Polish Senate backs controversial Holocaust speech law

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Poland's Senate has backed legislation regulating Holocaust speech that has sparked a diplomatic dispute with Israel and calls from the United States for a reconsideration of a bill seen as threatening freedom of speech.

The bill proposed by Poland's ruling conservative party calls for up to three years in prison for any intentional attempt to falsely attribute the crimes of Nazi Germany to the Polish state or people. It exempts artistic and research work.

Saying the bill defends Poland's good name, the senators voted early Thursday 57-23 to back the bill with two abstentions.

To become law, the bill requires approval from the president, who supports it.

Israel sees the move as an attempt to whitewash the role some Poles played in the killing of Jews during World War II.