Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council and Poland’s former prime minister, said in a press conference that the situation in Warsaw regarding anti-Semitism is “very serious,” and urged the ruling party to fix it.

Donald Tusk

Donald Tusk Photo credit: Flickr

European Council President Donald Tusk denounced on Friday the “anti-Semitic remarks” that have been made in Poland following the adoption of the controversial Holocaust bill.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Tusk, Poland’s former prime minister, said talks he had recently held with other European leaders have indicated that the situation in Warsaw regarding anti-Semitism is “very serious.”

He also said he had explained the situation to the current prime minister, Mateusz Morawieck of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party. “This directly affects Poland’s interests, its reputation and its status in the world,” Tusk said, adding that Morawieck seemed to understand this.

“We’ve all worked hard in the last 30 years on maintaining good relations with the rest of the world, including Israel and the Jewish community,” Tusk said. “We cannot allow for anyone to destroy all of that it in a few weeks.”

Tensions have been high between Poland and Israel since last month’s adoption of a bill that criminalizes statements regarding Poland’s role in the Holocaust.

Last week, when asked by an Israeli journalist in Munich whether the new law would make him a criminal in Poland for telling the story of his mother, an Auschwitz survivor, Morawieck said there were not only “Polish perpetrators” assisting the Nazis but also “Jewish perpetrators,” sparking further outrage in Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Morawieck in a phone conversation that the comparison he had made was “false and completely baseless,” arguing that Jews who collaborated with the Nazis did it out of fear for their lives, while other peoples did not face the threat of extermination.