The United States has concerns over a proposed bill in Poland that would regulate Holocaust speech, a State Department spokeswoman announced Wednesday, and is urging the country to scrap it.
Poland's conservative ruling party, the Law and Justice Party, wrote the bill, which calls for up to three years in prison for a person who falsely attributes the crimes committed by Nazi Germany to Poland or Polish people. The party says it's trying to push back against the use of terms like "Polish death camps," rather than "Nazi death camps," to refer to the concentration camps the Nazis built in occupied Poland during World War II, but Israel disagrees with this, and believes it's a way for the country to distance itself from the role some Poles played in the Holocaust, The Associated Press reports.
A bipartisan U.S. congressional task force working to fight anti-Semitism said it was "alarmed" by the legislation, which "could have a chilling effect on dialogue, scholarship, and accountability in Poland about the Holocaust." State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. is worried the legislation, if passed, could cause "divisions" between Poland and the U.S. and Israel, which would "benefit only our rivals." The bill is heading to the Polish Senate for a vote, and President Andrzej Duda has said he will likely sign it.