The leader of the Israeli regime, Benjamin Netanyahu has criticised proposals for a new law in Poland that would prohibit accusations that Poland was in any way complicit in the Holocaust of the 1930s and 40s. This law is linked to a previous one where Warsaw law makers prohibited the use of the phrase “Polish death camp” to denote the locations where enemies of the Hitler Reich were detained and killed.
While certainly not a supporter of the current Polish government, in this instance, Poland has every right to defend its national honour and integrity against accusations that it did something that in fact another nation did. It beggars belief that Tel Aviv is accusing Poland of “rewriting history” when in fact Poland is simply trying to keep its historical dignity from being slandered by false accusations.
The Polish Prime Minister explained the position of the majority of Poles in the following Tweet
Auschwitz is the most bitter lesson on how evil ideologies can lead to hell on earth. Jews, Poles, and all victims should be guardians of the memory of all who were murdered by German Nazis. Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a Polish name, and Arbeit Macht Frei is not a Polish phrase.
— Mateusz Morawiecki (@MorawieckiM) January 27, 2018
When Poland itself was occupied by the fascist Hitler Reich, how could it be conceivable to blame Poland for that which an occupying power did on its soil? The answer is that such thinking is unconscionable and this is why it should surprise no one that the most unconscionable leader in the world today, Benjamin Netanyahu has adopted such a position.
Polish Deputy Justice Minister Patryk Jaki slammed “Israel” directly, saying,
“Important Israeli politicians and media are attacking us for the bill. On top of that they claim that Poles are co-responsible’ for the Holocaust. This is proof how necessary this bill is”.
While Poland is inherently justified in wanting to protect itself from the blame that is accurately put at the feet of others, there is a subtext to the entire scandal that is being roundly ignored. After the Second World War, it was mainly Jewish advocacy groups and later the regime in Tel Aviv, that lobbied for laws which prohibited the promotion of pro-Nazi materials and later, for laws which prohibited the denial of the Holocaust of the 1930s and 40s. The thought process behind these laws was that speaking in a heterodox and offensive manner about historic events was itself tantamount to a crime.
Today, Poland is doing the same thing. The leaders in Warsaw are attempting to prohibit historically heterodox and offensive things from being said about the Polish state and the Polish people and yet it is “Israel” of all countries that is objecting, in spite of the fact that it was the founders of “Israel” who helped promulgate the notion of laws prohibiting the kind of offensive speech that Poland now seeks to prohibit.
Using an example that is less politically fraught, if the scientific community lobbied to ban accusations that there is a conspiracy among mainstream scientists to cover up the alleged flat nature of the earth, as has become popular in certain social media circles, that too would be an example of a community banding together to ban speech suggesting a heterodox view of received fact–speech which itself is ostensibly offensive to professional scientists.
When it comes to the outlawing of heterodox interpretations of received fact, one must immediately forfeit a claim to the libertarian notion of free speech absolutism. Furthermore, if one takes this step, one must be consistent in one’s embrace of such laws. If one bans offensive discussions on the Holocaust of the 1930s and 40s, and offensive discussions on the position of Poland during this period, one must also ban discussions which offensively deny the role of the Soviet Union in liberating Europe, including Poland and the Jews of Europe from Nazi occupation and subjugation.
From American history books which deny the Soviet Union’s role in winning the Great Patriotic War (Second World War) to Eastern European politicians who deny the Soviet Union’s role in winning the war and ending Nazi occupation, the Soviet Union is slandered by heterodox amateur historians and offensive politicians more frequently than any other state or group.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander and in this case, if a full libertarian view on free speech is deemed to be undesirable, then everyone is soon going to have to enforce such censorship laws equally. Right now “Israel” clearly has the upper hand, while even more than Poland, the heirs to the Soviet legacy are the victims of the utmost discrimination.
The other solution is to simply allow an absolutist interpretation of free speech so that everyone can state their own view, thus exposing the fact that mainstream interpretations of history tend to remain pervasive throughout most countries of Europe and beyond.