Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday berated the international community for showing indifference to the threat posed by Iran, comparing Tehran to the Nazi regime and implying that the world was not fulfilling its obligation to prevent a second Jewish holocaust.
“Even today when there is broad agreement that the Holocaust that took place should have been prevented, the world doesn’t feel any sense of urgency regarding a regime that calls for our annihilation, and even welcomes with open arms the man who represents it,” Netanyahu said, referring to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
“They all just clear their throats and greet [his] smiles with smiles of their own,” he said in comments released to the press for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Netanyahu added that Israel received “disproportionate” treatment, which “shows us that persecution of the Jews perpetuates 2,000 years of anti-Semitism.”
A statement issued by the office of President Shimon Peres struck a decidedly different note, calling on global citizenry to “not be satisfied by condemning the Holocaust but rather join our hearts and hands to ensure that we live in a world where another Holocaust is impossible.”
“The Holocaust is a great warning to us all,” the president wrote. “Forgetfulness is a menace, we must remember and remember to love and respect everyone no matter the color of their skin or the origin of their birth. Moses taught us that every human being was made in the image of the Lord; no one has the right to take that away. We have a duty to remember the past but also to improve the future; this is not just a memorial day but a call to us all to move ahead, never forgetting the past but never losing hope in the future.”
Earlier Monday, opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) spoke at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in southern Poland and vowed that Israel would continue to fight against racism and its consequences.
Speaking to a group that included nearly half of Israel’s parliament, marking the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp, Herzog said it was the Jewish state’s mission to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and combat injustice.
“In the name of the State of Israel, I declare that we will continue in every way our life’s mission — to learn and to teach the lesson, to improve the world with righteousness and justice, with benevolence and mercy,” he said.
Herzog led a group of 54 MKs from both sides of the aisle on a trip to Poland to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Israeli lawmakers were joined in Poland by dozens of Holocaust survivors, Israeli dignitaries and servicemembers, Polish parliamentarians, members of the United States Congress and the European Parliament. Later, the MKs and Polish MPs will hold a symbolic joint assembly in the nearby city of Krakow, Ynet reported.
“We came here in order to feel for a moment the corrupted air, to taste from the poisoned cup, to feel the pain. We stand here not as individuals, but rather as representatives of the nation which makes its way on an arduous and painful trek of remembrance, a trip to the depths of evil and to the foundations of Jewish and human existence,” Herzog said.