Israeli minister: Poland visit cancelled over Holocaust bill

AP Explains: How past wounds fuel debate over Polish law

Israeli minister: Poland visit cancelled over Holocaust bill

"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. The party depicted it as a way to protect Poland's good name.

"But referring the bill to the tribunal was probably still the best available option to the Polish president", Buras added.

As reported, the Senate of Poland adopted early on February 1 without any amendments the law on the Institute of National Remembrance, which foresees, in particular, punishment for "crimes of Ukrainian nationalists".

While Daniels conceded that there were "undoubtedly many, many bad Poles who were involved in horrific crimes" against Jews, the bill's wording criminalizes those who accuse the Polish government or the Polish nation as a whole of complicity with the Nazis.

Israeli officials have voiced strong objections to the law, saying it is rewriting history. The very swift and vocal opposition from Israel caught many Poles off guard and put them on the defensive. And among Poles were a nourishing number who helped Jews and opposed tremendous resistance to regime of third Reich.

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"The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it", Bennett later said in a statement.

The US State Department warned last week that the bill could have "repercussions" on "Poland's strategic interests and relationships - including with the United States and Israel".

Apart from causing rifts with close allies and drawing global condemnation, the debate about the bill has also resulted in an intense focus on the very questions of complicity that nationalist Poles were hoping to sweep aside once and for all.

But Poland upset Ukraine in 2016 with a resolution that declared the World War Two-era killing of about 100,000 Polish men, women and children by UPA units to be "genocide".

"The camps where millions of Jews were murdered were not Polish".

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Israel and worldwide Jewish organizations have strongly criticized the proposal. And not only did Jews suffer atrocities of Nazi regime during German occupation, hundreds of thousands of Catholic Poles were deported and killed as well.

"As Jews and Israelis the most important thing for us is fighting Holocaust denial", he said, and that using incorrect terminology leads to a revision of historical facts.

The law is meant to safeguard Poland's image overseas but instead has set off an unprecedented diplomatic row with the United States and Israel.

Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, reiterated its concerns Tuesday.

"Poland can be certain that any distortion of history such as the notion of "Polish concentration camps" will be clearly rejected and firmly condemned".

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Polish officials say they only want to fight historical lies and distortions, primarily ones they see as downplaying the responsibility of Germany's Nazi perpetrators.

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