Is­raeli crit­i­cism sparks anti-Jewish re­marks in Pol­ish me­dia

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - NEWS -

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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