There's Been Too Much Talk About the Holocaust Law, Polish Ambassador Tells Israeli Lawmakers

Polish delegation to meet Israeli team to examine the ramifications of the law, which outlaws attributing the Nazi crimes to the Polish nation

Polish Ambassador to Israel Jacek Khodorovich in his office in Tel Aviv
Alon Ron

Poland is prepared to talk with Israel about its controversial Holocaust law, Ambassador Jacek Chodorowicz told Israeli lawmakers at the Knesset on Monday.

Meeting with members of the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee, Chodorowicz said both sides feel that too much has already been said about the law , and that it is time to sit down and talk quietly. Both Israel and Poland already stated that committees would meet to discuss the history and the law, the ambassador said, adding that it would happen very fast.

The new law outlaws publicly and falsely attributing the crimes of Nazi Germany to the Polish nation. Violators can be punished with up to three years in prison. The law also forbids use of the term “Polish death camp” to describe the death camps where Jews and others were murdered in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II under the Third Reich. Critics of the law claim it is an attempt to whitewash the role some Poles played in the Holocaust.

A Polish delegation will be meeting with a parallel Israeli team within days to examine the ramifications of the law.

When Knesset member Ksenia Svetlova asked Chodorowicz whether he could assure that Holocaust survivors would not be prosecuted under the law, he said the prosecution will not be pursuing cases before the tribunal has a chance to examine the law.

During the discussion, Knesset member Yoel Razbuzov of the Yesh Atid party said that history "doesn't have versions," he said. "We will not allow the memory of Holocaust victims and the dead in battle to be desecrated," he added. "Our purpose is not to enable history to be erased. What has been happening in Poland is a disgrace."

On Saturday, Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said the government would not prosecute offenders against the law until Poland’s constitutional court rules on the legislation.

In January Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had spoken by phone with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and the two agreed to open "immediate dialogue" over the legislative proposal.

Tensions flared again earlier this month, when Morawiecki said that the Holocaust had Polish perpetrators, just as it had Jewish ones.