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Netanyahu’s dance with anti-Semitism

A comment on anti-Semitism in Poland by acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz has inadvertently exposed the hypocrisy of Israel’s right-wing government.
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The description by acting Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz of Poles as a species of anti-Semitic mammals is unlikely to be studied in the Foreign Ministry’s training programs as a model of diplomatic conduct. One might have expected a seasoned politician eyeing the premiership to express himself more carefully when asked about anti-Semitism in Poland than to cite, as Katz did, the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s comment that Poles “suckled anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk.”

Katz, appointed Feb. 17, thus flunked his first diplomatic test — handling a crisis with Warsaw stemming from the alleged misreporting of a statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, about Polish participation in the Holocaust, that caused offense. In doing so, he played into the hands of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who is running for re-election and courting nationalist voters. Katz’s comment in an interview exacerbated the crisis and led to the last-minute scrapping of the Visegrad summit of central European leaders that had been scheduled to take place in Jerusalem Feb. 19.

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