Holocaust commemoration organizer rejects claim event is politicized

World Holocaust Forum president Moshe Kantor dismisses claims that the event has become politicized, saying: “It’s not a political gathering. Our main goal is to use the platform of Holocaust commemoration to raise the issue about the crisis of anti-Semitism. And we have done that.”

Asked to respond to Polish President Duda’s decision not to attend the event after he was refused the opportunity to speak, Kantor says, “We tried to create a wide platform for everybody to come here and be united against that evil. It’s a shame that Poland is not part of that.”

Kantor says Duda was offered to be the first speaker at the state dinner held last night at the president’s house but “unfortunately” turned it down. Poland has denied the claim.

Yad Vashem’s Avner Shalev says there was no political message in the decision to have Russian President Vladimir Putin address the memorial event and not Duda.

“Long before the dispute between Russia and Poland started their dispute, we planned this event and felt that it was appropriate that the representatives of the Allies spoke,” Shalev says.

He says that he feels Duda “got the wrong interpretation of the goals of this meeting,” adding that he “hasn’t seen any sign that Putin is going to use the speech to attack any other country.”

In addition to Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, French President Macron, US Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Britain’s Prince Charles and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will address the gathering.

— Raoul Wootliff

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