(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The world has not learned the lesson of the Holocaust and is allowing genocide to take place in Syria, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in the Knesset on Tuesday.
Speaking at plenum session in honor of International Holocaust Memorial Day, Netanyahu said one of the reasons the UN was founded was to prevent genocide, but that goal was not reached.
“Just ask the Cambodians, Rwandans or Sudanese,” he pointed out. “When the world intervened, it was always too late, and when too many lost their lives. Look at Syria.”
Despite modern media and the flow of information, the world does not stop the “indiscriminate murder of men, women and children,” the prime minister said.RELATED:PM likens Iran to Nazis, with some differences
Facing such indifference to genocide, Netanyahu explained, people cannot be sure the world will not behave the same way when faced with threats to destroy Israel.
According to Netanyahu, the world is silent as Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and muftis call to kill the Jews and destroy Israel.
“There is a tradition of hate,” the prime minister said, mentioning that the grand mufti of Jerusalem from 1921-1948, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was one of the “architects” of the Final Solution.
Netanyahu called on the world to say it will not allow the Jewish people to be persecuted again, and will not allow weapons of mass destruction to fall into Iran’s hands.
“Only paralyzing sanctions and putting all options on the table will make Iran stop,” he said.
Not only has the world not learned the lessons of the Holocaust, Netanyahu said, but some Israelis have forgotten them.
He said Israelis cannot “bury their heads in the sand” or “ridicule and ignore those warning of the danger.” Rather they must warn the countries of the world to act together against Iran.
“I want to mention the main lesson of the Holocaust when it comes to our fate,” Netanyahu said. “We can only rely on ourselves.”
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Israel cannot deny tragedies that take place in other nations, whether they are “Armenian, Syrian or others.”
“We do not have the right to be apathetic towards attempts at genocide in Africa, Asia or the Middle East, just as we do not have the privilege to be apathetic towards those who threaten us.”
Because the Jewish people were victims of the worst genocide in history, Rivlin explained, the nation has a responsibility to make sure the world stops such a tragedy from happening again, both in and out of Israel.
Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, who initiated the UN vote in 2005 to declare January 27 as International Holocaust Memorial Day when he was foreign minister, spoke about his family, which was persecuted when the Nazis entered North Africa.
“We must see this day not only as a time to remember, but a time for action,” Shalom said. “We are here to make sure hatred does not win.”
According to the Likud minister, “our Declaration of Independence was written with the blood of the victims of the Holocaust.”
He called for the state to take care of the Holocaust survivors that are still living, saying the government has not done enough.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni called for an end to comparisons between IDF soldiers and Nazis that are common in Arab countries.
She explained that while Israel has supporters around the world, some say that following a tragedy for the Jewish people, the world perpetuated another tragedy for the Palestinians.
“We must make sure this connection is not made,” Livni said.
The opposition leader also explained that, while Israel has enemies and faces threats, it is not in danger of destruction. She called on the government to strengthen citizens and not let them think they are under an existential threat.
“Our job is to tell parents this country is a safe place for their children.”