President Reuven Rivlin [C] and world leaders in a group photo taken in Jerusalem January 22 2020
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin invited world leaders gathered in Jerusalem on Wednesday to send a message that they stand united against racism, antisemitism and extremism.
Speaking at a gala banquet organized in the President’s Residence for the dozens of heads of states who are here to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Rivlin said historical research should be free of politics.
“Historical research should be left to historians,” he said. “The role of political leaders is to shape the future… I hope and pray that from this room, the message will go out to every country on earth, that the leaders of the world will stand united in the fight against racism, antisemitism and extremism.”
Rivlin called the gathering historic not only for Israel and the Jewish people but for all humanity. It embodies the commitment of all those who attend to pass on the awareness of what happened during the Holocaust to the next generations, he said.
The president spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday speaking individually with a steady stream of leaders. He emphasized that attacks against Israel are a form of contemporary antisemitism, adding that one cannot profess to love Jews and attack Israel, which is the Jewish homeland, or to love Israel and hate Jews.
Rivlin warned that antisemitism and all forms of racism and xenophobia constitute an attack on democracy.
He previously had a series of face-to-face meetings with world leaders who came to the funeral of former prime minister Shimon Peres in September 2016. But they had not all sat together and broken bread with him at the one table.
Spain’s King Felipe took the podium on behalf of the guests reunited at Rivlin’s residence, starting his speech by quoting 12th-century Jewish philosopher and Torah scholar Moses Maimonides, known as the Rambam.
“Maimonides, born in Sfarad [Spain], in the city of Cordoba, wrote all evils originate from ignorance,” Felipe said, adding that there is no greater ignorance than not knowing the simple truth that all men and women are created equal.
The king said the example set by Holocaust survivors has been enlightening humanity for decades, but remembrance itself is unfortunately not enough.
“We all know that barbarianism grows where it is least expected,” he said. “We cannot look away.”
Felipe denounced the surge of attacks against Jews all over the world.
“We will always need to persevere so that the words ‘never again,’ ‘leolam lo od,’ stay true,” he said.
Holocaust survivor and Yad Vashem Council chairman Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and historian Prof. Yehuda Bauer, who was one of the dinner speakers, arrived before the start of the VIP reception and waited in the second reception room with media and staff, mostly Foreign Ministry personnel.
Bauer told the world leaders gathered that,”Antisemitism is not a Jewish disease. It is your illness. Antisemitism is a cancer that is gnawing on your people and your countries. During World War II, 59 million people perished. Isn’t that 59 million good reasons to fight antisemitism?
World Holocaust Forum Foundation president Moshe Kantor also spoke at the event. Kantor explained that he established the World Holocaust Forum because he realized that “antisemitism was not a ghost of the past” but a presence and a threat to the future.
Kantor added that a lesson that we could learn from the past was that only uniting world leaders managed to defeat antisemitism in the past, and “only by uniting that will win once more.”
Kantor concluded that as international leaders gather every year in Davos to discuss the state of the world’s economy, they should also gather to discuss the situation of antisemitism.
President of Argentina Alberto Fernández,President Emmanuel Macron of France, President Sergio Mattarella of Italy, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi were also in attendance.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.