A crisis triggered by the new Polish anti-defamation law has caused severe tensions between Jews and Poles, Anna Azari said, as cited by Poland’s onet.pl online news service.
But she indicated in an interview with onet.pl that the law, although it has generated negativity, has not harmed the fundamentals of Polish-Israeli relations.
She signalled that the bedrock of bilateral ties remained intact, onet.pl reported.
Polish-Israeli ties became strained when the Polish parliament earlier this year passed legislation that could see a jail term imposed on anyone who accuses Poland of being complicit in Nazi German crimes during World War II.
Azari told onet.pl that opinions expressed in the Israeli press amid the spat have varied, “some being good, others being bad.”
But overall “the crisis has unleashed demons, and not only in Poland,” Azari said.
“We need to work to reduce anti-Semitism, but work is also needed for there to be less anti-Polish sentiment,” she said.
“Anti-Polonism occurs not only in Israel, but also in Jewish circles outside Israel,” she said, as quoted by onet.pl.
Ties built by people, not laws
When asked about a new US law on monitoring compensation for Holocaust survivors, Azari said she was not sure whether "relations can at all be built through laws."
“Relations should be built between countries and peoples, not by means of laws,” she said, as quoted by onet.pl.
US President Donald Trump earlier this month signed the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act. Under the law, the US State Department will report to Congress on what steps countries in Europe have taken to compensate Holocaust survivors and their heirs for property seized under Nazi German occupation and communism.
Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz has said that the law, which was previously adopted by the US Senate and Congress, is unfair and "does not offer any legal instruments."
Azari also told onet.pl that her embassy was working with nongovernmental organisations in Poland to develop “cooperation between companies and people.”
She cited team-ups in sectors such as “innovation and start-up” where she said “Israel has something to show off,” onet.pl reported.
On June 13, a special "innovation train" will embark on a trip from Warsaw to the southern city of Kraków for almost three hours of debates and lectures on innovation in a joint project with Poland’s Ministry of Enterprise and Technology, Azari told onet.pl.
“Cooperation between Israeli and Polish IT companies is growing,” onet.pl quoted Azari as saying.