Israeli minister not backing down over Polish remarks

JERUSALEM, Feb 22 (NNN-AGENCIES) – Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Thursday refused to apologise for allegations he made that Poles are anti-Semitic and many of them collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.

Senior Polish officials on Tuesday demanded Israel apologise for the
comments in a row that led Warsaw to pull out of a Jerusalem summit.

Katz on Sunday said “Poles suckle anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk”
and “there were many Poles who collaborated with the Nazis”.

On Thursday the Israeli foreign minister was in no mood for apologies.

“I regret none of what I said. My parents knew the Holocaust, as the son of
Holocaust survivors I have to tell the truth,” he told the private television
channel 13.

“Many Polish people collaborated with the Nazis in the Holocaust. Before
and during the Second World War there was anti-Semitism in Poland,” he
insisted.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had sought to save
face after a summit with four central European nations was cancelled over the dispute with Poland, instead holding meetings with the remaining three
leaders.

The dispute dented Netanyahu’s attempts to forge deeper links with all four
countries as part of his strategy to build alliances with governments that
strongly back Israel within the European Union.

Netanyahu frequently lashes out at what he calls the EU’s “hypocritical and
hostile attitude”, referring to the bloc’s criticism of Israel’s treatment of
the Palestinians.

The holding of a summit of the Visegrad group — Slovakia, Poland, Hungary
and the Czech Republic — in Jerusalem had been seen as a coup for
Netanyahu’s efforts.

The United States has backed Poland in the diplomatic dispute.

“Between close allies, like Poland and Israel, there is no room for such
offensive comments” US ambassador to Warsaw Georgette Mosbacher tweeted in Polish on her official page on Tuesday.

Poland was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany during WWII and six million of its inhabitants died during the conflict, including three million Jews. — NNN-AGENCIES