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Alex Sobel calls on UK Foreign Secretary to denounce Poland Holocaust law

Date: 18.04.18 | in: European Union, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Society

I have delivered a letter to the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, calling on him to denounce the Polish government’s ‘anti-defamation’ laws relating to anti-Semitism. Sixty-four Parliamentary colleagues put their name to the letter.

I called for the action to be taken as part of a wider campaign to combat the spread of anti-Semitism both domestically and internationally.

The letter, which was signed by MP’s from across the House of Commons, states that this law “pose[s] a threat to the historical record of the Holocaust,” and called for the Foreign Secretary to “uphold the truth of the history of the Holocaust.”

This new legislation, passed in March, outlawed any reference to Polish complicity or involvement in the Final Solution during the Second World War. It was heavily protested within the country and censured by the European Union. It symbolises the worrying growth of illiberal authoritarianism in Central Europe, as the anti-Semitic undertones of the recent Hungarian election also illustrate.

On the morning of April 18th, I intervened in a Westminster Hall debate on the Council of Europe to make Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Europe, aware of my concerns. I said:

“Yesterday I wrote to the Foreign Secretary about the proposed Polish Holocaust Law, a law which actually revised history, a law which is clearly anti-Semitic. Does he agree with me that this needs to be raised in the Council of Europe with the Polish Government, and also the issues with the Hungarian government around anti-Semitic tropes in their recent election?”

The history of the Holocaust is complex, and its legacy still deeply felt across the world and especially in the Jewish community. Repressive laws such as these represent a deeply concerning and dangerous attempt to re-write history and should be strongly condemned and opposed by the British Government.

I hope to post my response from the Foreign Secretary and, in due course, to secure a full Parliamentary debate.

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