Polish-Jewish Activist Returns His Israeli Award

Polish-Jewish Activist Returns His Israeli Award in Protest of “The Constant Israeli Vilification of Poland”

Janusz Sujecki had been awarded a diploma, in 1998, by then-Israeli-Ambassador Yigal Antebi, for his tireless efforts in the conservation of Jewish cultural elements in Poland. Few weeks ago, Sujecki has chosen to reject and return the award, to current Israeli Ambassador Anna Azari. The anti-Polish attacks in Israel did not stop, however and Anna Azari is still the Israeli Ambassador to Poland. Janusz Sujecki returned his award, Poland should send Ms. Azari back to Israel now.

Sujecki thus explains his decision:

I object to the unprecedented, heinous calumnies, on the part of the State of Israel directed against Poland…a situation where Polonophobic hysteria has taken hold of Israel, where Poles are effectively being blamed for the Holocaust, where Israeli journalist Lahav Harkov deliberately writes-out the mendacious phrase “Polish death camps” multiple times on Twitter, and where the Israeli embassy issues an accusatory statement about “a wave of attacks of anti-Semitic origin” in the Polish media—which is an exact inversion of the truth. There is a “wave of attacks” taking place all right—but it is coming from Israel. And all this is combined with attempts at blackmail, by the United States, of the Republic of Poland.

I opted for this symbolic protest because of the scale and massive character of the anti-Polish attacks in Israel. I am not just talking about the prank of Yair Lapid. Poland was attacked by none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. Israeli Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, instructed schools to take the time to teach about the role that Poland (sic!) Played a role in killing Jews in the Holocaust. The Director of the Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, Efraim Zuroff, joined the active vilification of Poland and the Poles. The Knesset adopted a bill that unjustly accuses Poland of denying the Holocaust. The Israeli media writes about the cooperation of Poles with the Nazis and promulgates scurrilous remarks such as, “Poles were worse than Germans.” 

So who is fanning the flames of this conflict? The Mazovian Voivode forbade Polish protests at the Israeli embassy, ​​but the Israeli authorities did nothing to stop the anti-Polish hate-fest in Israel. The Republic of Poland and Polish society are still vilified on a scale that almost defies imagination.


According to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Polish fight against slander and the false term “Polish death camps” is equivalent to “denial of the Holocaust”. What could possibly be more absurd!

The Israeli side had been informed about the draft amendment, to the Act on the IPN, about a year and a half ago. So why is Israel now raising all kinds of questions (actually, fantastic, hysterical accusations) about the new Polish law?


The purpose of the new Polish law is crystal-clear: The Act of the Institute of National Remembrance is a necessity to interrupt the decades of lies about “Polish extermination camps” and the co-responsibility of the Polish nation for the Holocaust.

Israel portrays the law, of the Institute of National Remembrance, as “the possibility of punishment for the testimony of the Holocaust survivors”. Oh, really? Am I to understand that the Holocaust survivors will testify that there were Polish commanders of the death camps, and Polish crews and Polish guards on the towers? Only that would incur punishment. 

We also hear the line about the new law “stifling research on the Holocaust.” Let’s get serious. The Israeli authorities know perfectly well that academic research is specifically exempted from penalization by the new law. 

Then there is the bogeyman about the new law criminalizing discussion of Poles who collaborated with the Nazis. Yet the Israelis know perfectly well that the Act applies only to the accusation of the Polish nation as a whole, and not to individual cases. Nobody—least of all the Poles—tries to hide either the phenomenon of blackmail, which has been repeatedly described, or the cases of individual murders of Jews committed by Poles. In fact, there is extensive Polish historical literature on this subject.


In 1939, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt refused to accept 937 Jewish refugees, from the Third Reich, who were on board the ship St. Louis. The Jewish plea for compassion, addressed to him, fell on deaf ears. As a result, several hundred passengers of this ship, returned to Europe, and were later murdered in Auschwitz and Sobibór. Has the State of Israel ever issued a statement informing everybody that the USA is complicit in the Holocaust? 


I am a citizen of the Polish Republic of Jewish origin.  My identity is a synthesis of Polish and Jewish elements. It does not change the fact that I am and have always been a patriot of Poland, which is my homeland. I am shocked by the flow of anti-Polish hatred from Israel and the constant efforts to humiliate Poland. I was once proud of the diploma, handed to me by the Israeli ambassador, Yigal Antebi, back in 1998. Now, my only reminder of the award I have been compelled to return, because of Israeli misconduct against Poland, is the trace on the wall where the award long had hung—and an emptiness within.   

Janusz Simcha Sujecki

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