Poland's Holocaust law sparks anger in Israel

(PHOTO: REUTERS)

Poland is currently in a diplomatic row with the state of Israel after it passed a controversial bill called the Holocaust speech law.

The Holocaust speech law aims to penalize anyone who attributes the atrocities of the Holocaust to Poland. This includes allusions to physical places in the country such as 'Polish death camps.'

Ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) said that the bill has the support of President Andrzej Duda and has 21 days to be signed into law after being passed by the lower house. The rationale for the Holocaust speech law is that Poland supposedly needs to protect its international reputation. 

The law has been met with protests locally and globally. In the United States, critics have said that the law could violate freedom of speech. Israel has been increasingly vocal of its opposition to the law, saying that it could easily allow the distortion of history as well as allow the criminalization of historical fact. There is also a chance, critics say, that it could whitewash the role of Poland in the systematic extermination of Jews by Nazi Germany.

At home, Polish Jews are fearing for the future. Anna Chipczyńska, president of the Jewish Community of Warsaw stated that they receive anti-Semitic comments on a daily basis and the members of the Jewish community in Poland feel that their loyalty to the country is being questioned by the passing of the bill. Some members of the Jewish community say that the silence of many other people regarding the bill is hurtful, despite the openness of the attack on Polish Jews.

Pro-Holocaust speech law supporters say that the opposition to the bill is an attack on Poland's reputation by international advocacy groups and institutions, and that these opponents 'wish to break us [the Polish].'