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Educate, Legislate, Enforce: Full Text of Moshe Kantor’s Holocaust Forum Speech: Times of Israel, Jan. 23, 2020
Educate, Legislate, Enforce: Full Text of Moshe Kantor’s Holocaust Forum Speech
Times of Israel, Jan. 23, 2020The following is the full text of President of the World Holocaust Forum and the European Jewish Congress Dr. Moshe Kantor’s speech to the Forum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, January 23, 2020.I would like to begin by expressing my deepest gratitude to President Rivlin, who two years ago strongly supported the idea to lead the fifth World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, under the special partnership of Yad Vashem and European Jewish congress.I would like to address here today three points:
Why is antisemitism a threat to humanity and not only for the Jewish people?
What is the situation today of antisemitism and especially for European Jews?
What are the practical steps that must be taken to stop this threat?
When granting equal rights to the [Jews] of France, Napoleon Bonaparte said “the national attitude towards Jews is the barometer of society’s civilization”.
And why is that?
Historically, Jews were always among the most loyal citizens of their countries, and did their best to integrate and to become pillars of society in all walks of life. And so, for all those who wanted to dismantle the fabric of society, extremists from both right and left, the Jews were a symbol of society’s foundations. Rejection of the Jews was a rejection of the world order. They were always the first target, but by no means the last. The Nazis erased one third of the Jewish people, 6 million, but in total, more than 60 million people were killed during the Second World War, and the world just stopped at the gates of destruction. If extremists are not stopped at the gates of antisemitism, they will eventually take over executive power in their states.
And what is the situation today?
Who could imagine that just 75 years after the Holocaust, Jews would again be afraid to walk the streets of Europe wearing Jewish symbols?
As president of the European Jewish Congress, I can only offer you a picture of communities hiding behind high fences and thick security doors. More than 80% of them feel unsafe in Europe today, while more than 40% are considering leaving Europe entirely and in recent years 3% have done so annually. If we think about this figure for a moment, it means that at this rate in only 30 years there could be no Jews in Europe.
What must be done?
Firstly, we must educate – about the Holocaust and about the dangers of antisemitism, racism and xenophobia. and particularly from an early age.
Secondly, we must introduce meaningful legislation and thirdly fully enforce it. In this regard, there is so much that we can learn from one another. For example: Germany adopted a law, two years ago, against online hate speech, addressing one of the most powerful platforms for antisemitism and racism today – the internet. The United States has recently addressed the growing antisemitism on university campuses, with an executive order which permits restricting of federal funds for universities that do not combat antisemitism. France passed legislation against boycotts of people and products based on nationality, addressing the new type of antisemitism which targets the Jewish state. A few weeks ago, they passed a resolution acknowledging that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism! Great Britain is a model of how to effectively respond to antisemitism. It created a taskforce, combined of law enforcement agencies, legal institutions and civil society organizations, to effectively coordinate and act against antisemitism. And Russia where we find maybe the lowest rates of antisemitism due to a very uncompromising, long term policy towards antisemitism. And antisemitic incidents are treated with maximum severity. Therefore, practically eliminating antisemitism in the public arena.
These 5 positive examples of strong leadership should be common all over Europe and the world.
In conclusion, we have to equate legally and practically the words and actions of anti-Semitism to the words and actions of extremism and terrorism. Otherwise it will be too late when extremism takes over executive power, country by country, which means your power and our mutual future. We are together today, united in our words and in our belief for a future free from antisemitism, racism and xenophobia. Together we will plant the seeds of trust and belief so that our daily prayers for salvation will be answered.
I thank each and every one of you for being here and for your dedication, belief and commitment.
More than 45 leaders from around the world are scheduled to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem on January 23, 2020. The event, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and titled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism” is the brainchild of Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation and President of the European Jewish Congress, who organized it in conjunction with Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, and at the invitation of President Reuven Rivlin.
The message of the historic event being held at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square “will be clear – that antisemitism has no place in our global society,” Kantor tells The Jerusalem Report in an exclusive interview.
“On January 23, world leaders will meet in Jerusalem to attempt to put an end to the never-ending story of antisemitism. We are very enthusiastic about it. I am grateful first of all to President Rivlin, who agreed to lead this event, and to the leadership of Yad Vashem, which is hosting it.”
