Israel's Foreign Ministry Sets Emergency Session After Polish PM's Remarks

The prime minister of Poland was accused of antisemitism yesterday for saying that the Holocaust involved "Jewish perpetrators".

Swastikas and profanities were daubed on the entrance to Poland's embassy in Israel on Sunday after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Jews, as well as Poles and others, were among perpetrators of the Nazi Holocaust.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said later on Saturday that the remarks were "outrageous" and showed "an inability to understand history".

The Israeli lawmaker's indignation was shared by Pinchas Goldschmidt, spiritual leader of the Moscow Choral Synagogue and head of the rabbinical court in the Commonwealth of Independent States, who told RT that the Polish prime minister's remarks were "words which undermine".

However, the spokeswoman for Morawiecki's ruling Law & Justice party said in a separate Twitter post that Morawiecki "said the truth that is hard to accept by the Israeli side" and there's no need to apologize for the truth.

"There is a problem here of lack of understanding of history and lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people", Netanyahu said, adding that he planned to speak with Morawiecki soon.

The call was prompted by a comment the Polish politician made that equated Polish collaborators in the Holocaust to alleged "Jewish perpetrators".

Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki's comments have been strongly condemned by Israel.

Morawiecki responded: "It's not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal, to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukraine and German perpetrators".

The fresh dispute comes just weeks after Israel criticised a new Polish law making it illegal to accuse the Polish nation or state of complicity in Nazi crimes.

On Saturday, Morawiecki caused outrage in Israel when he claimed there were "Jewish perpetrators" during the Holocaust, after being questioned by an Israeli journalist who told of his mother's narrow escape from the Gestapo in Poland.

About 6 million Poles, half of them Jews, were murdered during World War II by Hitler and the Nazis. Many of her relatives were killed after being denounced by Poles. "In light of the continuing crisis in this matter with the Polish government, I intend to convene an urgent meeting with the relevant parties at the Foreign Ministry", Hotovely said.

The unit, which was rooted in a far-right prewar political movement, had also fought Germans. The journalist said his parents' families were reported to the Nazis by Polish neighbors and asked if he would be charged if he had related the story in Poland. For tactical reasons, it collaborated with the Germans late in the war to focus on fighting communists, who were laying the groundwork for what would be decades of Soviet-backed rule.

  • Jon Douglas