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18 Feb, 2018 18:34

Swastikas painted on Polish embassy in Israel after PM’s ‘Jewish Holocaust perpetrators’ remarks

Swastikas painted on Polish embassy in Israel after PM’s ‘Jewish Holocaust perpetrators’ remarks

Swastikas were painted on the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv a day after Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said there were Jewish perpetrators in the Holocaust, outraging the Israeli public and officials.

Swastikas and obscene anti-Polish slogans, which branded Poles as murderers and equals of the Nazis, were discovered at the entrance of the embassy building on Sunday. Israeli police said they have launched an investigation into the incident, Haaretz reported. 

Morawiecki made his statement at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday as he was answering a question from an Israeli reporter regarding the controversial Polish law, which criminalized blaming Poles for Nazi crimes committed on Polish soil and outlawed the often used phrase “Polish death camps.” The PM said that there were Polish perpetrators in the Holocaust, but added that “there were Jewish and Russian perpetrators, as well."

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has called Morawiecki’s comments “outrageous,” saying that they revealed his “inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity” to the tragedy of the Jewish people. Israeli MPs shared Netanyahu’s resentment, calling the head of the Polish government “a run-of-the-mill Holocaust denier,” who professes “antisemitism of the oldest kind.”

The President of the Conference of European Rabbis, Pinchas Goldschmidt, told Rutply news agency on Sunday that Morawiecki’s remarks were “totally unacceptable.” According to the Rabbi, calling “Jews ‘perpetrators’ of the Holocaust, these are words which undermine and are unacceptable to any person who knows history, who knows Europe and wants a better future.”

“We did not expect the Polish Prime Minister to say such things,” Goldschmidt said. “When politicians issue statements, there is usually a political need to issue those statements and there is definite a certain segment of the Polish population which feels the same way and that’s something, this is a problem not for us, not only for us, but I think it is a problem for Poland.”

The war of words has been raging between Tel Aviv and Warsaw since late January, when Polish MPs voted to enact controversial legislation that, among other things, introduces fines and prison terms of up to three years for blaming Poles for complicity in the Holocaust.

The row saw the planned Israeli visit by the head of the Polish National Security Council, Pawel Soloch, suspended in early February. A group of Israeli parliamentarians demanded to amend the country’s Holocaust denial law so that it would outlaw efforts to diminish cooperation with Nazis.

Last week, Polish president’s advisor, Andrzej Zybertowicz, added fuel to the fire by saying that Israel’s furious reaction to the legislation was explained by the “feeling of shame at the passivity of the Jews during the Holocaust.” Israel is “clearly fighting to keep the monopoly on the Holocaust,” he told Polska Times newspaper.

An estimated 6 million Jews, around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe, were killed by the Nazis, including at the Auschwitz, Sobibor and other death camps, which operated on the territory of occupied Poland in 1939-45.

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