July 20, 2019

Anatomy of a Crisis

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Israeli reporters in a closed door meeting in Warsaw’s Museum of the History of Polish Jews, located on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto. Reporters were not allowed to tape the briefing.

Netanyahu said that “Poles cooperated with the Nazis” to kill Jews during the Holocaust. Journalists mistakenly expanded on his comments, adding in the word “The Poles” and then paraphrasing – as The Jerusalem Post did – to include the Polish nation.

Poland is sensitive about culpability for Jewish deaths in the Holocaust and has a law prohibiting statements that hold the Polish nation responsible for the killing of Jews in World War II.

In the pre-dawn hours of Friday, before Netanyahu took off from Warsaw, the Prime Minister’s Office played reporters a section of its tape from the briefing to clarify Netanyahu’s comments. Media reports were adjusted accordingly. In Warsaw later that morning, the Polish Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s Ambassador to clarify Netanyahu’s comments.”

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