Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust’

Abbas Apologizes to ‘Jewish People’ for Offensive Comments, Condemning Holocaust and anti-Semitism

May 4, 2018

‘Abbas is a pathetic Holocaust denier – his apology is not accepted,’ Lieberman fires back ■ Palestinian president suggested historical persecution of Jews in Europe was caused by involvement in money-lending

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FILE PHOTO -  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas heads a Palestinian cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 28, 2013. REUTERS/Issam Rimawi/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas heads a Palestinian cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 28, 2013. REUTERS/Issam Rimawi/Pool/File Photo\ POOL/ REUTERS

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas apologized Friday for comments he made last week which were widely decried as anti-Semitic.

“If people were offended by my statement, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them. I would like to assure everyone that it was not my intention to do so, and to reiterate my full respect for the Jewish faith, as well as other monotheistic faiths.

 “I would also like to reiterate our long held condemnation of the Holocaust, as the most heinous crime in history, and express our sympathy with its victims,” he said.

“Likewise, we condemn anti- Semitism in all its forms, and confirm our commitment to the two- state solution, and to live side by side in peace and security,” a statement released in English, Hebrew and Arabic said.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected the apology by the Palestinian leader, saying “Abbas is a pathetic Holocaust denier who wrote his doctorate thesis about Holocaust denial and afterwards even published a book about Holocaust denial. That’s the way he should be treated and his apology is not accepted.”

Israel’s Holocaust museum and memorial denounced Monday’s address by Abbas Wednesday as “replete with anti-Semitic tropes and distortions of historical facts.”

>> What Abbas really said about the Jews | Analysis

The European Union and the United Nations’ Mideast envoy on Wednesday condemned Abbas’ remarks as “unacceptable” after he suggested in a speech that Jews were historically persecuted because of their involvement in money-lending and banking.

Citing books written by various authors, Abbas argued: “They say hatred against Jews was not because of their religion, it was because of their social profession. So the Jewish issue that had spread against the Jews across Europe was not because of their religion, it was because of usury and banks.”

The UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned Abbas’ statement, saying his speech “repeated some of the most contemptuous anti-Semitic slurs, including the suggestion that the social behavior of Jews was the cause for the Holocaust.”

The UN envoy said that “such statements are unacceptable, deeply disturbing and do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or peace in the Middle East. Denying the historic and religious connection of the Jewish people to the land and their holy sites in Jerusalem stands in contrast to reality.

“The Holocaust did not occur in a vacuum, it was the result of thousands of years of persecution. This is why attempts to rewrite, downplay or deny it are dangerous. Leaders have an obligation to confront anti-Semitism everywhere and always, not perpetuate the conspiracy theories that fuel it.”

In unusually blunt language from Brussels, the European External Action Service said in a statement: “The speech Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered on 30 April contained unacceptable remarks concerning the origins of the Holocaust and Israel’s legitimacy.

“Such rhetoric will only play into the hands of those who do not want a two-state solution, which President Abbas has repeatedly advocated.”

The EEAS added: “Antisemitism is not only a threat for Jews but a fundamental menace to our open and liberal societies.

“The European Union remains committed to combat any form of anti-Semitism and any attempt to condone, justify or grossly trivialize the Holocaust.”

Also Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Abbas’s remarks, writing on his Twitter account: “It would appear that, once a Holocaust denier, always a Holocaust denier.”

Former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry also criticized the remarks, writing on Twitter: “These comments are wrong, ugly, and unacceptable – anywhere from anyone – but particularly from anyone who says he wants to be a peacemaker. No excuses for antisemitism: words to be condemned, not explained away.”

On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Abbas had “reached a new low,” adding that “all those who think Israel is the reason that we don’t have peace, think again.”

Trump’s special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Jason Greenblatt, also condemned Abbas’s speech: “President Abbas’ remarks yesterday in Ramallah at the opening of the Palestinian National Congress must be unconditionally condemned by all. They are very unfortunate, very distressing and terribly disheartening. Peace cannot be built on this kind of foundation.”

