Implementation of the controversial Holocaust bill, passed by the Polish Senate on February 1, was “frozen” temporarily, due to the toxic rift it caused in Warsaw-Jerusalem relations. The bill, proposed by the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), makes illegal any suggestion that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust, particularly the Nazi death camps, which were German, but located on Polish soil.
Criticism of the bill in Israel and among diaspora Jews has been loud and forceful across the political spectrum. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the bill an attempt to “rewrite history,” and a Polish diplomatic delegation is arriving in Israel on February 28 to discuss the diplomatic crisis.
Although Jewish outrage over such a law — which would fine and even jail anyone who dared to implicate Poland in the Nazi genocide — is probably no surprise, the crashing silence from the rest of Europe is shocking.
To his credit, European Council President Donald Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland, made two public statements against the bill — one on Twitter and the other during a press conference in Brussels. His sentiments were echoed by members of the world media and intelligentsia, who have protested Poland’s move.