President Obama marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a statement vowing to stand in the way of anyone who commits crimes against humanity.
Auschwitz was liberated 68 years ago today.
“On January 27th, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we honor the memories of the 6 million Jews and millions of other innocent victims whose lives were tragically taken during the Holocaust over sixty years ago. Those who experienced the horrors of the cattle cars, ghettos, and concentration camps have witnessed humanity at its very worst and know too well the pain of losing loved ones to senseless violence,” Obama said.
“But while this is a time for mourning and reflection, it is also the time for action. On this day, we recall the courage, spirit, and determination of those who heroically resisted the Nazis, exemplifying the very best of humanity. And like these courageous individuals, we must commit ourselves to resisting hate and persecution in all its forms. The United States, along with the international community, resolves to stand in the way of any tyrant or dictator who commits crimes against humanity, and stay true to the principle of ‘Never Again.’”
Bashar al-Assad has killed tens of thousands of civilians in Syria with impunity, and activists have also accused Obama of paying little attention to crimes against humanity in Sudan over his first term.
Conversely, in 2011 a Spanish lawyer led an effort to get Obama tried for crimes against humanity for ordering the assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
“By remaining vigilant against those who seek to perpetrate violence and murder, we honor those we lost during one of the darkest periods in human history,” Obama concluded. “And we keep their memory alive for generations to come.”
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a solemn reminder that in the decades since Auschwitz, “what has not changed is the desire to annihilate the Jews.”
“Anti-Semitism has not disappeared and – to our regret – neither has the desire to destroy a considerable part of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. They exist and they are strong,” Netanyahu said. “Holocaust-denial is being spread by one of the world’s major countries, not by a group or by individual countries or by marginal elements, but by Iran which, today, from the UN or any other platform, is the leader of Holocaust-denial while preparing for what they deem to be another Holocaust – the destruction of the state of the Jews.”