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July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Yad Vashem’

Rivlin at Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony: We Will Continue to Survive and Battle Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – President Reuven Rivlin said that the Holocaust is central to Israel’s identity and vowed to combat the “chronic disease” of anti-Semitism on Wednesday night during the official ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.

“The Holocaust, whether we like it or not, has become a factor in shaping the standards of our understanding of ourselves, of understanding our relationship with other nations, and our role in the world,” Rivlin said. “The Holocaust places the Jewish people before basic principles, as a people and as a nation gazing inward at ourselves and outward toward all of humanity.”

Rivlin stressed, however, that the founding of the State of Israel was no redress for the Holocaust.

“The State of Israel is not, under any circumstances, compensation for the Holocaust,” he said. “However, the Holocaust put into perspective the necessity and crucial need of the Jewish people to return to its historical roots, as a nation that takes its fate in its hands.”

Rivlin emphasized that Israel not only allows the Jewish people to take control of its own destiny, but also allows it to defend itself as a collective against the continuing phenomenon of anti-Semitism.

“Anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews are not a fad, or something that can be taken lightly,” Rivlin noted. “It is a difficult, chronic disease that penetrates deep into the heart and history of nations.”

“The State of Israel will deal with this anti-Semitism by ensuring, first and foremost, a national home and a Jewish army that protects the nation of survival,” added Rivlin. “We are a nation that has survived and will continue to survive thanks to our resilience and strong spirit.”

Rivlin also addressed the Holocaust survivors attending the ceremony, asking for their help in extracting the meaning of the tragedy and lessons to be learned.

“These are the years in which we should take the opportunity to try to clarify along with you how you want to shape the memory of the Holocaust and its lessons for future generations,” he said. “The number which was tattooed onto your flesh is etched into the hearts of this nation for generations and has become the living will of the Jewish people.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israeli Labour Party Ponders Cutting Ties to British Labour Over Anti-Semitism

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Israeli Labour Party is considering cutting ties to its British counterpart amid an ongoing wave of British Labour officials dismissed due to anti-Semitic comments, including remarks advocating the deportation of Israel’s Jews and claims that Hitler supported Zionism.

MK Isaac Herzog, head of Israel’s Labour Party and Opposition leader, told Channel 10 News on Monday that he is “considering suspending relations” with British Labour and that “it’s possible there may be no other resort.” Herzog went on to explain that the majority of British Labour rejects these anti-Semitic views, which are held by “only a small and loud minority.”

Herzog’s announcement follows a letter by Labour MK Nachman Shai calling on Herzog to promptly sever ties with British Labour under its current chairman, Jeremy Corbyn.

“There is a toxic atmosphere of hatred and fanaticism in British Labour,” Shai wrote. “It is no longer a sister Party with which we can have close relations and coordinate policy.”

“When one of the Labour leaders creates a twisted connection between Adolf Hitler and Zionism this is no longer a warning sign – this is a moral collapse that requires immediate and unequivocal action,” Amir Peretz, another Israeli Labour MK and former Party chairman, wrote on his Facebook page.

Peretz was referring to comments made by former London Mayor and Labour Member Ken Livingstone last week, arguing that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism because he wanted to deport German Jews. Livingstone was suspended from Labour following the remarks, and the Party has said it will investigate anti-Semitism in its ranks.

Three more British Labour officials were suspended on Monday for anti-Semitic comments they had posted to Facebook, including comments referring to Israel “drinking Gaza blood” and accusing Israel of orchestrating last year’s ISIS terror attacks in Paris as punishment for a French UN vote in support of the Palestinians.

The scandal in British Labour comes at a sensitive time, with important local elections coming up in England on Thursday—including a contentious and racially-charged race for London mayor—which coincides with Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Herzog sent a letter to British Labour head Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday inviting him to bring a delegation to visit Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem. “While Ken Livingstone is surely anti-Semitic beyond repair,” Herzog wrote, “I’m sure there remain many Labour Party activists with a willingness to engage and better understand the scourge of anti-Semitism.”

“Yad Vashem is open to all visitors,” said Simmy Allen, Yad Vashem’s director of international communications, in an interview with Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “Our vast resources are at the disposal of anyone who would like to learn about the Holocaust and experience a visit to Yad Vashem.”

