Poland’s president blames Israel for rise in anti-Semitic attacks, denied by spokesman

A spokesman for the Polish president denied on Friday that Duda had blamed Israel for anti-Semitic incidents in his country.

By World Israel News Staff 

Poland’s president is reportedly accusing Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz of bearing responsibility for an increase in anti-Semitic attacks in Poland.

In February, Katz asserted that late former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir had once said that Poles “suckle anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk.” Shamir’s father was murdered by Poles.

At a meeting on Wednesday with American Jewish leaders at the Polish Consulate in New York, President Andrzej Duda charged that the foreign minister’s statement was a “humiliation” and the reason for an increase in anti-Semitic attacks in Poland, says the Jewish Insider, citing several people who were present as its sources.

The participants at the meeting are said to have included representatives of the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), reports the Jewish-oriented U.S. news outlet.

A verbal altercation broke out during the meeting, according to two witnesses who described the scene to Jewish Insider.

“Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg, who was recently awarded Poland’s Order of Merit, defended the president’s comments and stated that Israeli Jews ‘like Israel Katz’ are responsible for the rise in anti-Semitism,” said the news outlet.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an outspoken figure in the U.S. Jewish community, is said to have interrupted Mosberg, maintaining that he could not let the allegation go unchallenged, according to Jewish Insider.

Duda also told the meeting that people in Poland “had advised him not to travel to Israel until Katz apologizes for the comment,” says the report.

A spokesman for the Polish president denied on Friday that Duda had blamed Israel for anti-Semitic incidents in his country.

Tensions had been high between Warsaw and Jerusalem over the passage of a Holocaust bill.

In February 2018, Duda signed a law passed by the Polish senate, prohibiting individuals from accusing Poland for Holocaust atrocities committed by the Nazis and from referring to concentration camps as “Polish death camps.” Offenders could face up to three years in prison.

In June 2018, however, the law was amended under pressure, and the offense was decriminalized.

“No, Mr. Duda, Israel is not responsible for anti-Semitic incidents in Poland,” tweeted MK Yair Lapid on Friday.

“Those responsible are Polish anti-Semites, like those who assisted in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust,” said Lapid, whose late father – former Israeli cabinet minister Yosef “Tommy” Lapid –  was a Holocaust survivor.