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Israeli minister: Poland visit cancelled over Holocaust bill

Far-Right Groups Demand Polish President Sign Holocaust Bill

The Polish president has said he will sign into law a controversial proposal to outlaw blaming Poland for crimes committed during the Holocaust.

Polish officials have long argued a Holocaust speech law is needed to fight expressions like "Polish death camps" for the Nazi camps where Jews and others were exterminated.

The current Polish government is guilty of believing that you can legislate in too many areas of social life and that you can force people to be historically accurate; this is likely to be a gross misstep.

But Israel has raised concerns it could stifle the truth about the involvement of some Poles.

The bill was passed by the Polish parliament before being presented to President Duda.

He acknowledged that individual Poles did commit crimes against Jews during World War Two.

According to figures from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Nazis also killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians. After analyzing the situation and the bill, I have decided that I will sign it.

What does the bill state?

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The law also forbids use of the term "Polish death camp" to describe the death camps where Jews and others were murdered in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II under the Third Reich.

But it adds the caveat that a person "is not committing a crime if he or she commits such an act as part of artistic or scientific activities".

"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", Bennett said. Jews from across the continent were sent to be killed at death camps built and operated by Germans in Poland, including Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced the bill as a "distortion of the truth, the rewriting of history and the denial of the Holocaust".

The country's Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely warned last month it could be a "slippery slope" that could be used to "minimise the responsibility of those Poles who participated in the war crimes committed by the Nazis". But a Polish government spokeswoman said Warsaw had canceled Bennet's visit.

The Polish government has provoked yet another worldwide crisis, this time by adopting a law that is ostensibly meant to combat the phrase "Polish death camps". "But they were not the majority, and Poland definitely isn't responsible for the murder of millions of Jews. This truth needs to be protected", he said. Anti-Semitism certainly exists in Poland, especially amongst the socially-conservative right that make up the core of Law and Justice supporters; Mr Kaczyński has had, in this particular respect, a moderating impact on his own party.

Minister Bennett has been one of the most vocal critics of the new Polish law, and reacted instructing the Education Ministry to start teaching about the role of local European populations during the Holocaust.

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