Israel condemns Poland for rushing through Holocaust law

03 February, 2018, 09:52 | Author: Bert Pena
  • US urges Poland to drop Holocaust bill angering Israel

The Streisand effect is now in full swing in Poland, where a simultaneously incompetent and malevolent government has passed a law - rapidly, in the middle of the night - intended among other things to criminalize the term "Polish death camps" and other expressions implying that the Polish nation was responsible for Auschwitz and other camps built by German Nazis. One pro-government journalist gave the game away when he declared that the criticism of the law in Israel was an element in an worldwide conspiracy against the Polish government.

Zubrzycki: Given the Israeli and American outcry, I would expect the president to amend the text of the law.

Nauert said the USA understands that phrases like "Polish death camps" are "inaccurate, misleading, and hurtful" but voiced concern the legislation could "undermine free speech and academic discourse". "This truth needs to be protected".

The Polish Senate passed a bill Wednesday criminalising statements linking Poland to the murder of Jews which occurred on its soil during the Holocaust, in an attempt to lay blame for the crimes that left more than 1 million Polish Jews dead during World War II squarely on German Nazis.

While Poland Deputy Prime Minister Beata Szydlo [official profile] defended the legislation [Reuters report] stating that Polish citizens were just as much victims as Jews, Israel Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon "categorically" opposed [press release] the senate decision to approve the legislation stating: "Israel views with utmost gravity any attempt to challenge historical truth".

Meanwhile, Morawiecki said on Friday that finding a way out of a diplomatic row with Israel and the USA triggered by the controversial Holocaust bill was a "do or die moment" for him.

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The irony is that none of the protagonists of this story can actually remember World War II, or the terror that it brought to the Jews and to Poland. But it also said the proposed legislation "could undermine free speech and academic discourse". "History is not considered a science by the Polish government, it is a tool for national awareness", he says. To become law, the bill requires approval from President Andrzej Duda, who supports it.

Its main aim is to prevent people from ascribing "responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich - or other crimes against humanity and war crimes". It was approved by the lower house last week.

The Holocaust Memorial Museum in the USA, however, said many Polish citizens "were complicit in the crimes against Jews", even as it acknowledged that thousands of Poles also risked their lives to save their Jewish neighbours.

Zubrzycki: There have been very similar laws on the book for a while-for example, Article 133 of the penal code, which provides for up to three years' imprisonment for persons who "publicly insult the Polish Nation or the state".

Every year, Poland hosts thousands of Jewish visitors "tracing their heritage or paying respects to those who perished in the Holocaust", Szczerski went on.

In 2015, Kiev's parliament gave unprecedented recognition as "Ukrainian independence fighters" to those who served in the UPA.



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