By RON CSILLAG
The publisher of a Polish-language news outlet in the Toronto area has been arrested for disseminating antisemitic material.
The June 7 arrest followed a complaint filed late last summer by B’nai Brith Canada over anti-Jewish content in Goniec, a Mississauga-based news website and weekly newspaper that also maintains a YouTube channel. The publisher, Andrzej Kumor, was not charged with a crime.
In cases like this, investigators consult and work with the Ontario’s attorney general to determine, on a case-by-case basis, if an offence meets the threshold for charges to be laid under the Criminal Code’s provisions for wilful promotion of hatred.
Police determined that in Kumor’s case, the threshold was not met to allow for prosecution of this offence, Peel Regional Police spokesperson Kyle Villers told the CJR.
Kumor was “cautioned,” however, and the offending material was removed from the website, Villers added.
A criminal lawyer consulted by the CJR said arresting someone but not charging them is rare. In some cases, she said, it’s done to elicit information or to compel the subject to alter his or her behaviour.
Kumor has claimed that “Jews are spying on you” using the WhatsApp cellphone application, B’nai Brith said in a June 11 news release.
The publication has spread familiar antisemitic tropes, including that Jewish forces control the governments of the United States and Poland, while a YouTube showed Kumor accusing Jews and Zionists of having “terrorism in their blood,” B’nai Brith pointed out.
“We salute the Peel Regional Police for their diligence in pursuing this matter, and hope that Mr. Kumor has learned his lesson,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s CEO.
In an email exchange with the CJR, Kumor said “it is very unfortunate that I was punished for exercising my Charter rights. I used to consider Canada a free country, with the rule of law.
“As I told officers, the term ‘hate speech’ is vague and broadly defined, and that I really do not know what I can publish. They said that they cannot give me legal advice, but I should stay away from controversies.”
According to B’nai Brith, last October, Kumor ran unsuccessfully for a seat in Poland’s parliament with the far-right Konfederacja (“Confederation”) party. Konfederacja has a long history of antisemitism, the Jewish group noted, with its leader saying in May 2019 that “the American empire here is the political and military tool of Jewish blackmail against Poland.”
The publisher, Andrzej Kumor, was not charged with a crime and not taken into custody.