In a comment piece for Israel Hayom, an Israeli national daily newspaper, Dr. Efraim Podoksik, a lecturer in political science, criticised “irresponsible initiatives” by high-ranking Israeli politicians prompted by a disputed new law in Poland.
The Polish president recently said he would sign into law rules which could mean a jail term for anyone who accuses Poland of being complicit in Nazi German crimes during World War II.
The new law has sparked tensions between Poland and Israel.
In a piece headlined “Let the Poles be,” Podoksik said Itzik Shmuli, a member of Israel’s national legislature, had responded to the Polish law by introducing his own legislation to criminalise the "denial or downplaying of the involvement of Nazi accomplices and collaborators."
Podoksik said: “I feel an obligation to voice my reservations over these irresponsible initiatives and to set the historical record straight.”
Polish nation victim in WWII
The Polish nation was a victim of foreign aggression in World War II, when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, Podoksik noted.
“During that period, millions of Poles lost their lives. The Polish nation never surrendered to Nazi aggression, fighting courageously against the invasion and rebelling against the occupation. At no point did the Poles agree to become a puppet state.”
Podoksik added: “As was the case in almost every area under National Socialist occupation, some Poles did collaborate with the occupying power, out of malice, greed or fear. Some helped murder Jews. Polish citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish, were among the collaborators.
“Totalitarian oppression turns some ordinary people into heroes, but it turns others into spineless miscreants. Moreover, it is wrong to attribute collective moral responsibility to a people who lacked any semblance of a legitimate authority. Spreading blame like this serves only those who wish to distort the distinction between the guilty and the innocent, soiling the reputation of the blameless with the deeds of the wicked.”
Podoksik said Poland had become a “bustling democracy” over the last 30 years.
“The deep friendship between Israel and Poland in recent decades is a wonderful example of a proper way for two democratic peoples to conduct relations with each other. We must not allow unfounded political opportunism to harm this friendship,” Podoksik concluded.