Netanyahu pledges to listen to historians on Holocaust stance

By Daniel Uria  |  July 8, 2018 at 1:25 PM
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July 8 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he would listen to historians in regards to criticism of a joint statement he issued on Poland's role in the Holocaust.

Netanyahu and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki issued the joint statement after Poland amended a law that made it a criminal offense to accuse the Polish nation of being complicit in the extermination of Jews during World War II.

The two prime ministers issued a joint declaration, signed on June 27, condemning "every single case of cruelty against Jews perpetrated by Poles during ... World War II" and declaring the term "Polish death camps" as "blatantly erroneous" while also noting "heroic acts of numerous Poles, especially the Righteous Among the Nations, who risked their lives to save Jewish people."

After the statement was condemned by politicians and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center, Netanyahu said he would listen to the criticisms and act accordingly.

"The statement published following the change in the law was overseen by a senior historian," he said at a cabinet meeting Sunday. "However, various comments were made after its publication. I have listened intently to the comments of the historians, including about several things that were not included in the declaration. I respect this and I will give expression to it."

Netanyahu noted the primary focus of the negotiations with Poland was to ensure the Holocaust law was amended.

"With regard to Polish law, the aim of the cooperation with the Polish government was to abolish the criminal clauses in the Polish law that had a chilling effect on free research and discourse on the Holocaust. This goal has been achieved," he said.

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