US 'Disappointed' by Polish President's Authorization of Holocaust Bill

by Abel Hampton February 9, 2018, 1:58
US 'Disappointed' by Polish President's Authorization of Holocaust Bill

Although Duda acknowledged that there were individual Poles who committed crimes against Jews and other enemies of Germany at that time, the blame should not include Poland as a nation. "We believe that open debate, scholarship, and education are the best means of countering misleading speech".

In response to Duda's announcement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that "Israel continues to work with the authorities in Poland and expresses to them Israel's reservations about the Polish bill". "Enactment of this law adversely affects freedom of speech and academic inquiry".

"I have made a decision to sign the law but also to send it to the Constitutional Tribunal", Duda told reporters in Warsaw.

Israel said it still hoped Poland would make amendments.

"Yes the death camps in Poland were built and operated by the Germans, and we can not allow them to evade responsibility for these actions".

In the announcement of the visit, Bennett said that while in Poland, he was "determined to say explicitly what history has already proved - the Polish nation had a proven involvement in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust".

Poland canceled a scheduled visit by Israel's Education Minister Naftali Bennett after he said he would use the opportunity to tell the Polish people the "truth" about their country and the Holocaust.

The bill's global critics - which include the U.S. State Department and the Israeli government - argue that it violates freedom of expression.

The State Department had warned last week that such a law could have "repercussions" on Poland's relationship with the United States. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared last week that "we have no tolerance for the distortion of the truth and rewriting history or denying the Holocaust".

It also criminalises denial of crimes against Poles by Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi Germany.

In November, the Polish League Against Defamation urged expat Poles to help "defend Poland's good name" by tracking and opposing media references to concentration camps that suggest a Polish role in Nazi crimes during World War II.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the right-wing Law & Justice party, called for Duda to sign the legislation.

Israel has said the law would curb free speech, criminalise basic historical facts and stop any discussion on the role that some Poles played in Nazi crimes.

While "Polish" is nearly always used as a geographic description in that context, Poles feel the phrase cruelly portrays their country as having been in charge of the Nazi-run camps, while in fact Poles made up the largest group of victims after Jews.


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