Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned at this evening’s Yad Vashem ceremony to mark Yom HaShoah that the civilized world has been “lulled into slumber on a bed of illusions” this many years after the Holocaust.
“In the years before World War II, the free world tried to appease the Nazi regime, to gain its trust, to curry its favor through gestures,” Netanyahu said at the Holocaust Memorial Day event. “There were those who warned that a compromising policy would only whet Hitler’s appetite, but these warnings were ignored due to the natural human desire for calm at all costs.”
The prime minister spokes of those who like to repeat the phrase “never again,” vowing that the Holocaust’s lessons have been learned.
“They declare: ‘We will not turn a blind eye to the expansion aspirations of a violent tyranny.’ They promise: ‘We will oppose evil things as soon as they begin.’ But as long as these announcements are not backed by practical actions – they are meaningless,” Netanyahu said.
“Did the world truly learn a lesson from the inconceivable universal and Jewish tragedy of last century? I wish I could tell you that the answer to this was positive.”
He warned that “just as the Nazis aspired to crush civilization and to establish a ‘master race’ as ruler of the world while annihilating the Jewish people, so too does Iran strive to gain control over the region and then spread further, with the explicit intent of obliterating the Jewish state.”
“Iran is advancing in two directions: The first is developing the ability to arm itself with nuclear weapons and accumulate a stockpile of ballistic missiles, and the second – exporting the Khomeinist revolution to many countries by heavily using terrorism and taking over large parts of the Middle East,” he continued. “Everything is out in the open – it is all taking place in broad daylight, in front of cameras. And yet, the blindness is immense. ”
Netanyahu solemnly noted the “determination and lessons that were acquired in blood seventy years ago are now dissipating, and the darkness and fog of denying reality are taking their place.”
“The bad deal that is being made with Iran demonstrates that the historic lesson has not been internalized,” he said. “Instead of demanding a significant dismantling of the Iranian nuclear program and conditioning the removal of the limitations imposed on it on the cessation of its aggression, the superpowers are leaving Iran with its nuclear capabilities, and even allowing it to expand them many times over regardless of its steps in the Middle East and around the world.”
Iran’s rulers “continue to encourage subversion and terrorism, and disseminate destruction and death” as the world sleeps.
“The powers turn a deaf ear to the crowds in Iran shouting: ‘Death to America; Death to Israel.’ They turn a blind eye to the scenes of execution of those who oppose the regime and members of minority populations. And they hold their peace in the face of the massive arming of terrorist organizations,” Netanyahu said. “At the most, they make a halfhearted statement for the record. ”
“We will not allow the State of Israel to be a passing episode in the history of our nation!”
The White House has not yet issued a statement on Yom HaShoah, which ends Thursday evening.
Earlier Wednesday, Netanyahu met with 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Avraham Niederhoper. He gave Niederhoper a copy of Rabbi Phil Chernofsky’s book And Every Single One Was Someone, which features one word — Jew, six million times.
“I keep it here to remember, not only to remember, but to prevent,” Netanyahu said. “What they did to you, they want to do to us. Today it is possible to fight; then it was not.”
(Photo: Israeli prime minister’s office)