Israel hopes Polish anti-defamation law will be changed

Israel hopes “changes and corrections” will be made to a Polish anti-defamation law which has ignited tensions between Israel and Warsaw, the foreign ministry in Jerusalem has said.

The Israeli foreign ministry’s statement on Twitter came shortly after Polish President Andrzej Duda announced he would sign a contested law which could impose a jail term for anyone who accuses Poland of being complicit in Nazi German crimes during World War II.

Duda said simultaneously that he would refer the law to Poland’s highest court so it can assess whether the new rules are in line with the constitution.

In Poland, the new rules are seen as a way of fighting the use of the phrase “Polish death camps”, which many say implies the country’s involvement in the Holocaust.

Poland has long fought the use of such phrases, which have often appeared in foreign media in relation to Nazi German-run extermination camps located in occupied Polish territory during World War II.

Poland’s ruling conservatives have said such phrases distort history.

But commentators have said that Israel is concerned that the new law could mean penalties for anyone who criticises individual Poles’ role in the Holocaust.

Israeli ambassador to Poland Anna Azari has said that in Israel the law “is seen as creating a possibility of punishment for Holocaust survivors’ testimony.”

Public broadcaster Polish Radio has launched a new website, GermanDeathCamps.info, aimed at debunking misconceptions about Poland’s role in the Holocaust.

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