‘Visegrad Group’ Summit In Jerusalem Canceled Amid Israel-Poland Diplomatic Spat
A summit of the Visegrad group—consisting of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic—slated to be held in Israel was canceled amid a diplomatic spat between Jerusalem and Warsaw. The prime ministers of all four nations were originally set to attend the first-ever meeting of the bloc outside of Europe. However, the Polish government pulled out after Israel’s newly-minted top diplomat caused a firestorm by quoting former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir as saying that “Poles imbibe anti-Semitism from their mothers’ milk.” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki described the comments as “intolerable and racist,” whereas Warsaw’s ambassador to the Jewish state called Israel Katz’s statements “shameful” and “utterly unacceptable.” Morawiecki had already withdrawn from the meet and instead was planning to send his foreign minister; this, after a major brouhaha erupted last week over comments made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the United States-sponsored summit in the Polish capital. Speaking about the Holocaust, the premier noted that “Poles” collaborated with the Nazis during World War Two, which was then mistranslated by Israeli media as “the Poles” and thus construed as a reference to the entire nation. The Polish government recently passed a law prohibiting blanket claims regarding the country’s role in the killing of some 6 million Jews, about half of them in death camps on Polish soil run by the Germans.