Bennett assails Israel-Poland declaration as ‘betrayal of Holocaust victims’

Education Minister Naftali Bennett assails a joint Israeli-Polish declaration signed by the two nations’ prime ministers that Poland believes exonerates Poles from responsibility for the Holocaust.

“The joint declaration of Israel and the government of Poland is a disgrace, saturated with lies, that betrays the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. As minister of education, entrusted with passing on the memory of the Holocaust, I reject it completely. It has no factual basis and won’t be learned in the education system,” Bennett says in a Thursday morning statement on Twitter.

“I demand that the prime minister cancel the declaration or bring it to the government for approval.”

And he adds: “The declaration describes supposed systematic actions by the Polish government in exile and the Polish underground to help the Jewish people. This description does not fit the reality. These actions were few and not central [to the Polish resistance’s work], and certainly weren’t systematic.”

The joint declaration was signed last week, and has been translated and published in full-page ads in newspapers around the world by a foundation affiliated with the Polish government.

The appearance of the ads triggered criticism in Israel, with some people arguing that they were proof the Israeli government, by agreeing to issue the statement, had handed Poland a PR victory in its battle to portray Poles primarily as victims of Nazism rather than accomplices in committing atrocities. Critics say the joint Polish-Israeli agreement downplays the role of many Poles who willingly cooperated with the Nazis.

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