Zoabi: Polish denial of Holocaust role shouldn't surprise Israelis

"He who denies his responsibility for war crimes that he himself perpetrates against the Palestinians should not be surprised by others," Zoabi said.

Balad MK Haneen Zoabi at the Knesset. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Balad MK Haneen Zoabi at the Knesset.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) has condemned the Polish parliament’s passage of a draft law making it illegal to attribute complicity in the Holocaust to the “Polish nation.” But the controversial Balad party MK added that Israelis “should not be surprised” by the Polish move since, in her view, they deny responsibility for crimes against Palestinians.
Zoabi said in a press statement Sunday that the Polish law, which passed the lower house Friday and is expected to be approved by the upper house, is a “Polish version” of Israel’s nakba law, which authorizes the finance minister to cut state funding to an institution if it commemorates Independence Day as a day of mourning for the displacement of Palestinians during the War of Independence.
“He who denies his responsibility for war crimes that he himself perpetrates against the Palestinians should not be surprised by others,” Zoabi said.
She condemned the Polish law as “embodying, in an extreme way, human evil and insensitivity. Shunning responsibility and running away from Poland’s role in the death of millions of Jews is a dangerous message for future generations. There is no meaning to identification with the victim when you don’t simultaneously take an unequivocal stance against the criminals. The disconnect between crimes and the criminals responsible for them constitutes the continuation of the victory of evil.”
But, Zoabi added, “He who exploits the Holocaust for oppressive political purposes and posing as a victim should not be shocked by its denial.”
“The moral path to genuine recognition of the Holocaust is stopping the instrumental Israeli exploitation of it and deepening its treatment as a historical event that embodies one of the peaks of human evils and also the evil of human silence in the face of evil,” she said.
On Saturday, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh condemned the Polish decision as “shameful and dangerous.”
“Holocaust denial endorses the darkest moments in history. Only a deep understanding of the evils of the past can guarantee the sanctity of life in the future.”
MK Zuheir Bahloul (Zionist Union) also criticized the Polish move: “It is not fitting because you can’t deny the history. History finds and testifies that the Holocaust killed Jews, not just on German soil, but on Polish soil where concentration and death camps such as Auschwitz were. So how can you deny such a thing?”
The government is right to press for changes to the draft law, Bahloul said, adding: “The moment we are talking about one of the most difficult events in modern history, it becomes hard to accept the effort to clean Poland from the fact that on its soil were centers where no small amount of Jews were killed during the Holocaust. It is the right of the Polish parliamentarians to defend their heritage but it is not permissible for them to deny history.”
“I don’t make a correlation between the two, but I have tough claims against Israeli MKs on the Palestinian issue for their denial of the occupation, denial of the nakba, denial of all these things,” Bahloul added.
Safwat Farig, the deputy head of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement, said: “We are all against the Polish decisions that deny the Holocaust but we also need to oppose the occupation and all of the things here that discriminate against the Palestinians. The Jews also have to learn the lesson. The nation that suffered greatly and went through the Holocaust must be tolerant and considerate and be far removed from causing suffering to others.”