Obama pays respects to Holocaust victims

In keynote address at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, US president focuses on commitment to preventing genocides around globe.

April 23, 2012 17:51
1 minute read.
Obama and Elie Weisel

Obama and Elie Weisel 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)


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US President Barack Obama was the keynote speaker at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum on Monday. In his address, Obama paid his respects to the six million Jews that perished under Nazi Germany while focusing on the US commitment to preventing genocides around the globe.

Obama was introduced by Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Laureate Wiesel, who thanked the US president for his dedication to the Jewish people.

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"'Never Again' is a challenge to us all," Obama said. "We must tell our children, but more than that we must teach them. Remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing."

Referencing South Sudan, Obama said that the killing of innocents must come to an end. "The people of Sudan and South Sudan deserve peace," he said, adding that US action has prevented further bloodshed.

"The killings in Cambodia, the killings in Rwanda, the killings in Bosnia, the killings in Darfur. They shock our conscience," he said. Obama also spoke of the Ivory Coast, Libya, and Uganda as examples of US intervention to avoid mass murder. Preventing mass atrocities is "a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States," he said.

Turning to threats facing the Jewish people today, Obama said that the US will not stand idly by faced with a regime that threatens global security and denies the Holocaust. "The United States will do everything in our power to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."

The US president also said that he will continue to increase sanctions on Syria to bring an end to the Assad regime.


"The Syrian people still seek and deserve their basic human rights," he said. "The Syrian people have not given up and so we have not given up."

Obama said he has signed a new executive order implementing new sanctions targeting Syria and Iran.

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