Lapid: PM wrong to negotiate with Poles on Holocaust

Lapid belives the Prime Minister should have told Israel that should the law pass they will need to put Israel on trial.

January 29, 2018 19:06
2 minute read.

Nazi drum made of Torah scroll brought from Poland to Israel. (photo credit: COURTESY OF FROM THE DEPTHS)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making a mistake by setting up teams with his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, to reach understandings on the controversial Polish legislation that would make it illegal to attribute complicity in the Holocaust to Poland, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said on Monday.

Lapid, whose father, Yosef, survived the Holocaust and chaired the Yad Vashem Council, told his faction that instead of negotiating, Netanyahu should have told the Polish government that if the bill passes, they would have to put Israel on trial.

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“The memory of the murdered cannot be negotiated,” he said. “This bill should be buried in the ground in Poland that is filled with Jewish blood.”

If put on trial for violating the law in Poland, Israel should come with survivors, photographs of the murdered and testimony, Lapid said.

“We would come and say that the Jews are no longer willing to be silent,” he said. “The Jews are no longer afraid of you.”

Lapid said it was wrong to dismiss Polish responsibility for death camps built on its soil by Nazi Germany, because the Nazi built them there knowing the Poles would be complicit in carrying out the murders.

“Most of the camps were built in Poland and not coincidentally,” he said. “There was always antisemitism in Poland, and it hasn’t disappeared. We won’t let the Polish government enable its people to forget.”

In response, the Likud said: “Netanyahu does not need preaching from the head of a party that used data bases on Holocaust survivors for its own political needs... Netanyahu is running Israel’s foreign policy well, including issues Lapid might tweet about but does not understand at all.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett told his Bayit Yehudi faction he supported Netanyahu’s decision. Referring to Lapid but without mentioning him by name, he criticized “politicians” for “jumping” to use the issue for political gain.

Bennett said he consulted with Yad Vashem, which said it was correct to say that the camps were German on Polish land.

“We cannot free the Germans of responsibility, so we must always say that,” he said.

However, Poles and many other European nations were partners in murdering and handing over Jews, Bennett said, and for antisemitism that existed hundreds of years before. Therefore, the spirit and context of the law were problematic, he said.

Bennett credited Poles with hiding his wife’s relatives, but other Poles murdered them in their hiding place.

“The balanced thing to do is to fix the law so Poles can’t escape responsibility,” he said.

“But the camps are German on Polish ground.”

Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay said the Polish bill was boomeranging against those who initiated it, because people are talking about Polish complicity in the murders.

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