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Poland could amend Holocaust bill, says minister
07 February 2018, 12:46 | Darnell Patrick
Far-Right Groups Demand Polish President Sign Holocaust Bill
On Tuesday morning, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced he will approve the controversial Holocaust bill. "One can not change history, and the Holocaust can not be denied", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement last week.
The incident comes amid a standoff between Poland and Israel over legislation passed in both houses of the Polish Parliament which would criminalize rhetoric blaming Poland for Nazi crimes, including calling death camps set up on Polish soil by the Nazis "Polish death camps". "The historical truth is that the Poles did not take part in the Holocaust in any systematic way", the Polish president's Office quoted Duda as saying.
"However, many Polish people, all over the country, chased, informed or actively took part in the murder of over 200,000 Jews during, and after, the Holocaust".
Under a new law passed in Poland on February 1, any suggestion the country was complicit in the Holocaust could land offenders in jail.
He added that he would ask the Constitutional Tribunal for a number of clarifications about the bill. The president's passing of the law is the final step the bill needs to be implemented into law.
Incidentally, the campaign objecting to the use of this historical lie was started by the former Polish administration, so this is not considered a partisan issue in Poland. "If somebody acts as a spokesman for Israeli interests, maybe they should think about giving up their Polish citizenship and accepting Israeli citizenship", Nisztor said in a comment carried on the radio's official Twitter account.
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It has caused a diplomatic crisis with Israel, which fears it will enable Poland to whitewash the role of Poles during the Holocaust. "It was my honor", Naftali Bennett said in a statement Monday evening.
"We will certainly talk about our common history soon", Joanna Kopcinska, the spokeswoman, said in a statement sent to Reuters.
He previously called Poland a victim of Nazi terror, saying six million Poles and three million Jews were murdered by German invaders. "This truth needs to be protected", he said.
But that will happen after he has signed the bill into law.
The State Department had warned last week that such a law could have "repercussions" on Poland's relationship with the United States.
"This is an opportunity for the government and the education minister to stop encouraging and funding delegations [to Poland] and at the same time to formulate a plan that will strengthen the experience of Holocaust studies through seminars in Israel and moving the March of the Living to Jerusalem", she wrote.
"Poland can be certain that any distortion of history such as the notion of "Polish concentration camps" will be clearly rejected and firmly condemned".
Duda has attempted to ease some of the tension by suggesting a constitutional review of the law by Poland's top court.
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