Kantor, 66, who lives with his wife, Anna, in London and has four sons and a daughter, has served at the helm of the European Jewish Congress since 2007, reelected most recently in 2016. His battle against antisemitism has won him numerous awards from European heads of state, including the French Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honor (2014) and the Italian Knight’s Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (2013).
“The pledge ‘to remember and never forget’ should be a pledge for all of humanity, and not just for the Jewish people,” Kantor says. “Jewish life is once again under threat in Europe. It is under threat from the day-to-day harassment and attacks on the streets, in schools, at universities, online and even in their own homes. It has become so bad that the overwhelming majority of Jews in Europe no longer feel safe. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK– Ed.]
World leaders gathered in Jerusalem on Thursday to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust and vowing to confront current manifestations of anti-Semitism. Addressing the World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem were representatives of the Allied powers that defeated Nazi Germany in World War II — the United States, Britain, Soviet Union and France.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Holocaust “one of the most terrible chapters of human history” and said remembering it “is our shared responsibility to the past and the future.”
“The crimes committed by the Nazis, their deliberate, planned, and as they said, ‘final solution to the Jewish issue,’ is one of the darkest and most shameful pages of modern world history,” he said.
“But we should not forget that this crime also had accomplices. They were often crueler than their masters. Death factories and concentration camps were served not only by the Nazis, but also by their accomplices in many European countries.”
Those remarks appeared aimed largely at Russia’s Cold War-era satellites, including Poland, whose President Andrzej Duda stayed away from Jerusalem after being denied the right to address the event. Last month, Putin provoked an outcry after he made the claim that Poland had colluded with Adolf Hitler and contributed to the outbreak of World War II.
Poland, which sees Moscow as rewriting history and ignoring its own 1939 non-aggression pact with Hitler, has urged Putin “not to use the memory of the victims of the Holocaust for political games.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
The West Mourns the Jewish Dead. But What About the Living?
At Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on Jan. 23, some 46 political leaders and royals, including Britain’s Prince Charles, will be attending the fifth World Holocaust Forum to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
At this and doubtless other such memorial events, many eloquent, important and heartfelt observations will be made about the evils of Nazism and Jew-hatred. In today’s climate, however, there’s something disquieting about such memorializing.
Given the eruption of physical and verbal attacks on Jews in Britain, America and Europe, it might be said that it’s never been so important to remember the horrors of the Holocaust.
But the west is now teeming with Holocaust memorials and museums, while schools have been imparting Holocaust education since the 1980s. And yet never since the defeat of Nazism has there been such an epidemic of Jew-hatred in western society.
Moreover, some of the countries that will be represented at Yad Vashem support people who want to kill Jews. They fund the Palestinians, who pump out murderous anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement.
Some of these countries have also turned a blind eye for years to the Iranian regime’s genocidal agenda towards Israel and the Jewish diaspora, and have even been trying to continue to funnel billions of dollars into Iran in defiance of U.S. sanctions.
To put it bluntly, it might appear that while the west beats its collective breast over dead Jews, it is largely indifferent to the mortal threats currently posed to the living ones.
At the very least, it’s clear that all this Holocaust memorializing and education hasn’t put antisemitism back in its putrid box.
Indeed, such Jew-hatred is propagated most perversely among liberals, who constantly flaunt their anti-racist and anti-Nazi credentials.
Without wishing to exaggerate one factor behind a complex phenomenon, this points at least in part to profound flaws in the way the west has talked to itself about the Holocaust. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
World Leaders Gather in Jerusalem to Remember Holocaust, Stand Against Anti-Semitism: World Israel News, Jan. 23, 2020 — Dozens of world leaders descended upon Jerusalem on Thursday for the largest-ever gathering focused on commemorating the Holocaust and combating modern-day anti-Semitism.
Holocaust Forum: Netanyahu Urges World to Unite to Confront Iran: BBC News, Jan. 23, 2020 — Israel’s prime minister has vowed that “there will not be another Holocaust” in a speech at a forum in Jerusalem marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.
Prince Charles to Say ‘Hatred and Intolerance Still Lurk in the Human Heart’ at World Holocaust Forum: Jessica Carpani, The Telegraph, Jan. 23, 2020 — The Prince of Wales will warn that “hatred and intolerance still lurk in the human heart” when he joins world leaders at an event marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
This week’s French-language briefing is titled: Communique: Commémorations du 75e anniversaire de la libération d’Auschwitz
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