Israeli criticism sparks anti-Jewish remarks in Polish media
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A diplomatic dispute between Poland and Israel about pending legislation that would outlaw blaming Poland for the crimes of the Holocaust has led to an outburst of anti-Semitic comments in Poland, including some in the government-controlled media.
Poland’s lower house of parliament gave its approval Friday to the bill, which calls for penalties of up to three years in prison for anyone who “publicly and against the facts” accuses the Polish people of crimes committed by Nazi Germany during World War II.
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party says the law is meant to fight expressions such as “Polish death camps,” to refer to the wartime camps Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland. Poles were among those imprisoned, tortured and killed, and many today think Poles are being unfairly depicted as perpetrators of the Holocaust.
The Israeli government in the past supported the campaign against the phrase “Polish death camps,” but it strongly criticized the new legislation.
Israel, along with several international Holocaust organizations and many critics in Poland, argues that the law could have a chilling effect on debating history, harming freedom of expression and leading to a whitewashing of Poland’s wartime history, which also includes episodes of Poles killing Jews or denouncing them to the Germans.
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