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.
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.
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.
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.