Poland cancels Israeli education minister visit

Poland cancels Israeli education minister visit

But in a move that appeared created to soften the impact of his decision, President Andrzej Duda said he would also ask Poland's constitutional court to evaluate the bill - leaving open the possibility it would be amended.

The legislation allows the government to jail anyone who, "publicly and against the facts", suggests Polish involvement in Nazi war crimes committed during World War II. "The death camps in Poland were built and operated by the Germans, and we can not allow them to evade responsibility for these actions", Israel's Bennett said.

"I do understand that the Polish government and ruling party would like to take care of the country's image, but it should be done through education, not legislation", said Klimek. Amendments to the law envisage fines or imprisonment for up to three years for "sharing responsibility before the Polish people or the state, including for crimes committed by the Third Reich".

Bennett arranged the trip to Poland without coordinating it with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, but on a personal invitation from Jonny Daniels, a London-born Israeli activist for Holocaust commemoration, according to a report in Haaretz.

Neumann, head of the party's parliamentary caucus, also described the constitutional court as a body without independence that will rule as the governing party wants.

Beata Mazurek, the spokeswoman for the conservative Law and Justice and a deputy parliament speaker, tweeted a quote by a Catholic priest who had said that the Israeli ambassador's criticism of the bill "made it hard for me to look at Jews with sympathy and kindness".




"There is not the slightest doubt as to who was responsible for the extermination camps, operated them and murdered millions of European Jews there: namely Germans", he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the bill a "distortion of the truth" aimed at "rewriting of history and the denial of the Holocaust". We are victims of the Holocaust too, and saying that death camps or concentration camps were "Polish" is a crime.

"This organized mass murder was carried out by our country and no one else", Gabriel said, referring to the murder of 6 million Jews across Europe by Nazi Germany - including more than 3 million in then-occupied Poland. Millions of its citizens were killed, including three million Polish Jews in the Holocaust.

The United States firmly warned Poland last week that moving forward with the law could hurt Polish strategic interests and "our ability to be effective partners".

Israel's education minister said on Monday he was "honoured" Poland had cancelled his visit to Warsaw this week because he refused to retract his condemnation of the bill. "The existence of certain collaborators does not change anything", Gabriel said. But research published since the fall of communism in 1989 showed that thousands also killed Jews or denounced those who hid them to the Nazi occupiers, challenging the national narrative that Poland was exclusively a victim.

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