Israel's Prime Minister Remembers the Holocaust

Getty Images

This morning at 10:00 a.m., in Israel, all activity came to a halt as sirens sounded, and Israelis stood for two minutes with heads bowed in memory of the 6 million Jews, one third of the Jewish people, who perished in the Holocaust. Yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at Yad Vashem in recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

Seventy years ago, the bells of freedom rang in the free world. The horrific nightmare that had engulfed all humanity in the depths of blood had come to an end in Europe. But the day the Nazis were vanquished was not only a day of relief and jubilation. It was a day of great sorrow for our nation, but also a day of reflection for world leaders. Leaders of modern countries realized that it was a propitious time to establish a new world order based on defending liberty, eradicating evil and opposing oppression. They articulated the most important lesson of World War II: democracies must not turn a blind eye to the aspirations of tyrannous regimes to expand. A conciliatory attitude toward these regimes only increases their tendency for aggression. And if this aggression is not stopped in time, humanity might find itself in a much bloodier battle....

When the war ended, the conclusion was clear: there is no room for weakness when facing tyrannous regimes who send their murderous tentacles in every direction. Only by standing firm and adhering to the values of liberty and tolerance can we ensure the future of mankind.

There are many around the world who claim that the lessons learned then are still valid today. They affirm: “Never again!” They declare: “We will not turn a blind eye to the expansion intentions 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 with practical actions – they are meaningless. Did the world really learn a lesson from the inconceivable universal and Jewish tragedy of last century? I wish I could stand here and tell you that the answer to this was yes.

 Today, evermore threats challenge the human civilization. Radical Islamic forces are flooding the Middle East, destroying remnants of the past, torturing the helpless, murdering innocents. They hope to establish caliphates, more than one, like in the Middle Ages. At the same time, the extremist regime in Iran is oppressing its people; it is rushing forward and submerging the Middle East in blood and suffering – in Yemen, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Gaza and across the border of the Golan.

 Just as the Nazis aspired to crush civilization and to establish a “master race” to replace it in controlling the world while annihilating the Jewish people, so too does Iran strive to gain control over the region, from which it would 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. Everything is out in the open – it is all taking place in broad daylight, in front of cameras. And yet, the blindness is immense. 

“For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples,” said the Prophet Isaiah. 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. The West is yielding in the face of Iran’s aggressive actions. Instead of demanding a significant dismantling of the nuclear program in Iran – a country that clearly states its plans to exterminate six million Jews here and elsewhere, to eradicate many countries and many regimes – the superpowers back down. They are leaving Iran with its nuclear capabilities, and even allowing it to expand them later on, regardless of Iran’s actions in the Middle East and around the world....

Distinguished guests, Israeli citizens and representatives of other countries who are with us, the bubble of this illusion is going to burst. Democratic governments made a critical mistake before World War II, and we are convinced – and I must say that many of our neighbors are too – that they are making a grave mistake now too. It is possible that this partnership with many of our neighbors, the partnership in identifying threats, is the foundation for the partnership in forging a better, safer and more peaceful future in our region. Meanwhile, we will not flinch. We will continue to insist on the truth, and we will do everything we can to open the eyes that have closed.

I do not want to mislead anyone. We have tests ahead of us. We are in the midst of a great battle against the languor, the weakness, the denial of reality – we will stand in full force.

Beside those who refuse to understand our position, there are many others who identify with us. But even if we are compelled to stand alone, we will not be afraid. In any scenario, in any situation, we will safeguard our right, we will maintain our ability, we will keep our resolve to defend ourselves.

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
Read More