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September 17, 2020 10:02 am

Sens. Rosen, Lankford Push Poland on Antisemitism, Holocaust Restitution

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The US Capitol Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), co-chairs of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, sent a letter to Polish President Andrzej Duda expressing concern over the rise of antisemitic discourse in Poland and urging Poland to enact a comprehensive Holocaust restitution law.

“Poland’s partnership with the United States as a stalwart NATO ally has contributed significantly to security and prosperity in Central and Eastern Europe,” they wrote. “We appreciate Poland’s longstanding defense cooperation, including its participation in US military operations and willingness to host American troops on Polish territory. It is for these reasons that we are alarmed by growing antisemitic discourse in Poland and scapegoating of the Jewish community, which run counter to our nations’ shared values. Specifically, during Poland’s 2020 presidential campaign, the Law and Justice Party and state television peddled antisemitic tropes and thinly veiled demagoguery.”

The senators continued, “In addition to putting Poland’s Jewish community at risk, these troubling statements undermine Poland’s obligations under the 2009 Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and Related Issues. As one of 47 signatories, Poland committed to supporting national laws to help Holocaust survivors reclaim their property. We know you share our desire to strengthen the US-Poland partnership, which is why we call on you to unequivocally condemn antisemitism, including when propagated by the Law and Justice Party and your political allies, and to adopt comprehensive legislation on Holocaust-era property restitution.”

Poland is the only European Union member-state that has not adopted a national comprehensive private-property restitution law.

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Duda has objected to such a measure.

“There won’t be any damages paid for heir-less property,” he said on state television in July. “I will never sign a law that will privilege any ethnic group vis-à-vis others. Damages should be paid by the one that started the war.”

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