Abbas stirred controversy in his doctoral thesis written decades ago at Moscow University, in which he examined connections between the Zionist leadership in Israel and the Nazi regime in the 1930s. In it he dealt with the claims of Holocaust deniers such as Roger Garaudy regarding the correct number of Jewish deaths in the Holocaust. Israeli officials have dubbed Abbas a Holocaust denier, but he has refuted the accusation.

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Palestinian leader Abbas offers apology for remarks on Jews (But Israel doubts sincerity)

May 4, 2018

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday offered an apology after he was accused of anti-Semitism for suggesting that historic persecution of European Jews had been caused by their conduct, not by their religion.

Image result for mahmoud abbas, photos

Abbas condemned anti-Semitism and called the Holocaust the “most heinous crime in history” in a statement issued by his office in Ramallah after a four-day meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), at which he had made the remarks.

“If people were offended by my statement in front of the PNC, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them,” Abbas said in the statement.

“I would like to assure everyone that it was not my intention to do so, and to reiterate my full respect for the Jewish faith, as well as other monotheistic faiths.”

Abbas, 82, was excoriated by Israeli and Jewish leaders and diplomats who accused him of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial for his remarks on Monday during his opening speech to the PNC, the de facto parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

In a lengthy section about history, he said that Jews living in Europe had suffered massacres “every 10 to 15 years in some country since the 11th century and until the Holocaust”.

Citing books written by various authors, Abbas said: “They say hatred against Jews was not because of their religion, it was because of their social profession. So the Jewish issue that had spread against the Jews across Europe was not because of their religion, it was because of usury and banks.”

Israeli officials had no immediate comment on Abbas’ statement of apology on Friday.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accused Abbas of grave anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, calling on the international community to condemn him.

Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper of the U.S.-based Jewish human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Abbas’ speech was the words of “a classic anti-Semite”.

U.N. Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov called Abbas’ comments “deeply disturbing”.

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A veteran member of Fatah, the PLO’s dominant faction, Abbas served for decades as a loyal deputy of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat. He assumed the leadership of Fatah, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority after Arafat died in 2004, and was re-elected as chairman of the PLO’s Executive Committee on Friday.

This is not the first time he has been accused of anti-Semitism. In 1982 Abbas obtained a doctorate in history at the Moscow Institute of Orientalism in the then-Soviet Union. His dissertation, entitled “The Secret Relationship between Nazism and the Zionist Movement”, drew widespread criticism from Jewish groups.

The following year the Simon Wiesenthal Center released translated quotations from the book, including one excerpt about World War Two in which, according to the center’s translation, Abbas wrote:

“Following the war…word was spread that six million Jews were amongst the victims and that a war of extermination was aimed primarily at the Jews…The truth is that no one can either confirm or deny this figure. In other words, it is possible that the number of Jewish victims reached six million, but at the same time it is possible that the figure is much smaller – below one million.”

After Abbas’ speech on Monday, Hier and Cooper said: “The world can now see that see that, for Palestinian Authority President Abbas, nothing has changed in the 45 years since his doctoral dissertation was first published.”

But in his apology on Friday, Abbas said: “I would also like to reiterate our long held condemnation of the Holocaust, as the most heinous crime in history, and express our sympathy with its victims.

“Likewise, we condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms, and confirm our commitment to the two-state solution, and to live side by side in peace and security,” he said, refering to an eventual resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Let Abbas’s Vile Words Be His Last as Palestinian Leader

May 3, 2018

Feeding reprehensible anti-Semitic myths and conspiracy theories in a speech on Monday, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner if the Palestinians and Israelis ever again have the nerve to try negotiations.

New York Times
Editorial

The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, speaking in Ramallah, West Bank, on Monday.Credit Majdi Mohammed/Associated Press

Speaking to the Palestinian legislative body, Mr. Abbas, 82, said the mass murder of European Jews in the Holocaust was the result of the victims’ financial activities, not their religious identity and anti-Semitism.

