Poland's President To Sign Holocaust Bill Into Law

Randolph Lopez
February 7, 2018

Israel's Education Minister, who ahead of a planned trip to Poland said he was going to set the record straight on Polish complicity in the Holocaust, has seen his visit canceled amid a diplomatic row between Warsaw and Tel Aviv.

However, Duda also stated that he would send the bill to the Constitutional Tribunal as he has concerns over the law's effect on both the Freedom of Speech and the precision of its drafting.

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. "Israel and Poland hold a joint responsibility to research and preserve the history of the Holocaust", the Israeli government said in a statement on Twitter. Similarly, no one who uses the phrase "Polish death camps" - including former US president Barack Obama and former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey - does so out of ill will toward Poland.

The legislation proposed by Poland's conservative ruling party has sparked a bitter dispute with Israel, which says it will infringe on free speech about the Holocaust.

"The United States is disappointed that the president of Poland has signed legislation that would impose criminal penalties for attributing Nazi crimes to the Polish state", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

"Israel and Poland have a common responsibility to investigate and preserve the history of the Holocaust".

The lower house of parliament approved the legislation on January 26, the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the Senate gave its approval on Thursday.

Earlier on Monday, Naftali Bennett said he would travel to Poland to discuss the bill, which Israeli officials have said amounts to Holocaust denial.

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Poland's right-wing nationalist government says the bill is necessary to protect the reputation of Poles as victims of Nazi aggression.

Before World War II, Jews made up 10 percent of Poland's population.

According to figures from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Nazis also killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians.

"One can not change history, and the Holocaust can not be denied", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement last week.

"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.

Defending the law, Duda said it would not prohibit Holocaust survivors and witnesses from talking about crimes committed by individual Poles.

"I think it's a problem of interpretation, of over-interpretation on the Israeli side", he said, adding that "we can also imagine some kind of amendment (of the legislation) if our explanations will not be convincing".

"The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it", Bennett later said in a statement.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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