Israel has reportedly rejected a bid by the Warsaw bourse, GPW, for a controlling bid of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, in the wake of the diplomatic crisis sparked by Poland’s controversial new Holocaust law.
Reuters reported Friday that GPW had bid to buy a 71.7 percent stake in the TASE, which was put up for sale last year to a draw investors and increase competition.
Warsaw’s stock exchange was one of ten that showed interest in acquiring a stake in the TASE, including London, Hong Kong, Toronto and Singapore.
The report, citing the Polish business daily Parkiet, said the GPW’s bid was not considered by Israel due to the country’s controversial new legislation that makes it a crime to attribute the Holocaust crimes of Nazi Germany to Poland.
As currently written, the law calls for prison terms of up to three years for attributing the crimes of Nazi Germany to the Polish state or nation. The bill would also set fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone who refers to Nazi German death camps as Polish.
The legislation, proposed by Poland’s conservative ruling party, has sparked a bitter dispute with Israel, which says it will inhibit free speech about the Holocaust. The United States also strongly opposes the legislation, warning it could hurt Poland’s strategic relations with Israel and the US.
One key paragraph of the law states, “Whoever claims, publicly and contrary to the facts, that the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich… or for other felonies that constitute crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or whoever otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the true perpetrators of said crimes – shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment for up to three years.”
Jewish groups, Holocaust survivors, and Israeli officials fear its true aim is to repress research on Poles who killed Jews during World War II. The law and subsequent backlash have unleashed a wave of anti-Semitism in Poland.
Last week, senior Israeli and Polish diplomats met in Jerusalem in a bid to resolve differences, with both sides vowing to preserve “the truth.”
Deputy foreign minister Bartosz Cichocki said the delegation was “committed to join our efforts to promote truth about the Holocaust and the Polish-Jewish centuries-old relationship.”
Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem said it was imperative that “historical truths are preserved and that there is no restriction on freedom of research and speech.”
“Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is a matter beyond the bilateral relationship between Israel and Poland. It is a core issue cutting to the essence of the Jewish people,” Rotem said.