Rivlin warns of Israeli alliance with antisemitic parties in Europe

“No consideration of realpolitik can justify a dishonorable alliance with racist groups or elements who do not acknowledge their past and their responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust."

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May 1, 2019 20:54
1 minute read.
President Reuven Rivlin at Holocaust Rememberance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem 2019

President Reuven Rivlin at Holocaust Rememberance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem 2019. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

President Reuven Rivlin issued a fervent warning Wednesday night against any Israeli alliance with racist or extremist political forces in Europe that have arisen in recent years, in his address at the official opening ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.

Rivlin said that the “ghosts of the past” had emerged once again in Europe and that antisemitic and xenophobic ideas had taken root on both the political right and left, asserting that if the Jewish state was not clear in its rejection of such political movements it would be compromising its own moral voice in demanding that other countries fight against antisemitism.

Israel has in recent years grown close to several countries which are led by or include xenophobic, hard-right or even far-right parties such as Hungary and Austria which include members who have expressed antisemitic ideas and Holocaust denial or revisionism. 

“Ideas of superiority, national purity, xenophobia, blatant antisemitism from left and right are hovering over Europe,” stated Rivlin, noting that governments in Europe with antisemitic elements or even leaders could take office.

“In a case like this, particularly, Israel must speak in a clear and uncompromising voice,” declared Rivlin.

“No interest and no consideration of realpolitik can justify a dishonorable alliance with racist groups or elements who do not acknowledge their past and their responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust.

“If we are not clear and precise, how can we expect other nations to take the responsibility and educate their next generations to remember the Holocaust and its lessons?”

Rivlin underlined rising antisemitism in both Europe and US, and underlined that such forces exist on all sides of the political spectrum, including Islamist extremists and far right extremists, and insisted that all these forms of antisemitism were illegitimate.

“There is no such thing as loving Israel and hating Jews, just like there is no such thing as loving Jews and hating Israel. The game is up. The masks have been torn off.”

The president added that he had invited world leaders to an international conference next year to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and to formulate ideas to combat against “antisemitism, xenophobia and Holocaust denial.”


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