Polish PM cancels trip to Israel after Netanyahu's Holocaust comment

Polish PM cancels trip to Israel after Netanyahu's Holocaust comment

Poland warned on Monday it may pull out of a summit of central European nations in Jerusalem this week, after comments by Israel's new foreign minister accusing Poles of anti-Semitism. Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz had been tapped to attend in his place.

The Foreign Ministry also summoned the Israeli ambassador, Anna Azari, to demand a second set of clarifications in recent days.

The Times of Israel reported that, when asked for a response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said he was unaware of such a meeting, and the Prime Minister's Office said it does "not comment on contacts with countries with which Israel does not have formal relations".

A spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, who was in Warsaw for a US -sponsored Middle East conference, said Netanyahu had been misquoted by The Jerusalem Post, which issued a corrected story.

Israel's acting foreign minister, Israel Katz, made his remarks Sunday in an interview on Reshet 13 TV.

The Visegrad Group, also known as the V4, comprises the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

Because of that history, Poles find references to Polish "collaboration" to be unfair and hurtful.

The matter of Poland's conduct during the Holocaust - in which numerous six million Jewish dead were killed in Nazi camps on Polish soil - was at the centre of an Israeli-Polish diplomatic dispute previous year.

Steinitz, wished Katz "good luck" as he was entering the cabinet meeting, while Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said no one is "interfering with the prime minister's process of dividing the portfolios", and wished the transportation minister "great success" at his new job.

However, Holocaust researchers have collected ample evidence of Polish villagers who murdered Jews fleeing the Nazis, or Polish blackmailers who preyed on the Jews for financial gain.

Netanyahu's office has insisted that the Israeli leader was "misquoted" and had not implicated all Poles in the Holocaust.

Before World War II, Poland was home to one of the world's biggest Jewish communities, which was nearly wiped out by the Nazis.

Many Poles still refuse to accept research showing thousands participated in the Holocaust in addition to the thousands who risked their lives to help the Jews.

Following so much refreshing truth, Katz added: "It is possible and important to maintain ties with the Polish government, in the interests of the State of Israel".

After pressure from the U.S. government and an outcry in Israel, the legislation was watered down and prison sentences removed.



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