It appears unlikely, however, that Corbyn will take Herzog up on the offer, leading Israeli Labour members to openly ponder whether they must dissociate from their British counterpart.

“With sister Parties like this, who needs enemies?” tweeted Itzik Shmuli, a Knesset member with the Labour Party.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Obama: US Must Lead Fight Against Rising Anti-Semitism

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama told a gathering at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC on Wednesday that America has an obligation to lead the fight against rising anti-Semitism.

“We are all Jews,” Obama said. “All of us have a responsibility.”Obama’s presence at the embassy signaled a thaw in relations between the White House and Jerusalem. Or at least, an effort by the president to win back Jewish voters before they go to the polls in November.

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Speaking at a ceremony to present Righteous Among the Nations awards marking International Holocaust Day, Obama said the rise in anti-Semitism is “undeniable.” It is the first time that this event has ever been held at the Israeli embassy as well.

The families of Walery and Maryla Zbijewski of Poland, teacher Lois Gunden and Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds came to accept the honors for their deceased, heroic loved ones. They were presented with the “Righteous Among the Nations” awards by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center in Israel on behalf of the Jewish People for risking their lives to save Jews from the Nazis.

Without fanfare, the U.S. president entered the room together with Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, who was clearly, deeply appreciative of the honor granted him. “This is the first time a sitting president has ever spoken to our embassy,” Dermer said in his introduction.

Obama himself turned to the issue of the rising anti-Semitism around the globe, and in the United States as well.

“We must confront the reality that around the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise. We cannot deny it,” the president said. “When we see some Jews leaving major European cities where their families have lived for generations, because they no longer feel safe; when Jewish centers are targeted from Mumbai to Overland Park, Kansas; when swastikas appear on college campuses – when we see all that and more, we must not be silent,” he continued.

“As president, I’ve made sure that the United States is leading the global fight against anti-Semitism. And it’s why, with Israel and countries around the world, we organized the first United Nations General Assembly meeting on anti-Semitism. It’s why we’ve urged other nations to dedicate a special envoy this threat, as we have.”

Obama also spoke of his own family experience with the Holocaust, a memory of his grandmother’s narration. He spoke of how his great uncle returned home from helping to liberate Buchenwald so shaken by what he had seen that “he did not speak to anyone for six months, just went up in his attic, couldn’t fully absorb the horror that he had witnessed.”

The U.S. president also took his own family to Buchenwald, to see for himself the place where his great uncle had been so traumatized, and where he had helped save so many lives. He also brought his two daughters to the Holocaust Museum “because our children must know this chapter of our history and must never repeat it.”

He underlined the difference between criticizing Israeli policies, and denying Israel’s right to exist, and said “when Israel faces terrorism we stand up forcefully and proudly in defense of our ally, in defense of our friend, in defense of the Jewish State of Israel.

“America’s commitment to Israel’s security remains, now and forever, unshakeable,” Obama said. “It would be a fundamental moral failing if America broke that bond.”

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu: ‘On Holocaust Remembrance Day World Remains Obsessed with Jews’

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

The following is the statement released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Dear Friends,

Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is more important today than ever for in this period of resurgent and sometimes violent anti-Semitism, it is commemorations like this that remind us all where the oldest and most enduring hatred can lead.

Unfortunately, in Europe and elsewhere, Jews are once again being targeted just for being Jews. Around the world, Jewish communities are increasingly living in fear. We see anti-Semitism directed against individual Jews, and we also see this hatred directed 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.

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 obsession with the Jews – the fixation on the Jewish state – defies any other rational explanation. While across the region, Islamist militants brutalize entire populations, enslave and rape women, murder Christians and gays, the UN Human Rights Council repeatedly condemns Israel. More than North Korea. More than Iran. More than Syria. More than all of them put together. 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. We have changed and we stand and speak out and we defend ourselves. But 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. But Europe and the rest of the world must stand up together with us. Not for our sake; for theirs.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

NY Mayor de Blasio Visiting Yad VaShem

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is visiting Yad VaShem Sunday during his two-day tour in Israel for the 30th International Mayors Conference.

He will be joined by approximately 40 other international mayors participating in the conference.

Mayor de Blasio will tour the Holocaust History Museum, participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visit the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad VaShem Guest Book.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Hotovely Says Foreign Dignitaries Must Visit Western Wall

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Israel finally has an honest religious Zionist as acting Foreign Minister.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has changed protocol for foreign dignities who now will be asked to visit the Western Wall (Kotel) as well as Yad VaShem and Mt Herzl Cemetery.

The new protocol is at least the second major change she has introduced into the Foreign Ministry since her appointment by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

When she took office, she met with Foreign Ministry officials and gave them a short sermon on Torah – “Dvar Torah” in Hebrew – and instructed them to made the Jewish People’s Biblical right to Israel as part of  the “Hasbara” public relations program.

Now she wants foreign dignities to understand that official visits to Jerusalem sites should not be limited to the sadness identified with the military cemetery and the Holocaust Memorial.

Hotovely told the new head of the “Ceremonies Branch”” of the ministry to include the Kotel as part of the itinerary for foreign dignitaries, Yediot Acharonot reported.

She explained:

In my eyes, the fact that the Kotel will become part of official visits of foreign dignitaries in Israel is a meaningful statement that strengthens the position of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

This visit will take dignitaries from the ethos and sentiment of Yad VaShem, which deals with the catastrophe of the Holocaust, to the positive character of the Kotel that speaks of deep roots of the city.

This will change the view of visits from 100 years of Zionism to 3,000 years of Zionism.

Hotovely she has taken into account that there will be some dignities who will refuse to visit the Western Wall because they consider it part of “disputed territories,” depending on the visitor’s political agenda.

Barack Obama anxiously visited the Kotel when he was campaigning for president in 2008. In his last visit to Israel, he refused to come near to the holy site and instead opted for Tel Aviv.

“If there are those who refuse to visit, we will try to convince them to do so, but the change is that until now, visiting the Kotel was not even a priority in the Foreign Ministry.

She added that she will not object if dignities condition their visits to the Western Wall on their being able to go to the Temple Mount, presumably to visit mosques and not to utter forbidden non-Muslim prayers, or to the Holy Church of the Sepulchre.

The first foreign dignitary to come under the new protocol will be Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who will be met at Ben Gurion Airport next week by Hotovely. She will escort him to the Kotel.

Hotovely’s innovations – a Dvar Torah and now visits to the Kotel – are brilliant if not simple moves that should have been part of policy from Day One of the modern State of Israel.

The beauty in the changes is that leftist and pluralistic politicians and media cannot easily oppose them.

They may not like including a bit of Torah in Israel’s explanations to the international community, but how can they be against it without saying that the Torah should not an official part of Israel?

They may not like her including the Western Wall as a part of the protocol for vesting dignities, but as Hotovely said, the Western Wall is part of the Israeli consensus.

Hotovely’s real innovation is that her observance of Judaism is above politics, exactly what has been lacking in Israeli governments.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Secretary of State Kerry’s Yom HaShoah Message

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued the following statement on Thursday, April 16, Yom HaShoah, 2016.

Teresa and I join all Americans today in observing Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day. We bow our heads as we both mourn and honor the six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the most painful and horrific chapter in human history.

We lack the power to rewind the clock or to bring back those who were murdered. But we do have the power of remembrance, and we will never cease to honor the memory of those who were killed, to grieve their loss, and to cherish their names.

We remain indebted, as well, to the Holocaust survivors who, despite unspeakable trauma, continue to recount their painful experiences so that the passage of time does not lead to the forgetting of what must never be forgotten. We also draw inspiration from the reality that every child of every survivor is added testimony to the utter failure of Hitler’s evil plan.

I was profoundly moved in 2013 when I visited Yad Vashem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-President Shimon Peres. A siren wailing through Jerusalem and then a nation standing together in silent reflection signify a profound tribute to the fallen, and a call to consciousness for us all, now and in perpetuity.

For us, then, remembrance is the beginning, not the end of our responsibility. The duty we have is an active one: to work with countries and partners around the globe to fight bigotry wherever it arises, to confront aggression, insist on truth, uphold the rule of law, and promote respect for the rights and dignity of every human being.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/secretary-of-state-kerrys-yom-hashoah-message/2015/04/16/

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