WARSAW, Poland – After an Israeli minister said that Poles had harbored anti-Semitism since childhood, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki responded by saying that his country would not accept “racist insults.”
Amid a political dispute between Warsaw and Tel Aviv, Morawiecki told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Poland, where thousands risked their lives to help Jews during World War II, “will no longer yield to the pressure to accept lies, deceptive phrases, and more-or-less racist insults.”
The Polish prime minister was apparently addressing the comment to Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, who upped the ante last week by saying that every Pole “nursed anti-Semitism with his mother’s milk.”
Morawiecki said the controversial quote “seemed totally unbelievable” and that such words “could be used by radical extremists, but not by a foreign minister.” He added that “some politicians want to make headlines” before the Israeli elections.
The Polish prime minister pointed out that “tens of thousands of Poles, perhaps even more, were helping their Jewish brethren,” and that Poland was the only country occupied by the Germans “in which a person helping Jews faced the death penalty in the hands of the Germans.”
As part of the barbaric exchange last week, Warsaw withdrew from a summit of Eastern European countries in Jerusalem, with Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski demanding that Israel “reject this statement […] and apologize.” The Israeli ambassador to Poland was summoned to the Foreign Ministry twice in a week.
Poland has been bombarded with accusations of raising anti-Semitic sentiments since it approved the controversial Holocaust law last year. The legislation, which prohibits the involvement of the Polish government in the historical crimes of the Nazi regime, provoked outrage in Israel, with senior officials claiming that the Poles collaborated with the Germans en masse.
This comes as part of a larger campaign of independent thinkers and states rejecting constant claims that every state was responsible for the crimes of genocide in World War Two.