Poland 'caving to Israeli pressure,' freezes Holocaust law

A Polish delegation is expected to arrive in Israel in the coming days.

February 24, 2018 22:25
1 minute read.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reacts after receiving his nomination during a government s

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reacts after receiving his nomination during a government swearing-in ceremony in Warsaw, Poland, December 11, 2017.. (photo credit: AGENCJA GAZETA/SLAWOMIR KAMINSKI VIA REUTERS)


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A Polish team is expected to arrive in Jerusalem in the coming days to try and reach an understanding with Israel on the controversial Polish Holocaust law, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Saturday, in a positive sign that a way is being found out of the diplomatic crisis between the countries.

The spokesman said that as a result of Israeli pressure, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said that the law will not be implemented before Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal reviews the issue.

Ziobro’s comments came during an interview in the Polish media during which Ziobro, who is also Poland’s chief prosecutor, said that the Constitutional Tribunal’s say on the matter is necessary for prosecutors to know how to apply the law.
Israel urges Poland to change bill regarding its role in Nazi Holocaust, January 28, 2018 (Reuters)

The deep rift in Polish-Israeli ties was caused by the law, signed earlier this month by the Polish president, making it illegal to say that the Polish state or nation was complicit in the Holocaust. For instance, saying “Polish death camps” to refer to the extermination camps in Poland, rather than saying “Nazi death camps,” could lead to a fine and up to three years in prison.

Before becoming law, however, the legislation must be reviewed by the Constitutional Tribunal. The justice minister’s comments echoed a statement Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz made last week, who said that questions about how to interpret the law will be taken into consideration by the tribunal.

Ambassador to Poland Anna Azari met recently with Ziobro to discuss the law.

The decision was praised by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a US group that campaigned in favor of Washington severing ties with Warsaw until the law was reversed.

“We congratulate the Polish government for their decision not to criminalize discussion and criticism of the involvement of Poles in the Holocaust. It was the right decision not to legislate the pursuit of the truth and chill academic freedom,” said the group's president Jay Ruderman. "Thanks to the tens of thousands of Jews and non-Jews in America, Israel and around the world who signed our petition, Poland has taken the right decision not to alienate the Jewish people who lost six million of our relatives in the Holocaust."

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