U.S. Senator Bob Menendez attacks Poland at the AIPAC conference

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee delivered a speech at the 2018 AIPAC Policy Conference on March 6, 2018, addressing among others Poland. The Senator, whose political career was recently on the brink of a potentially career-ending crisis due to a trial for corruption charges and hiring underage foreign prostitutes, expressed the following opinion about our country:

“Last month we watched with horror as Poland passed a law criminalizing the act of acknowledging that Poles had a role collaborating with the German Third Reich. This is a gross attempt to rewrite history, one that risks denying the past, the suffering of millions, and stoking anti-Semitic hatred.” 

It is obvious that the Senator didn’t make himself familiar with the amended Polish bill and he has no knowledge of Polish history, but he had the gall to say that Poland rewrites history and denies her past and the suffering of millions.

Mr. Senator, we condemn in the strongest terms your offensive and unfounded claims. Your voters watched with horror how you once again wriggled your way out of political trouble after the federal corruption charges against you were unexpectedly dismissed on January 31, 2018.

Devlin Barrett from Washington Post reported: “The move to dismiss charges is a complete reversal from the position taken by prosecutors just two weeks earlier, when they filed notice to the court they intended to keep pursuing the case after the first trial ended in a hung jury.”

Robert Mintz, a New Jersey lawyer, and former federal prosecutor commented the decision of the Department of Justice in this way:This case has been on a long, winding road, and this is a surprising end … It’s certainly a major setback for the Department of Justice, given the high-profile nature of this case.’’ 

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. But unfortunately, you do.

We are disgusted by your misinterpretation of Polish law and your unjustified allegations. We ask you to refrain from further attacks and suggest that you read the Polish bill (attached to the bottom) before you comment on issues you are not familiar with. We draw your attention to the following facts:

  • The Polish law doesn’t penalize anybody for criticizing the isolated cases of collaboration with Nazi Germans (according to the Israeli War Crimes Commission 0.1% of Poles collaborated, 99.9% DID NOT!).
  • The bill penalizes those, who publicly and contrary to the facts attribute to the Polish Nation or to the Polish State (not to individuals) responsibility or co-responsibility for the Nazi crimes committed by the German Third Reich.
  • Poland doesn’t rewrite history – nobody denies, that there were Poles who collaborated, similarly as there were Jews who collaborated (Jewish police, Kapos, Group 13 etc.).
  • The WWII history should be subject of historical research and not of politics, especially if the politicians like you have a very limited historical knowledge.
  • Poland was not responsible for “suffering of millions, and stoking anti-Semitic hatred”  – it was Germany which invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, which imposed reign of terror and which is responsible for the suffering of millions. Poland never surrendered. There never was a collaborationist Polish Government. Polish armies fought on every front in Europe, including alongside American soldiers at Normandy. No other country did more to rescue Jews, even though in contrast to other countries, in occupied Poland, providing refuge to Jews was punishable by death to the whole family.
  • The anti-Semitism in Poland is much lower than in other countries, including the United States.

Excerpt from the Act of 26 January 2018 amending the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, the Act on war graves and cemeteries, the Act on museums and the Act on the responsibility of collective entities for acts prohibited under penalty:

“Art. 55a. 1. Whoever publicly and contrary to the facts attributes to the Polish Nation or to the Polish State responsibility or co-responsibility for the Nazi crimes committed by the German Third Reich, as specified in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal – Annex to the Agreement for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis, executed in London on 8 August 1945 (Journal of Laws of 1947, item 367), or for any other offences constituting crimes against peace, humanity or war crimes, or otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the actual perpetrators of these crimes, shall be liable to a fine or deprivation of liberty for up to 3 years. The judgment shall be communicated to the public.
2. If the perpetrator of the act specified in section 1 above acts unintentionally, they shall be liable to a fine or restriction of liberty.
3. An offence is not committed if the perpetrator of a prohibited act set out in sections 1 and 2 above acted within the framework of artistic or scientific activity.
Art. 55b. Irrespective of the law applicable at the place of commission of the prohibited act, this Act shall be applicable to a Polish citizen as well as a foreigner in the event of commission of the offences set out in art. 55 and art. 55a.”