For the Polish Government, Memory of the Holocaust Must Not Interfere with a Narrative of Polish Victimhood

July 21 2020

Earlier this month, Andrzej Duda narrowly won another term as president of Poland. Among the symbolic issues bandied about in the campaign was the legislation to provide restitution for Jewish property stolen by Polish Gentiles during and after the Holocaust (Duda is opposed), and an admiring remark from Duda’s opponent about Benedict Spinoza (denounced by the government-owned television channel as an “anti-Catholic” statement in favor of a “Jewish philosopher.”) Ben Cohen comments:

According to the Polish president, the responsibility for restitution lies solely with Germany. There are a number of legal objections to Duda’s view. . . . But such technicalities cut little ice in Warsaw these days, chiefly because Duda’s government has “nationalized” the memory of the Holocaust. By that, I mean that the official depiction of the Holocaust by the state-run Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) would have us believe that Poles and Jews were equal partners in victimhood, and that the Holocaust was as much a Polish tragedy as a Jewish one.

Within the confines of this distorted narrative, there is no room to discuss the thorny issue of collaboration—the very word elicits fury in the corridors of the IPN—of ordinary Poles with the occupying German authorities. Any notion that Poles contributed directly to the slaughter of their country’s historic Jewish community is regarded not as historical fact, but as defamation.

For Poland’s current crop of leaders, it isn’t enough that the most serious Holocaust historians, along with Jewish and Israeli leaders, have recognized that the Poles suffered profoundly as a nation under the Nazis, and that many of the mechanisms for collaboration that existed elsewhere in Eastern Europe—like, for example, joining local units of the SS—were absent in Poland. It seems that nothing less than a title deed to the word “Holocaust” will suffice.

As wrenching as it is to say this. . . the legacy of two forms of totalitarianism—Nazism and Communism—continue to impact Poland, alongside its long, grim tradition of domestic anti-Semitism.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, Holocaust, Poland

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy