Israel criticises Poland over proposed Holocaust law

Charles Dance Sameena Ali-Khan Celia Imrie Holocaust survivor Helen Aronson Derek Jacobi Maureen Lipman and Pearl Mackie before a commemorative event at the QEII Conference Centre in London to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

But Joanna Kopcinska, a spokeswoman for the Polish premier, said the dialogue between the countries "will not concern sovereign decisions of the Polish parliament".

Poland's parliament on Friday adopted legislation that sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone who refers to Nazi German death camps as being Polish.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the Polish bill "baseless", said "history can not be rewritten", and that he expects the Polish lawmakers to amend the law.

The law, which still has to be approved by the upper house senate and signed by President Andrzej Duda, carries a penalty of a fine or up to three years in jail whether the statements are made in Poland or overseas.

"The Polish government should reconsider this measure aimed at penalising the use of language, even if we agree this language should not be used".

Israel has criticised a Polish death camp bill, saying it amounts to a denial of history.

The Nazis had persecuted everyone whom they had deemed "inferior" to the Germans. "And so far the Polish state has not been able to effectively fight these types of insults to the Polish nation".

After attending Saturday's ceremonies in Auschwitz to mark the 73rd anniversary of its liberation Mr Morawiecki, a trained historian, also remarked that "Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a Polish name, and Arbeit Macht Frei is not a Polish phrase".

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"However, restrictions on statements by scholars and others regarding the Polish people's direct or indirect complicity with the crimes committed on their land during the Holocaust are a serious distortion", it said.

Former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, the head of Israel's centrist Yesh Atid party, also lambasted the controversial bill on Twitter.

But the Israeli government read one of the bill's passages as an attempt to deny Polish participation in Nazi Germany's extermination of Jews and feared that it would open the door to prosecuting any Holocaust survivors who mention that involvement.

"Had not so many civilians outside Germany participated in the extermination campaign, there would have been fewer Jews murdered in the Holocaust", the plan teaches.

Poles have long objected to phrases such as "Polish death camps", which suggest Poland was responsible for the genocide.

The Polish embassy in Israel fired back, denouncing Lapid's "unsupportable claims".

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has signed the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment, and pledged his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day.

"No law can change the historical truth", the statement continued, "and there is no place to educate the families of Holocaust survivors, who live every day the memory of their loved ones who perished in the inferno". "Your embassy should offer an immediate apology", Lapid responded. "They must be examined and revealed". However, most historians agree that the truth is more complicated, and many Poles collaborated with the occupying forces and committed bad crimes. About 6,700 Poles were commemorated by Yad Vashem for rescuing Jews, the largest number in any country.

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