United States 'disappointed' after Polish president signs controversial Holocaust law

The plaque

But Israel has raised concerns it could stifle the truth about the involvement of some Poles. He also emphasized that he had been made cognizant of concerns that the law could potentially block artistic or historical works on the Holocaust during a trip to Israel a year ago. Many other Jews were betrayed to the Nazis by non-Jewish Poles.

The bill is largely aimed at making it a crime to refer to Auschwitz and other Nazi camps established by German forces in Poland as "Polish death camps". Both the U.S. State Department and several leading Members of Congress have voiced opposition to the legislation. After analyzing the situation and the bill, I have decided that I will sign it.

What does the bill state?

The bill has drawn criticism from the United States and condemnation from a number of worldwide organizations as well as Polish minority groups.

"Yes, the death camps in Poland were built and operated by the Germans, and we can not allow them to evade responsibility for these actions".

Deputies from across Israel's often fractious political spectrum have united to denounce it. Amendments to the law envisage fines or imprisonment for up to three years for "sharing responsibility before the Polish people or the state, including for crimes committed by the Third Reich".

Unfortunately, at a moment when most would wish cooler heads would prevail, a trip by the Israeli Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, has been cancelled after he strongly condemned the proposed law. He also said he was "honored". The idea seemed to have been dropped, but made a sudden reappearance when the lower house of parliament approved a bill on January 26, the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

But, he added, "if the law only dealt with so-called Polish death camps then the Israeli side would understand it".

Daniel's organization had scheduled meetings for Bennett with Polish officials, including Prime Minister Mateusz Morawieck. The director of television station TVP 2, Marcin Wolski, said on air - a reference to the fact that death camp prisoners, usually Jews, were forced to help dispose of gas chamber victims. "This truth needs to be protected", he said.

European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said in a statement Tuesday his organisation would challenge what he described as the "flawed" law in Poland's Constitutional Tribunal. No such situation happened in Poland.

During the war, Poland was attacked and occupied by Nazi Germany and six million of its citizens were killed, half of them Jews.

More Poles have been honoured by Israel for saving the lives of Jews during the war than any other nation.

The bill, he told Poland's state radio Jedynka, covers accusing Poles as a nation but not "someone who says that somewhere, in some village, some place, a Jewish family or one Jewish person was murdered".

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