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February 19, 2019 11:36 am

Polish Parliament’s Deputy Speaker Urges State Ban on Acting Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz

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Acting Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz. Photo: Reuters / Pool / Sebastian Scheiner.

The ultranationalist deputy speaker of the Polish parliament has called for Israel’s acting foreign minister to be barred from entering the country, following his comment that Poles “suckle antisemitism with their mother’s milk.”

In a letter to the Polish foreign minister on Monday, Stanisław Tyszka — who represents the far-right Kukiz ’15 party — urged that Yisrael Katz be placed “on the list of undesirable people” who are prevented from entering Poland.

Tyszka referred to a clause in the Polish constitution that allows the government to forbid entry into the country to certain individuals “if required by national defense or security, or protection of public safety and order, or the interest of the Republic of Poland.”

“If, as a state, we do not finally start reacting strongly to the offensive statements of foreign politicians, we will not be respected in the world,” Tyszka wrote in his letter to Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz. “Recognizing Yisrael Katz as persona non grata is actually the duty of the Polish government in the current situation.”

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Katz’s remarks in a TV interview last Sunday about Polish collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II caused a furor among Polish leaders. Speaking just after he was appointed acting foreign minister by Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, Katz emphasized that he was the son of Holocaust survivors.

“The memory of the Holocaust is something we cannot compromise about; it is clear and we won’t forget or forgive,” Katz said. “Poles collaborated with the Nazis, definitely. As [former Israeli Prime Minister] Yitzhak Shamir said, they suckle antisemitism with their mothers’ milk.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Monday canceled Warsaw’s participation in a summit of central European countries in Jerusalem, decrying Katz’s comments as “racist.”

Legislative efforts in Poland in recent years to make discussion and research of Polish collaboration with the Nazis a criminal offense have resulted in the most serious fracture to Polish-Jewish relations since the fall of communism.

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