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Netanyahu on Eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day: 'Some Things Just Don't Change'

Councillor Aba M. Dunner, secretary general of the Conference of European Rabbis, looks over the vandalized synagogue in Finsbury Park, London on April 30, 2002. (AP Photo/Max Nash)

Wednesday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a reminder today that “preserving the memory of the Holocaust is more important today than ever for in this period of resurgent and sometimes violent anti-Semitism.”

The Israeli government received a study of anti-Semitism in 2015, which noted that the “most active antisemitic group at universities across the United States is ‘Students for Palestine,’ which is supported by government agencies, under the guise of advocacy associations.”

“This year was also marked in the US by high-level of antisemitism, both in the number of antisemitic incidents and in terms of severity. US antisemitic incidents included harassment, graffiti, desecrations and violence. US documented the highest number of antisemitic violent events in the world (the world’s largest Jewish community) and in it, New York is the city in which the highest number of attacks occurred.”

The Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism report said the flood of Syrian refugees into “is not an antisemitic threat by itself,” but has stoked “the activity of far right groups, contaminated with xenophobia and antisemitism.” If these parties increase their power in western countries as a result, the report says, “their racist ideology is a threat to Jewish communities worldwide.”

Netanyahu noted that Jewish communities around the world “are increasingly living in fear,” and anti-Semitism is directed both against individual Jews and “against the collective Jew, against the Jewish state.”

“Israel is targeted with the same slurs and the same libels that were leveled against the Jewish people since time immemorial,” he said. “Islamic extremists incorporate the most outrageous anti-Semitism into their murderous doctrines. We see this in Gaza; we see it in Raqqa; we see it in Tehran. And it’s not just Islamic extremists in the Middle East and Europe. Even respected Western opinion leaders have become afflicted with hatred for the Jewish people and the Jewish state.”

The prime minister noted the UN Human Rights Council’s obsession with condemning Israel “while across the region, Islamist militants brutalize entire populations, enslave and rape women, murder Christians and gays.”

“More than North Korea. More than Iran. More than Syria. More than all of them put together,” he said of the UN’s anti-Israel resolutions. “Some things just don’t change.”

“But one thing has changed. We have changed. The Jews have changed. We are no longer a stateless people endlessly searching for a safe haven. We are no longer a powerless people begging others to offer us protection. Today we are an independent and sovereign people in our own homeland. Today we can speak out against the voices of hatred and those seeking our destruction. Today we can protect ourselves and defend our freedom.”

But, Netanyahu asked, “Where is Europe? Where is the rest of civilization?”

“When a state like Iran and movements like Daesh and Hamas openly declare their goal of committing another Holocaust, we will not let it happen,” he said. “But Europe and the rest of the world must stand up together with us. Not for our sake — for theirs.”