Poland summons Israeli ambassador to clarify Netanyahu comments on Poles in Holocaust

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland summoned Israel's ambassador on Friday and threatened to scupper a summit in Jerusalem after reported comments in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to accuse the Polish nation of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust. Netanyahu's office said in a statement that the prime minister, who was in Warsaw for a U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference, had been misquoted by The Jerusalem Post, which issued a corrected story

Reuters February 16, 2019 02:06:16 IST
Poland summons Israeli ambassador to clarify Netanyahu comments on Poles in Holocaust

Poland summons Israeli ambassador to clarify Netanyahu comments on Poles in Holocaust

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland summoned Israel's ambassador on Friday and threatened to scupper a summit in Jerusalem after reported comments in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to accuse the Polish nation of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.

Netanyahu's office said in a statement that the prime minister, who was in Warsaw for a U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference, had been misquoted by The Jerusalem Post, which issued a corrected story.

In a later statement, Netanyahu's office said that in his remarks on the question of Polish collaboration with Nazi occupiers, he had not cast any blanket blame.

Poland, where sensitivities over the issue of its actions during the Holocaust are high, called in Israeli envoy Anna Azari.

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

After an outcry in Israel and the United States, Poland's conservative Law and Justice government backed out of legislation mandating jail terms for anyone suggesting the country had collaborated with the Nazis.

Sensitivities were tested again late on Thursday after Netanyahu answered a question about that law posed by one of the Israeli reporters who had travelled with him to Poland.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper quoted Netanyahu as saying: "The Poles collaborated with the Nazis, and I don't know anyone who was ever sued for such a statement."

Yaakov Katz, the Jerusalem Post's editor, told Reuters the account in his newspaper had used the term "Polish nation", although not in a direct quote from Netanyahu, and the story was swiftly amended to reflect what he really said.

But Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek said Warsaw wanted the matter "to be clarified unequivocally". Hours later, Netanyahu's office issued a second statement.

"In a briefing, PM Netanyahu spoke of Poles and not the Polish people or the country of Poland," the statement said.

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.

Commenting on Netanyahu's remarks, Polish President Andrzej Duda raised a question mark over a two-day summit in Jerusalem next week of the four central European nations - Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Duda said that if Netanyahu had said what was originally reported, "Israel would not be a good place to meet in spite of the previous arrangements". Duda offered his own presidential residence as an alternative venue.

Netanyahu has sought to use the so-called Visegrad group as a counterweight to western European Union criticism of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Alan Charlish in Warsaw, Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by John Stonestreet, Mark Heinrich and Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan: Politicans, journalists pay tributes
India

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan: Politicans, journalists pay tributes

The Pulitzer prize winner, who was in Kandahar covering operations against Taliban, was killed when he was riding along with the Afghan Special Forces

Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed during assignment in Afghanistan's Kandahar province
India

Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed during assignment in Afghanistan's Kandahar province

Siddiqui had also covered the 2020 Delhi riots, COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal earthquake in 2015 and the protests in Hong Kong

Danish Siddiqui's passing is a reminder of the high price one pays for showing the truth
India

Danish Siddiqui's passing is a reminder of the high price one pays for showing the truth

Danish's photographs were not just documentation, but the work of someone who went down to eye-level, as they say in photographic parlance.