The controversy is over a statement by Prime Minister Netanyahu: Did he accuse “Poles” or “the Polish nation” collectively of collaborating with the Nazis?
By World Israel News staff
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he will not attend the Visegrád Four (V4) Summit, which is set to take place in Israel this week, according to multiple media outlets.
According to the reports, Morawiecki informed Netanyahu of his decision during a phone conversation on Sunday. Officials described the conversation as positive nonetheless. In his place, Morawiecki is to send Jacek Czaputowicz, Poland’s foreign minister, to represent the country.
The summit is scheduled to take place this week in Jerusalem.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment.
V4 is a cultural and political alliance of four Central European countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. Netanyahu has worked on nurturing relations with these countries to erode the E.U. consensus on issues concerning the Palestinians and Iran which Netanyahu views as against Israeli interests.
Israel’s hosting of the event was considered in Jerusalem as a significant achievement in advancing the Israeli relationship with these countries.
However, the Polish prime minister pullout is an apparent protest over a statement made by Netanyahu as an international conference on Middle East security was taking place in Warsaw last week.
Asked by The Times of Israel about an agreement between Israel and Poland to end a bitter dispute over a Polish law which criminalizes blaming the Polish nation for Holocaust crimes, Netanyahu denied suggestions of going along with historical revisionism.
“Here I am saying Poles cooperated with the Nazis. I know the history and I don’t whitewash it. I bring it up,” said Netanyahu. He spoke as he sat in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, located in the heart of what had been the Warsaw Ghetto.
The Ha’aretz daily said that it, too, had asked the Israeli prime minister about the matter and that Netanyahu said that Poles, in fact, cooperated with the Nazis during the Holocaust and that he was unaware of anyone ever being sued for making this statement.
Some media, including The Jerusalem Post, reported his comments, not just as “Poles” had cooperated, but “the Poles,” implying that as a nation they had collaborated with the Nazis, and as a result of this interpretation of the comments by Netanyahu, the crisis with Poland was sparked.