Poland Stokes Holocaust Law Storm as Israeli Leader Lashes Out

Polish Jews Stunned Scared by Eruption of Anti Semitism			FREDERICK FLORIN  AFP  Getty		by Breitbart Jerusalem18 Feb 20180		18 Feb 2018		18 Feb 2018

Polish Jews Stunned Scared by Eruption of Anti Semitism FREDERICK FLORIN AFP Getty by Breitbart Jerusalem18 Feb 20180 18 Feb 2018 18 Feb 2018

In recent weeks, Israeli officials have sharply criticized the legislation that criminalizes blaming Poland as a nation for crimes committed by Nazi Germany.

"On the contrary, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has repeatedly and categorically opposed denial of the Holocaust - the murder of European Jewry - as well as anti-Semitism in all its forms", the statement said.

In his answer, Morawiecki equated "Jewish perpetrators" with Polish, Ukrainian, Russian and German perpetrators, drawing immediate criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called his words "outrageous".

"What is the message you are trying to convey to the world?" he asked the Polish prime minister. Holocaust scholars estimate that Poles might have either killed or helped Germans kill as many as 180,000 to 200,000 Jews.

The senior rabbi noted that unfortunately, "when politicians issue statements, there is usually a political need to issue those statements, and there's definitely a certain segment of the Polish population which feel the same way".

"The words. should be interpreted as a honest call for open discussion of crimes committed against Jews during the Holocaust, regardless of the nationality of those involved in each crime,", the statement also said.

The spokesman, Krzysztof Lapinski, said Morawiecki's reply was in Poland's interest and meant to explain the new law.

Polish authorities say they just want to protect Poland from being depicted as a collaborator of the Nazis when the country was Adolf Hitler's first victim, and suffered through almost six years of war and occupation. The new law has sparked anger from Israel and the United States for stifling debate about the death camps the Nazis built on Polish soil.

At one point, the Polish premier referred to "Jewish perpetrators" in a list of non-Germans that committed World War II-era crimes. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, there were no Polish death camps, or Polnische Vernichtungslager, there were German Nazi death camps".

Asked for her thoughts on whether the new law violates the right to free speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stopped short at taking responsibility for her own country's actions, remarking that "Germans are responsible for what happened during the Holocaust, the Shoah, under National Socialism".

The US state department had also urged the Polish government to rethink the bill.

Morawiecki attracted more criticism Saturday after visiting the Munich grave site of members of the Holy Cross Mountains Brigade, a Polish paramilitary group which collaborated with the Gestapo during the Second World War in fighting communist Polish and Soviet partisans before fleeing to Czechoslovakia and further west at the end of the war.

Some 3 million Jews who lived in pre-war Poland were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of all Jews killed in the Holocaust.

However, research published since the fall of communism in 1989 showed that thousands of Poles killed Jews or denounced those who hid them to the Nazi occupiers.

But the more contentious point raised by the bill is whether it will outlaw references to acts of individual complicity by Poles with the Nazis - something historians say there is clear evidence for.

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