Netanyahu Asks If ‘World Learned the Lessons of the Holocaust’ in Yad Vashem Speech

January 23, 2020
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – JANUARY 21: Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to supporters at a Likud Party campaign rally on January 21, 2020 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel to hold third election in less than a year after politicans faild to form a coalition. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked if the world has “learned the lessons of the Holocaust” during his Jan. 23 speech at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.

Speaking at the fifth annual World Holocaust Forum 2020 — Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Anti-Semitism, which has drawn leaders and dignitaries from all over the world, Netanyahu contrasted Auschwitz as a symbol of enslavement and genocide, while Jerusalem is a beacon of hope and freedom.

“For the Jewish people, Auschwitz is more than the ultimate symbol of evil,” Netanyahu said. “It is also the ultimate symbol of Jewish powerlessness. It is the culmination of what can happen when our people have no voice, no land, no shield.”

Netanyahu pointed out that too many in the world ignored the plight of the Jewish people during the Holocaust.

“Has the world learned the lessons of the Holocaust?” he asked. “There are some signs of hope — and this extraordinary gathering is one of them. Today, the dangers of racism, hateful ideologies, and anti-Semitism are better understood. Many recognize a simple truth: that what starts with the hatred of the Jews doesn’t end with the Jews.”

However, Iran has given Netanyahu reason to reflect on if the world has learned its lesson from the Holocaust.

“I am concerned 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,” Netanyahu said. “Israel salutes President [Donald] Trump and Vice President [Mike] Pence for confronting the tyrants of Tehran that subjugate their own people, and threaten the peace and security of the entire world.”

Netanyahu concluded his speech with the declaration that Israel will ensure that “never again” is more than just words.

“We will continue our marvelous journey of the revival of our people that emerged from the valley of dry bones,” Netanyahu said. “From bones to independence, and from independence to strength, from Auschwitz to Jerusalem, from darkness to light. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.’ ”

Other speakers at Yad Vashem on Jan. 23 included Pence and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Steinmeier warned that Germany hasn’t learned its lesson from the Holocaust.

“I wish I could say that we Germans have learned from history once and for all. But I cannot say that when hatred is spreading,” Steinmeier said. “I cannot say that when Jewish children are spat on in the schoolyard. I cannot say that when crude anti-Semitism is cloaked in supposed criticism of Israeli policy. I cannot say that when only a thick wooden door prevents a right-wing terrorist from causing a bloodbath in a synagogue in the city of Halle on Yom Kippur.”

Quotes courtesy Times of Israel transcript

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