“So the Jewish question that was widespread throughout Europe was not against their religion, but against their social function, which relates to usury (unscrupulous money lending) and banking and such,” he said, according to the BBC.

Mr. Abbas’s anti-Semitic tendencies are not new. In the 1980s, he wrote a dissertation that seemed to question the widely accepted Holocaust death toll of six million Jews.

While seen as a successor to the longtime Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, in 2003 he played down that notion, saying, “The Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind.”

Things looked more hopeful in 1993 when Mr. Abbas stood on the White House lawn and watched Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Mr. Arafat sign the Oslo Accords that were supposed to eventually lead to two states and peace.

In the intervening years, there have been ups and downs in that quest, but the trend for some time has been depressingly downward. The dream of an independent Palestine faded further away and Mr. Abbas came under increasing pressure.

Since the last serious peace talks collapsed in 2014, Israel’s hard-line government has expanded settlement building to cover more of the land envisioned for a Palestinian state. Although President Trump promised a peace plan, none has materialized, but reports suggest it would favor Israel.

Arab nations, once the Palestinians’ patrons, have lost interest and have turned their attention to fighting wars in Yemen and Syria and checking Iran’s regional influence. During a recent meeting with Jewish-American leaders, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia faulted Palestinian leaders for complaining and rejecting past Israeli peace offers.

 

Mr. Abbas opposed Mr. Arafat during the 2000-2005 second intifada, recognized Israel, and committed himself to a nonviolent approach to negotiations for peace and a two-state solution. He was valued by the West as Mr. Arafat’s successor, and for years he has deployed Palestinian forces to help Israelis maintain security in the West Bank.

But pressures, some of his own making and many others caused by Israel, which has ultimate control over the West Bank, are building. Mr. Abbas, who oversees a governing system plagued by corruption and dysfunction, has lost support among the Palestinian people.

He has weakened government institutions that are essential for a future state and refused to call new elections, thus overstaying his term by many years and preventing younger leaders from emerging.

He has also failed to unify the Palestinians in the West Bank, where his Fatah faction dominates, with those in the even more desperate circumstances of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas holds sway.

Even in this gloomy climate, however, Mr. Abbas’s vile speech was a new low. No doubt he feels embittered and besieged on all sides. But by succumbing to such dark, corrosive instincts he showed that it is time for him to leave office.

Palestinians need a leader with energy, integrity and vision, one who might have a better chance of achieving Palestinian independence and enabling both peoples to live in peace.

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EU calls Abbas Holocaust remarks “unacceptable” — Questioned the Holocaust and Israel’s legitimacy — Israel claims anti-Semitism

May 2, 2018

The European Union’s foreign service condemned remarks on the Holocaust by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as “unacceptable,” echoing criticism on Wednesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In strikingly blunt language from Brussels, the European External Action Service said in a statement: “The speech Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered on 30 April contained unacceptable remarks concerning the origins of the Holocaust and Israel’s legitimacy.

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“Such rhetoric will only play into the hands of those who do not want a two-state solution, which President Abbas has repeatedly advocated.”

Netanyahu called for international condemnation of “anti-Semitism” by Abbas over remarks on Monday in which the Palestinian leader suggested historic persecution of Jews in Europe was caused by their conduct.

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Mahmoud Abbas was accused of being a Holocaust denier (AFP)
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The EEAS added: “Antisemitism is not only a threat for Jews but a fundamental menace to our open and liberal societies.
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“The European Union remains committed to combat any form of anti-Semitism and any attempt to condone, justify or grossly trivialize the Holocaust.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused
Mahmoud Abbas of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial on Wednesday after the Palestinian leader suggested in a speech that historic persecution of European Jews had been caused by their conduct.
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“It would appear that, once a Holocaust denier, always a Holocaust denier,” Netanyahu said on Twitter. “I call upon the international community to condemn the grave anti-Semitism of Abu Mazen (Abbas), which should have long since passed from this world.”
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http://www.arabnews.com/node/1295241/middle-east
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Arab News

