Netanyahu: Poland’s retreat on Holocaust law a victory for ‘truth’

The Israeli prime minister lauded the removal of parts of a law that threatened criminal charges for individuals who blame Poland for Holocaust crimes.

By: World Israel News Staff

In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Poland’s decision to alter a controversial law that criminalized accusations of Polish complicity in Nazi crimes.

“We upheld our duty to protect the historical truth about the Holocaust,” said Netanyahu in a Hebrew statement.

“I am happy that [Poland] decided to completely cancel the clauses that caused … dissatisfaction in Israel and the international community,” he added.

In his comments, Netanyhau referenced task forces that Israel and Poland had formed to hammer out a compromise on the legislation, which was purportedly designed to address anti-Polish sentiment.

Critics in Israel and throughout the Jewish diaspora slammed the law for minimizing the complicity of Polish actors in Nazi war crimes and for whitewashing history, including the fact that many of the Nazis’ genocidal facilities were located in Poland.

In response to outcry generated by passage of the statute, changes to the law were made, including the removal of jail terms for mentioning Polish-Nazi collaboration, the Polish presidential chancellery announced.

In comments issued by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki while Netanyahu spoke, the Polish leader continued to distance his nation from the Jewish genocide.

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Morawiecki stated, “It is obvious that the Holocaust was an unprecedented crime, committed by Nazi Germany against the Jewish nation, including all Poles of Jewish origin. Poland has always expressed the highest understanding of the significance of the Holocaust as the most tragic part of the Jewish national experience.”

Netanyahu for his part stressed the importance of academic freedom and free speech to research and discourse related to the Holocaust, which he said must proceed “without any fear of legal obstacles.”