A law that makes it a criminal offense to accuse the Polish nation of perpetrating crimes committed by Nazi Germany came into effect Thursday amid protests from Israel. Polish authorities insist the law is intended to protect the country’s international reputation and will only be used against people who speak “against the facts” in placing blame for the Holocaust on Poland. Israel and the U.S. have criticized the move out of fear it will undermine free speech and that its true intention may to be suppress research into Poles who killed Jews during World War II. When the law was initially passed last month, the Israeli foreign ministry tweeted: “Israel views with utmost gravity any attempt to challenge historical truth. No law will change the facts.” As the law came into effect Thursday, Polish and Israeli officials were meeting in Jerusalem in an attempt to resolve the standoff. Breaking the law could result in prison sentences as long as three years.
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