Mixed Signals From Poland Over Holocaust Bill

YERUSHALAYIM -

In the hours following Poland’s agreement to hold a dialogue concerning the Polish parliament’s controversial Holocaust bill, the government in Warsaw sent out mixed signals about whether there was any real prospect that the legislation would be revised.

Two hours after the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement on Sunday night saying that Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki had agreed in a phone conversation to hold a dialogue about criminalizing the blaming of Poles for crimes committed during the Holocaust, a Polish government spokesperson tweeted a different tune:

“It was agreed that there will be a dialogue between the teams of both countries. However, the conversation will not concern sovereign decisions of the Polish parliament,” Joanna Kopcińska tweeted on behalf of the prime minister’s office in Warsaw.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry downplayed her tweet, saying it does not represent the government, The Times of Israel reported.

There was, however, another indication that Poland will not yield on the issue, as Morawiecki himself tweeted an analogy intended to illustrate the intention of the bill to prohibit blaming Poland for crimes committed by Nazi Germany:

“A gang of professional thugs enters a two-family house. They kill the first family almost entirely. They kill the parents of the second, torturing the kids. They loot and raze the house. Could one, in good conscience, say that the second family is guilty for the murder of the first?” he wrote.

PM Netanyahu was presumably not persuaded by the tale to rescind his denunciation of the bill as an attempt to rewrite history, which documents many crimes committed against the Jews by Poles, with or without help from the Nazis.

In any case, talks with the Poles are set to go forward. The Israeli delegation will be headed by Foreign Ministry director Yuval Rotem, the ministry said on Monday.