WASHINGTON — During a ceremony to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in the US Congress, Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren argued Thursday that Iran is a modern-day threat to the Jewish people similar to the Nazi menace.
“[Iran] denies the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis while pledging to murder another six million – in Israel,” he said.
The ambassador compared the global conditions that gave rise to Nazi Germany to today’s economic crisis, unemployment and limited appetite for war.
“Eighty years ago, the world was scarcely in the mood for confrontation. People were weary from the devastating losses of a recent war. Economies were in crisis. Unemployment was high, foreclosures commonplace. People were focusing inward, grappling with their own problems. Meanwhile, a radical militant movement dreamt of regional and global domination.
Headed by a Supreme Leader, the movement burnt books and crushed its democratic opponents. It amassed vast arsenals of advanced weaponry and invaded neighboring countries. The radicals played on their nation’s injured pride and stressed its racial superiority. The movement denigrated the Jewish people as a cancer that had to be cut out.
Today, too, there is such a radical regime—in Iran. It also has a Supreme Leader. It also butchers its democratic opponents, supports terror, and seeks regional and global hegemony.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also invoked Iran when speaking at Israel’s Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, on April 18. But in an interview with the Israeli daily Globes, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel rejected a comparison of the two situations.
“”Iran is a danger, but to claim that it is creating a second Auschwitz? I compare nothing to the Holocaust,” the 83 year-old author and survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald told the paper.
The ceremony on Capitol Hill, which drew nearly 400 people, was held in the Congressional rotunda and included Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), foreign diplomats, officials from Jewish organizations, and Holocaust survivors.
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner represented the White House at the event. President Barack Obama plans to commemorate the Holocaust in a scheduled address to the US Holocaust Museum on April 23.
The Museum is marking this year’s ‘National Days of Remembrance’ with an exhibit titled, ‘Choosing to Act – Stories of Rescue,’ honoring examples of European communities who opted to collectively take great risks to rescue Jews during the Holocaust.