Warsaw : Poland’s Foreign Minister on Monday demanded an explanation from Israeli authorities on how someone was able to deface the gates outside the Polish consulate in Tel Aviv with crudely-drawn swastikas and slurs.
“The Israeli government is responsible for the security of our institutions in that country,” said Jacek Czaputowicz, Poland’s top diplomat and member of the right-wing populist Law and Justice Party (PiS).
The graffiti daubed on the exterior parameter of the consulate appeared amid high tension between the two nations following Warsaw’s recent decision to pass a legislation making it illegal to implicate Poland in the events of the Holocaust, Efe news reported. At least 6 million people, mainly Jews, were killed in the genocide by the Nazis during World War II. Along with the swastikas, the graffiti equated Poland to “murderers” and dubbed the consulate building “Polish s**t”. Israeli police said they had opened an investigation into the incident. Critics of the so-called Holocaust bill, which also outlaws the term “Polish death camps” in reference to the notorious extermination camps like Auschwitz-Birkenau, operated by the Nazis during their occupation of Poland, have denounced it as a bid to whitewash history.
Both Israel and the US have urged Warsaw to reconsider the legislation. However, tensions were further escalated on Saturday when, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki suggested there were also Jewish perpetrators in the Holocaust, prompting immediate outrage from his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Polish government hastened to put together an explanatory statement in a bid to allay fears that its leader was in any way denying the Holocaust.
It is estimated that as many as 3 million Polish Jews were murdered during the Nazi German occupation of the country, while some 2 million non-Jewish Poles were also killed. Several historians, however, documented several instances of Polish collaboration with the Nazi occupiers during the war. These range from accounts of individuals revealing the location of Jewish hideouts to the Nazis to murder and direct involvement in the genocide of the country’s Jewish population.