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.

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

 

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror