BUDAPEST, Hungary — Poland’s foreign minister said his country is open to a meeting with Israel also involving other countries from central Europe, after it pulled out of a planned high-level summit last week.
Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said Wednesday after talks with his Hungarian counterpart in Budapest that there are “no obstacles” to the meeting, although “some things still have to be cleared up with the Israeli side.”
Poland pulled out of the February 19 conference in Jerusalem after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Poles had cooperated with the Nazis during the Holocaust and Israel’s acting foreign minister referenced a quote from former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who said that Poles “suckled anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk.”
Netanyahu later clarified to Warsaw on his own comments, which were initially understood to have implicated all Poles in collaborating with the Nazis in killing Jews during World War II.
The prime minister conveyed messages to Warsaw and issued a statement saying he had been misquoted: he had said “Poles,” not “the Poles,” and never implicated all Poles or the Polish nation.
On Monday, Katz refused to apologize, but said he never implied “all” Poles were anti-Semitic.
Poland was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II and six million of its inhabitants died during the conflict, including three million Jews.
Warsaw has long been at pains to state that Poland did not collaborate as a nation in the Holocaust, although individual Poles committed what the Polish ambassador to Israel recently described as “abominable crimes.”