Israel Cancels Euro-Israel V4 Summit for Polish Pull Out in Protest at Racist Comments

Published February 18th, 2019 - 02:13 GMT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AFP/ File Photo)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AFP/ File Photo)

Poland officially canceled the visit of its foreign minister to Israel, leading to the cancellation of a Europe-Israel summit, after acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that "Poles suckle antisemitism from their mothers' milk." The Polish foreign minister was supposed to travel to Israel on Monday to participate in a meeting of the 'Visegrad Group'.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki branded Katz's remarks as "racist and unacceptable." Poland's ambassador to Israel also slammed the Israeli leader, saying on Twitter: "It is really astonishing that the newly appointed foreign minister of Israel quotes such a shameful and racist remark. Utterly unacceptable."

Poland’s decision not to take part in the summit in Jerusalem on Tuesday together with Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia means that the meetings to be held Tuesday between the heads of the other three governments and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be bilateral meetings, and not under the rubric of the Visegrad Group, a Foreign Ministry spokesman explained.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday that there would not be a meeting of the V4 in Israel.

"There will be no full V4 meeting," said Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, in a text message. "Three PMs are arriving will hold meetings with (Israel's) PM."

Katz had appeared on i24 News channel to discuss the Warsaw conference and the diplomatic fallout from Netanyahu's comments on Poles and the Holocaust. He downplayed the suggestion that Israel-Polish relations were in crisis, pointing out that Netanyahu expressed himself clearly on the issue.

He continued, "That's what Yitzhak Shamir said [of the Poles who murdered his father]: 'the Poles suckle antisemitism from their mothers' milk.' No one will tell us how to remember the fallen."

Yesh Atid Party chairman Yair Lapid also waded into the controversy.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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