly people rushed to hand wave this away and blame the victim, laugh it off. Then you get the non-sequiturs and ignorance of Polish history. What does that have to do with this story, exactly? It seems to reveal a defensive attitude when it comes to the taboo that yes, perhaps Israeli fans can be abusive.

    The media silence on this does not help us understand the issue. In an age of social media and instant information, literally nothing seems to have arisen.

    So perhaps nothing happened...but why does that not seem quite right? Why was the story reported the way it was? Why is this being hushed while the circuses of Euro 2012 raged over similarly murky events? Remember the Dutch players practicing and the 'monkey noises? I remember journalists that disputed the finger-pointing and hysteria that followed the reports.

    But, ok, I see, it was Radwanska just 'being a diva' as the commenters say. Polacks with their victim complexes...

    There's a general vibe of 'shut up Polack' in that thread. In an international forum and community.

    How ugly this all is.

    There is too, too much work to be done. Danusha, I am grateful for your blog and your book. Let me know anything I can do, anything within my power and limited financial means. I want to take action.

  18. Here is how I see the facts:

    1. Radwanska sisters were insulted repeatedly in four languages throughout the match in Eilat.

    2. There were possibly paper planes flying to distract the game.

    3. The sisters were threatened by the display on the banner.

    4. Organizers did noting to stop this which further encouraged the hostile crowd.

    5. The Israeli tennis players watching the game from the bench were part of the mob.

    6. After Radwanska's press conference and the complaint to the Tennis Organization Israeli organizers realized the potential PR damage and made an effort to conceal and potentially destroy the evidence. Specifically, they removed the whole match from the Youtube and they only post the carefully cut small fragment of the match.

    Here is what I made of these facts:

    1. Shouting racial, ethnic or religious slurs not only disrupts the game, shows poor sportsmanship and presents a devastating image of the Israeli fans and organizers but, more importantly so, is a criminal offense.

    2. Since the organizers and the security did nothing to stop it and even concealed the evidence, it makes them partially responsible and therefore also involved in the crime.

    3. If the International organizers of this event do nothing to punish Israel for bad organization and force them to find the criminals, it will make them also partially responsible for the crime.

    Here is what Israeli side should do to come out clean:

    1. Put all the matches on its official website and make them available on the youtube.

    2. Go through the close circuit cameras recordings and identify and punish all the criminals involved.

    3. Issue the formal apology to all Polish, Russian (and other insulted) players, their families and their fans who were present at the event. This may also include the monetary reparations for the insults since they may have a negative and a long lasting impact on the career of the players.

    4. Pay the monetary fine to the International Organizers of the event.

    5. Commit to better organization of the matches including measures such as separation of the players seating from the fans, better security at the venue, close circuit security cameras monitong and recording every part of the fan's area, more security agents at the stands ready to act immediately if there is any sign of criminal or poor sportsmanship activity.

    6. Conduct a friendly match inviting Polish, Russian and potentially other teams and proving that these measures have been implemented and enforced.

    7. Israel should be banned from all international tennis events (both hosting and participating) until it resolves these issues.


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
These themes include the false and damaging stereotype of Poles as brutes who are uniquely hateful and responsible for atrocity, and this stereotype's use in distorting WW II history and all accounts of atrocity.
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