Israel's Foreign Minister refused to apologise on Monday for his comment that the Poles cooperated with the Nazis during World War Two, Arab21.com has reported. Yisrael Katz also said that the people of Poland "suck anti-Semitism with their mothers' milk."
Speaking to Israel Radio, Katz attempted to reduce the tension with Poland by saying that the Polish government has a deep cooperation policy with the state of Israel. "Poland stood firmly beside the US, the Israeli Prime Minister and states in the Middle East who see Iran a strategic threat for regional and global peace," he added, in reference to the recent Warsaw Conference. However, he refused to apologise for his comments. "I have never spoken about all the Poles… I have nothing to add to the clarifications made by Benjamin Netanyahu who represents Israeli policy."
Prime Minister Netanyahu had claimed that the Poles were involved in liquidating Jews during the war. The Polish government was told by Netanyahu's office that his remarks were misquoted.
In response to the claims, Poland withdrew from a European summit planned to take place in Jerusalem last week. The comments not only upset Polish politicians but also Polish-Israeli Jews.
Jonathan Ornstein, head of the Jewish Community Centre in Krakow, used Facebook to call on Katz to apologise or resign, the New York Times reported. "As a proud Israeli and Polish citizen, I feel that Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz should apologise or resign after his offensive, xenophobic remarks about Poland. On his first day in office, no less. Truly Shameful."