'We won’t put our fate in the hands of others'

On Yom Hashoah eve, Netanyahu pledges ‘never again,’ referring to Iran; Peres: Threat against one nation is threat against all.

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April 8, 2013 02:42
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks at Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem

Netanyahu at Yad Vashem 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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“There will never again be another Holocaust,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pledged on Sunday evening, in a direct challenge to Iran, during the state ceremony marking the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Calling the Jews a people that “seeks peace,” Netanyahu noted that “there are who seek to extinguish this light of ours.”

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Iran “openly declares its intention to destroy Israel and does all it can to achieve that goal,” the prime minister said. Zionists are “microbes and bacteria” and Jews “dirty people who spread disease” to an regime that Netanyahu said considers Israel “a cancerous growth that must be excised from the Middle East.

“The murderous hatred against the Jews that has accompanied the history of our people has not gone away, it has simply been replaced by murderous hatred against the Jewish state. What has changed since the Holocaust is our determination and our ability to defend ourselves, by ourselves,” he said.

In what seemed an affirmation of Israel’s willingness to engage in unilateral action against the Iranian nuclear program if necessary, Netanyahu said Jerusalem appreciates the efforts of the international community to stop Iran’s nuclear program but that “at no stage will we surrender our fate in the hands of others, even the best of our friends.”

Speaking in the presence of foreign dignitaries, including Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair, Netanyahu said that the gates of most countries, if not all, were closed to the Jews during the Holocaust, “including the ‘enlightened ones.’” In what could be interpreted as a direct challenge to Tehran, Netanyahu recalled an incident in which an American who took part in the liberation of Buchenwald asked current Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau for forgiveness for arriving at the concentration camp “too late.” Lau was freed from the camp in 1945, at age eight.

“The deepest meaning of the State of Israel,” the prime minister announced, is that Israel prevents the Jewish people from “returning to a situation where it is too late.

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“We will not stand helpless against our enemies again,” he declared. “The Declaration of Independence 65 years ago gave us a country and the ability to make independent decisions that are necessary to ensure our future here. We will act to protect ourselves.

In this place and on this day I promise: There will never be another Holocaust.”

Jewish revival in the Land of Israel is “inextricably tied to the willingness and ability of Jews to fight with all their might against those want to destroy them,” Netanyahu said, referencing the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto and other Jews who engaged in resistance activities.

The spirit of the IDF is directly connected to that of the Jews who fought against the Nazis in Europe, he said.

Despite numbering fewer than before World War II, the Jewish people have only “decreased in number, but not in spirit,” President Shimon Peres told the crowd at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square.

The Jewish people is “growing out of the ashes” to “build a new independence and not tire from building a better world,” he said.

The president said, however, that the crimes of the last century have damaged Europe, which he accused of still containing “local strains of anti-Semitism.”

“To our shame, there remain some who learned nothing. There remain those who forget the Holocaust, those who deny it,” Peres said, referring to farright nationalist parties in Europe that have begun growing in popularity, worrying European Jewish leaders.

“Crises are once again exploited to form Nazi parties, ridiculous but dangerous.

Sickening anti-Semitic cartoons are published allegedly in the name of press freedom,” he said.

“The civilized world must ask itself how in such a short space of time after the crematoria were extinguished, after the terrible death toll that the Allied Powers endured to put an end to the Nazi devil, it is still possible for the leadership, like that of Iran, to openly deny the Holocaust and threaten another Holocaust,” said Peres.

“Whoever ignores the threat against one nation, must know that the threat of a Holocaust against one nation is a threat of a Holocaust against all nations.

The Jewish people are a small nation in number but large in spirit. That spirit cannot be burned in the ovens,” he affirmed.

“From the ashes of the Holocaust rose spiritual redemption and political rebirth. We rose and we built a state of our own,” he said.

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