Israeli Chief Rabbi on Alleged Chemical Attack: Jews Morally Obliged to End Cruel Syrian Genocide

April 8, 2018

‘This is an obligation no less than the moral obligation was to destroy the nuclear reactor in Syria,’ Israel’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef says

Israel’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef responded Sunday to reports of a deadly chemical attack on a rebel-held city in Syria and said Jews have a moral obligation to end the “cruel genocide” taking place in the war-torn country.

Polish attorney general’s office calls Holocaust law unconstitutional

March 22, 2018

AFP

© AFP/File | Holocaust survivors protest in front of Polish embassy in Tel Aviv in February 2018, against a controversial bill passed by the eastern European country’s senate

WARSAW (AFP) – The Polish attorney general’s office has described as partly unconstitutional the Holocaust law that was meant to defend Poland’s image abroad but instead drew criticism from Israel, Ukraine and the United States.

The statement published Thursday came as a surprise, as Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro is also the head of the justice ministry that came up with the controversial law.

The legislation, which came into force earlier this month, imposes fines or up to three years in jail on anyone who ascribes “responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich.”

The attorney general’s office published its statement on the website of the Constitutional Court, which was tasked by the president with checking whether the law was constitutional.

The office said that penalising acts committed abroad independently of the laws in place there was against the Constitution, which opposes “excessive interference”.

It added that the law was “dysfunctional”, could have “opposite results than those intended” and could “undermine the Polish state’s authority”.

The law is at the centre of a row with Israel, which sees it as a bid to deny that certain Poles participated in the genocide of Jews during World War II.

Critics also worry that because of vague wording the legislation could open the door to prosecuting Holocaust survivors for their testimony.

The bill has also triggered public debate in Poland, where the Israeli embassy noted an increase in anti-Semitic statements.

Philippines: Presidential language, conduct unfit for our classrooms and TV shows

March 8, 2018

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‘Kabastusan’

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 / 05:18 AM March 08, 2018

Someday, a generation more civilized than us will wonder why we elected — and tolerated — a President with such a foul mouth.

They will cite the curses and wonder why, despite the same expletives considered unfit in our classrooms and TV shows, despite the same rudeness regarded as unbecoming of critics and journalists, these were deemed suitable on the presidential stage.

The Harry Roques of this world explain that his cursing is a way of identifying with the “common people,” who feel betrayed by those who speak “decently” but act treasonously. But surely many of our countrymen who use the same language likewise take issue with his use of it, expecting more from the highest official of the land. Moreover, even those who see his actions as speaking louder than his speech will have to ask why we cannot have a president who is good in both word and deed.

Others, meanwhile, say he’s just joking — and must be understood in the context of “Bisaya culture.” But even today many Bisaya speakers say that his speech is unrepresentative of their values. As someone replied to my tweet about this topic: “I’m Bisaya and this continued use of ‘Bisaya humor’ to justify the President’s uncultured mouth is insulting to me.”

In any case, beyond the curses themselves, it is the content of his speech that make his language even more unacceptable.

First, there’s his misogyny, his ludicrous jokes about rape, his lecherous remarks about women, his lurid references to condom use, and, most recently, his call for soldiers to shoot female rebels “in the vagina.” Someday, a future generation will be revulsed at these instances — and wonder why we did not condemn these more forcefully and collectively.

Second, there’s his racism, his insensitive remarks about foreign nations and individuals: from his inane invocation of Jewish victims of the Holocaust to his characterization of Barack Obama as “so black and arrogant.” Not content with insulting Catholic priests, he cites a misinterpretation of Islam by offering “42 virgins” to prospective visitors to our country, achieving the dubious distinction of being racist and misogynist at the same time.

