Poland opposition: Did Mossad influence Holocaust law?

Poland's main opposition party asks PM Morawiecki why his representatives "negotiated" with Israeli intelligence to amend Holocaust law.

Ben Ariel, Canada,

Mateusz Morawiecki
Mateusz Morawiecki

Poland's main opposition party on Friday asked Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki why his representatives had "negotiated" with Israeli intelligence to amend a controversial Holocaust law that strained ties with Israel, AFP reported.

Poland changed the legislation last week to remove fines and jail terms of up to three years for anyone found guilty of ascribing Nazi crimes to the Polish nation or state after it sparked outrage in Israel.

A letter signed by Slawomir Neumann of the liberal Civic Platform (PO) to Morawiecki quotes press reports alleging that Mossad representatives "participated in the work" on the amendments.

Michal Dworczyk, an aide to Morawiecki, has denied any negotiations with foreign actors on the amendment.

When the Polish law was originally approved in January, it prompted sharp protests from Israel, as well as criticism by the United States, among other countries.

Jewish organizations, including the World Jewish Congress, complained the law was a violation of free speech and impediment to historical research of the Holocaust.

The original legislation including the prison terms took effect in March and was intended to prevent Nazi German death camps in Poland, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, from being described as Polish.

Dworczyk admitted that there had been talks focused on a joint statement by the Israeli and Polish prime ministers issued on the day parliament passed the amendment. It was later published in full in newspapers both in Israel and abroad.

The joint Israeli-Polish statement on the law has also come under fire in Israel, where Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, "You cannot silence any criticism of a political claim. The historical truth should be told and not distorted: Polish aid to Jews during the Holocaust was a relatively rare phenomenon and a violation of them, and even their murder was a common phenomenon."

"I suggest that everyone read Yad Vashem's document on the declaration and understand how wrong it is. The State of Israel must not be a signatory to this document, and therefore it must be annulled," added the justice minister.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem also released a statement in which it said the "joint statement contains grave errors and deception."

"The essence of the statute remains unchanged even after the repeal of the aforementioned sections, including the possibility of real harm to researchers, unimpeded research, and the historical memory of the Holocaust.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said, "The joint statement by the Prime Minister of Israel and the Prime Minister of Poland regarding the responsibility of Poles in the Holocaust is disgraceful, full of lies and distortions, and it desecrates the memory of many Jews murdered by Poles."

"The statement describes a so-called systematic action by the Polish government-in-exile and the Polish undergrounds for help and assistance to the Jewish people, which is not compatible with reality," he added. “These activities were few and not central.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)