PM's office to hold anti-defamation talks on Monday

A meeting devoted to undertakings aimed at protecting Poland's good name will take place on Monday at the Prime Minister's Office, the office's head Michal Dworczyk told the public TVP Info news channel on Sunday.

Dworczyk said the meeting, to be attended by government officials and parlamentarians, will focus on  steps aimed at protecting Poland's good name. He added that discussed among others will be changes in Polish Institutes abroad, and other undertakings on the international arena.

Dworczyk said a meeting between a representative of the Polish prime minister and the Israeli ambassador to Poland could also take place on Monday.

The meeting is connected with a recently-passed anti-defamation bill, which has been heftily protested by Israel.

The Polish Sejm (lower house) on Friday passed an anti-defamation bill tightening penalties for the public use of the historically inaccurate term "Polish death camps". Under the new laws, use of the term will warrant a three-year prison term. The law also enables the prosecution of statements negating crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists. The laws will apply to Polish citizens and foreigners "regardless of the rules in force at the place where the act was committed." It would not be a crime to commit these acts "as part of artistic or academic activity."

On Saturday, Israeli Ambassador to Poland Anna Azari appealed for changes in the new regulations, noting that Israel feared they would prevent speaking the truth about the Holocaust. Azari stressed that the laws evoked high emotions in Israel and were rejected by the Israeli government.

On Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he awaited changes in the anti-defamation bill, which in his opinion negated the Holocaust. Netanyahu said Israel will not tolerate rewriting history. 

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