Polish President Andrzej Duda has stated he will sign the so-called "Holocaust bill," which criminalizes statements accusing Poles of complicity in the Holocaust and propaganda of Ukrainian nationalist ideology and refers the legislation to the country's Supreme Court for review.
"After the examination of the situation and of the bill I decided to sign this draft law and in this regard, it will come into force. But at the same time… I have decided to submit the bill to the Constitutional Court so that the Constitutional Court examines its conformity with the constitution," Duda said.
The president has dispelled fears that the law might prevent the victims of the Holocoust from speaking openly about the misconduct by some Poles during World War II, explaining that the law establishes criminal liability only for those, who accuse the whole Polish nation and the Polish state of complicity in the crimes committed by the Nazis rather than specific Polish nationals.
Reacting to the Polish president's decision, the Israeli Foreign Ministry expressed its reservations regarding the bill.
Israel continues to communicate with Polish authorities and has expressed its reservations regarding the new Polish law.— Israel Foreign Min. (@IsraelMFA) 6 февраля 2018 г.
Israel has noted, that the Polish President had deferred the law to the Constitutional Court for clarifications and amendments. pic.twitter.com/QGr6i39LTA
We hope that within allotted time until the court’s deliberations are concluded, we will manage to agree on changes and corrections.— Israel Foreign Min. (@IsraelMFA) 6 февраля 2018 г.
Israel and #Poland hold a joint responsibility to research and preserve the history of the Holocaust.
The legislation was adopted by the Polish Senate on February 1 and requires the president's approval to come into force.
However, the as yet unsigned bill has already drawn the indignation of top Israeli officials, including the country's prime minister, president, and the Foreign Ministry have expressed their disagreement with the law, which, according to them, juggled historical truth, and demanded that it be reviewed. Israel's Yad Vashem center for the study of the Holocaust, for its part, pledged to proceed with its studies despite the restrictions imposed by Poland.
The debated legislation will criminalize the propaganda of Ukrainian nationalist ideology along with any accusations of complicity in war crimes during World War II, including the Holocaust, made against Polish people, as well as any denials of the killings of Poles by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. The bill has been sharply criticized by Israel as it fears that the law might hit Jews, who had suffered at the hands of Poles and would like to go public with it.