Once Again, Poland’s Attempt to Whitewash History Clashes with Its Alliance with Israel

Feb. 20 2019

While in Poland last week for the international conference on Middle Eastern security, Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech at the Warsaw Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Responding to a question from a journalist, he stated that “Poles had cooperated with the Nazis; . . . there is no argument about this.” The Polish government responded in pique, declaring that its foreign minister, rather than its president, would now be attending the Visegrad summit scheduled to begin in Jerusalem on Monday. But then Israel’s newly appointed foreign minister, in an interview with Israeli television, quoted the former prime minister Yitzḥak Shamir’s inflammatory comment that Poles “imbibe anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk.” Now the summit has been called off altogether. The editors of the Jerusalem Post comment:

These [diplomatic] crises will continue so long as Poland’s government insists on whitewashing history. . . . The state-run Auschwitz Museum, for example, recently tweeted that,“talking about complicity between the [Nazi] occupiers and local civilian population in the history of Auschwitz is false,” despite massive evidence to the contrary in Poland and other Nazi-occupied lands.

Warsaw would do better if it stopped trying to cover up the role of many Poles in aiding the Nazis in their plot to exterminate the Jewish people. Over 90 percent of Polish Jews perished in the Holocaust. . . . The historian Jan Grabowski found that two of three Jews who asked Polish Gentiles for refuge were murdered, and that Polish [collaborationist] “Blue Police” slaughtered Jews who hid from the Nazis. There were pogroms before the German occupation; many Jews who survived the Holocaust and sought to return to their homes were murdered.

Jews should not allow these attempts at laundering history to stand. It’s also unclear how this benefits Poland. [Warsaw’s efforts to ban certain statements about Polish collaboration with the Nazis] have ironically drawn greater attention to the Holocaust in Poland and the role Polish people played in it.

Israeli-Polish ties are important. Netanyahu’s strategy of working with the EU countries that are more pro-Israel, such as the Visegrad states [of Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic], is a smart one—after all, the EU is our largest trading partner. But Israel should not and cannot let Poland get away with distorting the most tragic chapter in Jewish history.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Europe and Israel, Holocaust, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Poland

The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy