ISRAEL’S prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he understands the criticism of his compromise agreement with Poland over its disputed Holocaust speech law.

His remarks came on yesterday as he tried to calm an uproar at home in which critics have accused him of whitewashing history for political considerations.

Netanyahu and his Polish counterpart issued a joint statement last week praising Polish resistance to the Nazi occupation and distancing Poland from the Holocaust.

The move came after Poland agreed to scrap prison terms for those who criticise its wartime conduct.

The agreement was aimed at ending months of tension between the two generally friendly governments that was accompanied by a wave of anti-Semitic rhetoric in Poland. Instead, the compromise sparked outrage in Israel over Netanyahu’s seeming capitulation to the Polish narrative that they were only victims of the Nazis.

Historians say anti-Semitism was deeply rooted in Poland and that many Poles collaborated with the Nazis in the genocide.

In a rare rebuke of the Israeli government, the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial slammed the statement, saying it contained “highly problematic wording”.