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Despite Outrage, Envoy to US Hails Israeli-Polish Holocaust Complicity Statement

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At reception hosted by Polish colleague, Ron Dermer does not mention Shoah, but says controversial joint declaration allows both nations ‘to respect the past’

By Raphael Ahren  | 4 December 2018

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL — Israel’s ambassador to the US on Monday praised the controversial joint Israeli-Polish statement on the Holocaust, saying it allows both nations “to respect the past.”

During a lengthy speech at an event hosted by Poland’s Ambassador to the US Piotr Wilczek, Ron Dermer did not mention the Holocaust even once. He touched upon the issue only briefly and indirectly, saying that he was “pleased that our two governments were able to work out an agreement this summer that enables us both to respect the past and work together to build a common future.”

Dermer was referring to the June 27 agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki. The deal, negotiated over weeks, was designed to end the spat between the two countries over a controversial Polish law that criminalized any accusation of the Polish nation of being “responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich.” …

The Polish-Israeli Holocaust agreement included the issuance of a joint statement that declared that the term “Polish death camps” is “blatantly erroneous” and that the wartime Polish government-in-exile “attempted to stop this Nazi activity by trying to raise awareness among the Western allies to the systematic murder of the Polish Jews.”

The statement, which Warsaw later translated into several languages and widely distributed in full-page ads in important newspapers across the world, also rejected anti-Semitism and “anti-Polonism.”

Most controversially, it condemned “every single case of cruelty against Jews perpetrated by Poles during … World War II” but noted “heroic acts of numerous Poles, especially the Righteous Among the Nations, who risked their lives to save Jewish people.” […]

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