Siding with Poland, US slams Israeli FM’s ‘offensive’ anti-Semitism remark
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Siding with Poland, US slams Israeli FM’s ‘offensive’ anti-Semitism remark

Knesset speaker backs Katz’s comment that Poles ‘suckle anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk’; Warsaw is demanding an apology; PM meets separately with Central European leaders

In this photo from September 6, 2018, Georgette Mosbacher stands next to an American flag after receiving her credentials as new United States ambassador to Poland in Warsaw. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)
In this photo from September 6, 2018, Georgette Mosbacher stands next to an American flag after receiving her credentials as new United States ambassador to Poland in Warsaw. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

The United States ambassador to Poland on Tuesday condemned remarks by Israel’s acting foreign minister on Poles’ alleged anti-Semitism that have provoked a diplomatic crisis between Jerusalem and Warsaw.

Poland pulled out of a summit of Central European countries scheduled for Jerusalem on Tuesday, leading to the cancellation of the event, after Israel Katz said that Poles “suckle anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk.” He also said “there were many Poles who collaborated with the Nazis.”

“Among close allies such as Poland and Israel, there is no place for such offensive comments as yesterday’s statement by Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz,” US envoy Georgette Mosbacher wrote on Twitter in Polish.

Mosbacher has herself previously come under fire from the Polish government over comments on the country’s Holocaust history, saying during a nomination hearing last year that Polish legislation outlawing the blaming of Nazi crimes against Jews during World War II on Poland was responsible for rising anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe.

Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. (AP/Michael Sohn)

Katz’s comments came after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had already said he would send his foreign minister to Israel in his place after tensions rose over the weekend due to comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Poles’ collaboration with the Nazis that his office said were misquoted by Israeli media.

Amid demands by senior Polish officials earlier Tuesday that Israel apologize for Katz’s remarks, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein defended his fellow Likud party lawmaker.

“It is the right of every senior Israeli official to tell the truth. For me, this is an example of the fragile relations between the countries,” Edelstein said during a meeting with American Jewish leaders, Ynet reported.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, left, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, February 19, 2019. (Amos Ben Gershom)

Netanyahu himself ignored reporters’ questions on Tuesday about the crisis with Poland as he met with his counterparts from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, left, speaks as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens after their meeting in Jerusalem, February 19, 2019. (Ariel Schalit/AP)

The trio came to Israel to attend the summit of the so-called Visegrad Group before it was canceled after Poland pulled out, and they instead held a series of separate bilateral meetings with Netanyahu.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis in Jerusalem on February 19, 2019. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
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