Netanyahu, Polish PM Vow To Resolve Holocaust Row

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with his Polish counterpart, in a bid to overcome a diplomatic spat over legislation in Warsaw that would criminalize blaming Poles for Nazi atrocities. Leaders across the Israeli political spectrum slammed the proposed law, which prescribes prison time for referring to “Polish death camps” and outlaws discussion of Polish complicity in Nazi crimes. The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned Poland’s deputy ambassador to express opposition to the bill, and made clear Jerusalem expects the draft to be amended before final approval. The legislation was passed by the lower house of the Polish parliament but still needs endorsement from the Senate and president. While the official stance of Poland’s nationalist government is that all Poles were heroes during WWII, many historians argue that the Nazi genocide, largely carried out in death camps located on Polish soil, was facilitated by local collaborators. Polish officials claim the law aims “not to whitewash the past, but to protect the truth against slander,” whereas Netanyahu described it as a “baseless” attempt to rewrite history. News of the bill’s initial passage broke on Saturday, as the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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