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.

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at Jerusalem Post

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

The U.S. Tells the Truth about the Jewish Residents of the West Bank, and about International Law

Nov. 19 2019

Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced his department’s conclusion that the “establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per-se inconsistent with international law.” He stressed that the decision would not prejudice any future agreements, and pointed to the imprudence of reducing Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians to a matter of international law, instead affirming the long-held U.S. position that only negotiations between the parties could bring about a solution. Caroline Glick comments:

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month


Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Caroline Glick

More about: International Law, Settlements, US-Israel relations, West Bank