By Caroline Glick—
Next Thursday is supposed to mark another diplomatic triumph for Israeli diplomacy. On January 23, the Fifth World Holocaust Forum will convene at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz death camp. According to Yad Vashem and the World Holocaust Forum, 45 heads of state will travel to Jerusalem for the conference as President Reuven Rivlin’s guests.
But unless something changes in the next few days, the event won’t be a diplomatic triumph. The conference, titled, “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Anti-Semitism,” will be mark the end of the golden era of Israeli diplomacy.
This isn’t the fault of the guests. They are an impressive lot. Along with Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prince Charles, French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier are scheduled to deliver remarks at the event.
The problem is with who won’t be at the event. Polish President Andrzej Duda announced last week that he will not be attending. Duda’s decision doesn’t owe to lack of interest. He made no effort to hide how it important he felt it would be to attend the conference. Indeed, as Israel Hayom reported this last week, Duda was so eager to come that he was willing to leave the World Economic Forum early to fly to Jerusalem just for the conference.
And it isn’t that Netanyahu didn’t want him to come. Netanyahu wants very much for Duda to come because Israel has a profound interest in Duda’s attendance.
Were Duda to participate in the event at Yad Vashem conference, his presence would mark the end of the two-year crisis in Polish-Israeli ties. The crisis was precipitated in January 2018 with the Polish parliament’s passage of a law that criminalized criticism of Polish collaboration with the Nazis during the Holocaust. Lawbreakers were subject to up to three years imprisonment. Continue Reading….