Visegrad summit cancelled due to Israeli FM's 'racist' remark

In Poland's absence, the three remaining prime ministers will still visit Israel for biliteral talks

Photo: EPA Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis announced that a planned Visegrad group summit in Israel was cancelled following Poland pulling out at the last minute over a bitter new Holocaust spat between Warsaw and Jerusalem. Yet, the PMs of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia will still attend, and will hold meetings with Netanyahu.

Later on, Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon confirmed the cancellation of the summit.

"There will be no full V4 meeting (it requires the presence of all four). Three PMs are arriving and will hold meetings with PM," he said in a statement.

The cancellation comes after Poland's PM Mateusz Morawiecki announced earlier today that his country would not be sending a delegation to a meeting in Jerusalem, because of the "unacceptable" and "racist" remarks made by the acting Israeli foreign minister Yisrael Katz, who claimed that Poles and "sucked anti-Semitism from their mothers' milk." That had followed a comment by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a week earlier, who said Poles "collaborated with the Nazis." 

"Such words are unacceptable, not only in diplomacy, but also in the public sphere. The Poles suffered the most alongside Jews and Roms," Morawiecki tweeted on Monday after announcing the pullout.

Meanwhile, the Israeli ambassador to Poland was summoned for consultation in Warsaw for the second time this week, while a Polish official told ynet the Polish government was even considering recalling their ambassador to Israel.

The developments mark a new low in a bitter conflict over how to remember and characterise Polish actions toward Jews during the German occupation of Poland in World War II.

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