Then there’s his lack of respect for people: from calling the US ambassador “bakla” (as if it were an insult) to attempting to shame Leila de Lima for being “immoral” (as if he weren’t); from calling drug users “not humans” to telling protesting jeepney drivers to “suffer in poverty and hunger.” Instead of elevating public discourse he has lowered it, and while his insults may reveal more about him than the people he insulted, he does not carry his name alone, but that of our nation.

I am writing this for the future, when historians will seek to make sense of our time. There will be future revisionists,  latter-day Andanars, who will conjure up a golden age, and if they are creative enough, they might even succeed in casting Rodrigo Duterte as a philosopher-king, in the same way that people today are imagining Marcos not just as a hero but also as an enlightened ruler.

But I am also writing for the present, when we cannot surrender the standards that we have held for our leaders. And neither can we sanitize the truth by accepting “kabastusan” as sarcasm or hyperbole — or referring to it as “colorful” or “controversial” language. There are many ways to be honest without demeaning others. There are many ways to be brutally frank without brutalizing the presidency. Powerful Mr. Duterte may have become, but power is never a substitute for truth or for morality, and while his henchmen may yet rewrite the Constitution, they cannot rewrite our norms, our values.

“Take him seriously, not literally,” the Harry Roques of this world say, baldly suggesting that, like the proverbs of Solomon or the novels of Jose Rizal, his words contain some profound, hidden truth. But the more we look at the things he has said, the only truth that emerges is that of hypocrisy, lack of empathy, and moral bankruptcy.

If an emperor commands his subjects to be fully clothed, he must at least do so with clothes. If Mr. Duterte wants to uphold our nation’s dignity, he must speak and act in a dignified way.

Comments to gideon.lasco@gmail.com

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/111564/kabastusan#ixzz59ABZUyfy
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Swastikas Sprayed on Poland’s Tel Aviv Embassy Day After ‘Jewish Holocaust Perpetrators’ Remark

February 18, 2018

Haaretz

Police investigating graffiti found at entrance to Tel Aviv embassy. On Saturday, Polish PM said Holocaust had Polish perpetrators ‘just as there were Jewish ones’

.Swastikas sprayed on the gate of the Poland's embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.
Swastikas sprayed on the gate of the Poland’s embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.Israel Police

Swastikas and anti-Polish slogans were found sprayed on Sunday at the entrance to the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv. Israel Police said an investigation has been launched.

The graffiti was sprayed a day after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the Holocaust had Polish perpetrators, just as it had Jewish ones.

Moraweicki made the statement at the Munich Security Conference in response to a question by Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman regarding the controversial law that criminalizes mentioning the Polish nation’s complicity in the Holocaust. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply rebuked the ‘outrageous’ remarks.

Graffiti sprayed at the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.

Graffiti sprayed at the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.דוברות המשטרה

.Swastikas sprayed on the gate of the Poland's embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.

Swastikas sprayed on the gate of the Poland’s embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.Israel Police

Israel has vehemently criticized the bill ever since it’s proposal, with Morawiecki recognizing the poor timing of the bill but stressing that “All the atrocities and all the victims, everything that happened during World War II on Polish soil, has to be attributed to Germany.”

The legislation, which was approved by the Polish parliament, had referred the legislation to the Constitutional Tribunal to consider its constitutionality, and added that possible prison sentence and fines “are not really designed to punish anyone.” The law will also be difficult to enforce, he acknowledged, and may be subject to changes required by the country’s constitutional tribunal.

.Graffiti sprayed on the gate of the Poland's embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.

Graffiti sprayed on the gate of the Poland’s embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.דוברות המשטרה

Israel: Polish PM’s ‘Jewish perpetrators’ Holocaust remark ‘outrageous’

February 18, 2018

Israeli politicians have accused Poland’s premier of distorting history and anti-Semitism following comments made about “Jewish perpetrators” during World War II. The countries have been at odds over a new Holocaust law.

Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki (Getty Images/AFP/T. Kienzle)

Israeli politicians have lashed out at Poland’s prime minister over comments he made comparing “Polish perpetrators” of the Holocaust to supposed “Jewish perpetrators.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the comments by his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki were “outrageous.”

It’s the latest spat between Poland and Israel over interpretations of history after Warsaw’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) last month passed a law outlawing public statements that falsely and intentionally attribute Nazi crimes to Poland under the German occupation during World War II.

Read more: Echoes of 1968 anti-Semitic campaign haunt Poland 50 years on

Morawiecki was responding to a question from an Israeli journalist, who asked whether Poland would consider him a criminal after he reported that Polish neighbors had betrayed his Jewish family to the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s secret police.

“Of course it would not be punishable or criminal if you say there were Polish perpetrators, just like there were Jewish perpetrators, like there were Russian perpetrators, like there were Ukrainians, not just German perpetrators,” Morawiecki replied.

He reiterated that the law was passed to make clear “there were no Polish death camps… There were German Nazi death camps.

“But we cannot agree with mixing perpetrators with victims, because it would be first of all an offense to all the Jews and all the Poles who suffered greatly during World War II.”

Read more: Poland’s new ‘Holocaust law’ widely condemned in Israel

‘Lack of understanding, sensitivity’

Netanyahu, who like Morawiecki is at the Munich Security Conference, said he would speak urgently with the Polish premier.

“There is a problem here of lack of understanding of history and lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people,” Netanyahu said.

Yair Lapid, head of the centrist opposition Yesh Atid party, said Israel should recall its ambassador over such “anti-Semitism of the oldest kind.”

“The perpetrators are not the victims. The Jewish state will not allow the murdered to be blamed for their own murder,” said Lapid.

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay accused Morawiecki of trying to rewrite history.

“The blood of millions of Jews cries from the earth of Poland over the distortion of history and the escape from blame. Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and Poles took an active part in their murder,” Gabbay said. “The government of Israel has to be a voice for the millions of murdered and strongly denounce the Polish prime minister’s words.”

cw/cmk (AFP, AP, dpa)

http://www.dw.com/en/israel-polish-pms-jewish-perpetrators-holocaust-remark-outrageous/a-42632414

 

Polish PM draws ire with claim of Jewish Holocaust ‘perpetrators’

February 17, 2018

AFP

© AFP/File | A new law in Poland sets a maximum three-year jail term for anyone who describes Nazi German death camps, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, as being Polish
MUNICH (GERMANY) (AFP) – Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki sparked a storm of criticism Saturday after defending his country’s new law concerning the Holocaust, which he said had involved “Jewish perpetrators” as well as Polish.The controversial law passed by Poland’s senate this month sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone ascribing “responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich”.

Appearing at the Munich Security Conference, Morawiecki was questioned by a journalist who told of his mother’s narrow escape from the Gestapo in Poland after learning that neighbours were planning to denounce them.

Image may contain: 1 person

 Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki gives a speech during the Munich Security Conference on February 17, 2018 in Munich, southern Germany. (AFP PHOTO)

The journalist, Ronen Bergman, asked if by recounting this, “I am a criminal in your country?” — garnering a round of applause from the audience.

Morawiecki responded: “It’s not going to punishable, not going to be seen as criminal, to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukraine and German perpetrators.”

He reiterated that the point of the law was to defend Poland’s honour by making clear that people knew “there were no Polish death camps… There were German Nazi death camps.”

“But we cannot agree with mixing perpetrators with victims, because it would be first of all an offence to all the Jews and all the Poles who suffered greatly during the Second World War.”

Several attendees later took to Twitter to assail the remarks.

Bergman himself tweeted that the Polish premier’s answer was “unbelievable”.

Francois Heisbourg, a London-based diplomacy expert, called the reference to “‘Polish perpetrators like there were Jewish perpetrators'” a “shameful response”.

Noa Landau, a correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz, denounced an “outrageous scene”, noting the audience’s silence after Morawiecki’s comments.