Israel rebukes Poland PM for 'Jewish perpetrators' remark | 2018-02-18 |

Israel rebukes Poland PM for 'Jewish perpetrators' remark

Sun Online Desk     18th February, 2018 12:02:37 printer

Israel rebukes Poland PM for 'Jewish perpetrators' remark


Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has sharply rebuked his Polish counterpart for saying that Jews were among the perpetrators of the Holocaust.


He said the remarks by Mateusz Morawiecki at the Munich Security Conference were "outrageous".


Mr Netanyahu said they showed "an inability to understand history".


The dispute comes weeks after Israel condemned a new Polish bill making it illegal to accuse the Polish nation or state of complicity in Nazi crimes.


The bill - passed in the Polish Senate - was later referred by President Andrzej Duda to the country's highest court to consider its constitutionality.



Mr Morawiecki was responding to an Israeli journalist who asked if anyone who said there were Polish collaborators in the Holocaust would be considered a criminal in Poland under the new law.


Mr Morawiecki said: "It's extremely important to first understand that, of course, it's not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators - as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian.... not only German perpetrators."


Mr Morawiecki has not publicly responded to Mr Netanyahu's criticism.


What does the Polish bill state?


It says that "whoever accuses, publicly and against the facts, the Polish nation, or the Polish state, of being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich… shall be subject to a fine or a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years".


But it adds the caveat that a person "is not committing a crime if he or she commits such an act as part of artistic or scientific activities".


It passed in a late-night sitting of the upper house of the Polish parliament with 57 votes to 23, with two abstaining.


The country has long objected to the use of phrases like "Polish death camps", which suggest the Polish state in some way shared responsibility for camps such as Auschwitz. The camps were built and operated by Nazi Germany after it invaded Poland in 1939.