Netanyahu at Auschwitz .
(photo credit: GPO)
In a much-anticipated
speech at Auschwitz-Birkenau marking International Holocaust
Memorial Day Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reasserted
the right of the Jewish people to self-defense amid increasing
concern over the Iranian threat and growing controversy abroad over
the legitimacy of Israel and its military.
“From the cursed
ground at Auschwitz, Birkenau and other camps rise the voices of our
brothers and sisters, our people who choked to death and were burned
and murdered,” said the prime minister, in English, wishing “decency, truth
and hope ... for all mankind” before switching to Hebrew, “the
language the Nazis sought to exterminate.”
Amalek did to you,” cautioned Netanyahu, quoting a particularly
ominous passage from Deuteronomy. “I have come here today from
Jerusalem to tell you: We will never forget. We will not allow the
Holocaust deniers or those who desecrate [Jewish] graves and signs to
erase or distort [our] memory.”
The prime minister
also warned that though the “Nazi Amalek” was almost entirely a
ghost of the past, “a new Amalek is appearing and once again
threatening to annihilate the Jews. We will not allow it ... We will
never forget and always stand guard,” he said.
hatred must be stopped in its tracks, stopped right from the
beginning. All countries in the world must learn this lesson, just as
we did after losing a third of our people in blood-soaked Europe. We
learned that the only guarantee for the protection of our people is
the State of Israel and its army, the IDF,” Netanyahu declared,
warning that never again would the existence of Israel and the Jewish
people be threatened.
he said, must stand at the forefront of all civilized nations and
warn them about impending danger – while also preparing to defend
itself against all threats. “I promise, as head of the Jewish
state, that never again will we allow the hand of evil to sever the
life of our people and our state,” he solemnly added. Netanyahu chose not to specifically refer to the Iranian regime and its nuclear drive, but has drawn a link between the Nazis and the Iranian threat to the Jews in many recent speeches.
Yisrael Chai, we have returned to our homeland, to the land of
our forefathers, to Jerusalem, our capital. We have converged from
all corners of the world, Holocaust survivors, Arab Jews, Jews from
former Soviet Union states, Ethiopian Jews,” Netanyahu said,
choosing frosty Poland as the location for his rebuke to those who
claim the Jewish population of Israel is comprised mostly of
emigrants from Europe.
bow our heads in memory [of Holocaust victims] and raise our heads as
our flag waves with its two blue stripes and the Star of David at its
center. We still haven't lost our hope.”