Poland’s New Holocaust Law Should Be Unacceptable to Israel

Last month, the Polish parliament passed a law, still being debated by the country’s senate, that would effectively cut off any Jewish efforts to reclaim property stolen during the Shoah and its immediate aftermath. Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minster and alternate prime minister, has already condemned the legislation. To Ben Cohen, the law is reason for Jerusalem to take severe diplomatic action:

The underlying purpose of the new law is to assert, against the historical record, that neither Poland nor the Poles themselves bear any responsibility whatsoever for the fate of the Jews, who are hypocritically remembered by the same nationalists as “our compatriots,” as though the brutal history of Polish anti-Semitism that long predated the German occupation [of Poland during World War II] never happened.

In getting that message across, senior Polish leaders from Prime Minister Mateusz Marowiecki downwards have played an extraordinarily dishonest game. For all its anti-Communist fervor, the [ruling right-wing party] finds it inconvenient to recognize that what is at issue here is not the German occupation, but the fact that the postwar Soviet-backed regime engaged in a second round of theft by nationalizing the property of the Jews murdered by the Nazis.

[While] many supporters of the Polish government like to argue that were it not for Warsaw’s presence in the EU, Brussels would treat Israel even more shabbily, but that claim is a conceit and nothing more. As the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel demonstrated, governments and political leaders in Germany, Austria, the UK, and other European nations did not require the intervention of the Polish government to express their understanding for Israel’s predicament with an empathy that would have been hard to imagine twenty years ago.

The passage of the restitution law, therefore, necessitates at least a temporary break in ties between the current Polish government and the state of Israel and Jewish groups worldwide.

Read more at JNS

More about: Holocaust restitution, Israel diplomacy, Poland, Yair Lapid


How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion