Visegrad summit collapses after Israeli minister says Poles collaborated with the Nazis

Visegrad summit collapses after Israeli minister says Poles collaborated with the Nazis

A summit of European states due to be held in Israel has collapsed amid an escalating row over Israeli comments alleging Polish participation in the Holocaust.

The diplomatic row between the two countries had been escalating since Friday, when Israeli media reported remarks by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, suggesting Polish complicity in the Holocaust.

On Monday, Yisrael Katz, the Israeli foreign minister, resurrected an old quote from Yitzak Shamir, a former Israeli prime minister and Holocaust survivor, by saying “Poles suckle anti-Semitism from their mother’s milk.”

In response, Warsaw pulled out of the meeting, which was due to take place on Tuesday between the four Visegrad countries – Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary – marking a new low in relations between Poland and Israel.  

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, branded the remarks “racist and unacceptable”. He had previously said he would not join the summit, sending instead a lower-level delegation, but said on Monday that no Polish officials would now attend.

“Not only can we not accept such racist comments, but with all our strength we want to stress that we will fight for historical truth, for the honour of Poles,” he told reporters.

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