US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday called for the world to stand up to Iran, drawing a parallel between the Islamic Republic and Nazi Germany.
Pence was speaking in Jerusalem during the World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem, where visiting dignitaries gathered to commemorate the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II and mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.
Like other global leaders who spoke, Pence said “we must stand together” against the rising anti-Semitism in many countries across the world.
“In that same spirit, we must also stand strong against the leading state purveyor of anti-Semitism. The one government in the world that denies the Holocaust as a matter of state policy and calls to wipe Israel off the map,” he said.
“The world must stand strong against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Speaking before Pence, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged action against “the tyrants of Tehran,” comparing what he considers the Iranian threat to the one that was posed by Nazi Germany.
He lamented that “we have yet to see a unified and resolute stance against the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet, a regime that openly seeks to develop nuclear weapons and annihilate the one and only Jewish state.
“I call on all governments to join the vital effort of confronting Iran,” Netanyahu said.
Israel fiercely opposed a 2015 deal between Iran and world powers that offered Tehran sanctions relief in return for curbs to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu applauded when US President Donald Trump in 2018 pulled out of the accord, and has pushed European powers to follow Washington’s lead.
In his speech Thursday, he said that Israel “salutes President Trump and Vice President Pence for confronting the tyrants of Tehran that subjugate their own people and threaten the peace and security of the entire world.”
In his speech, Pence said the Holocaust showed “what happens when the powerless cry for help and the powerful refuse to answer.” He recalled his visit last year to Auschwitz, where over a million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
“One cannot walk the grounds of Auschwitz without being overcome with emotion and grief. One cannot see the piles of shoes, the gas chambers, the crematoriums, the lone box car facing the gates of the camp… without asking, How could they?” he said.
The gathering in Jerusalem was not only to “remember the names and the faces and the promise of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust,” Pence said, but also to honor the Jews who survived and those who gave them assistance.
“We pay tribute to the memory of those non-Jewish heroes who saved countless lives. Those the people of Israel call the Righteous Among the Nations… in an age of fear, they showed courage,” he said.
He also hailed Israel as a testament to “the faith and resilience of the Jewish people,” noting its founding came after the Holocaust.
“I’m proud to say as vice president of the United States that the American people have been with you every step of the way since 1948. And so we will remain,” Pence said.
He said those at the ceremony were not only commemorating the Holocaust but also marking the “triumph of freedom… a people restored to their rightful place among the nations of the earth.”
Ending his remarks, Pence said in Hebrew, “May he who makes peace in heavens make peace among Israel as well.”
Pence, who arrived in Israel Thursday morning, is later set to meet Netanyahu alongside US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
During his short stay, the vice president is also expected to visit the Western Wall before taking off for DC on Thursday evening.