The Polish President defended the law, pointing out how Polish officials were among those trying to tell the world about the Holocaust.
Defending the law, Duda said it would not prohibit Holocaust survivors and witnesses from talking about crimes committed by individual Poles.
“We do not deny that there were cases of huge wickedness,” he said in a speech.
But he said the point of the law is to prevent the Polish nation as a whole from being wrongly accused of institutionalized participation in the Holocaust. He recalled that the Polish government at the time had to go into exile and Polish officials were those who struggled to inform the world that the Germans were putting Jews to death on Polish soil.
At the time, it looked like Poland and Israel would still seek compromise
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that it would continue to communicate with Poland despite its reservations about the law. It said it hopes Duda’s decision to ask the constitutional court to evaluate the bill will allow both sides to “agree on changes and corrections.”
That is looking more difficult now, with an adviser to the Polish President making some highly offensive statements about the reason for Israel’s objection to the law.
An adviser to Poland’s president has said he thinks Israel’s negative reaction to a law criminalizing some statements about Poland’s actions during World War II stemmed from a “feeling of shame at the passivity of the Jews during the Holocaust.”
Andrzej Zybertowicz, a Nicolaus Copernicus University sociology professor who also serves as a presidential adviser, called Israel’s opposition to the new law “anti-Polish” and said it shows the Mideast country “clearly fighting to keep the monopoly on the Holocaust.”
“Many Jews engaged in denunciation, collaboration during the war. I think Israel has still not worked it through,” Zybertowicz said in the interview published in the Polska-The Times newspaper Friday.
Zybertowicz could not immediately be reached for comment. Polish public officials typically have the chance to review their statements before media outlets publish them. Zybertowicz tweeted a link to the article.
His remarks follow open expressions of anti-Semitism that surfaced online and in some government-controlled media when Israeli officials objected to the bill form of the law, which outlaws public statements that falsely and intentionally attribute Nazi crimes to German-occupied Poland.
“In this dispute, one can see clearly Israel is fighting to keep the monopoly on the Holocaust,” presidential adviser Zybertowicz said in the interview. “The ‘religion’ of the Holocaust has become a symbolic shield for that country, which is used by Israel to create for itself a special position in many places in the world. A shield which is meant to protect Israel against any criticism.”
These statements, besides being highly offensive, actually echo those of antisemites. I have lost count the amount of times I have heard the Jew haters refer to the Holocaust industry or “religion of the Holocaust”, or claim we use the Holocaust as a shield against criticism of Israel. Some (like Ken Livingstone) have also claimed the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis.
In other words, an adviser to the Polish President is defending this ill-conceived Holocaust law with some antisemitism! And in demonstrating just how casual the antisemitism of some Poles is, he is actually reminding us just how possible it was for so many of them to be involved in crimes during the Holocaust.