Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and United Nations Gilad Erdan, during the UN's annual event commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, highlighted the resurgence of antisemitism brought on by the deadly COVID-19 crisis and urged the world not to stand idly by as the Jewish people are threatened by another genocidal regime: Iran.
Joining UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, Holocaust survivor Dr. Irene Butter and others at the commemoration on Wednesday, Erdan said that the COVID-19 crisis "has caused a resurgence of antisemitism, a virus much darker and more dangerous than the virus ravaging our world today.
“Conspiracy theories drawing on the tropes of blood libels are spewed, attacks are carried out and the safety of Jews around the world is threatened in person and online,” added Erdan, noting that the lessons of the Holocaust had not been internalized and that antisemitism continues to spread in both its old forms and in a new mutation – delegitimizing the world’s only Jewish state.
The ambassador explained that we must learn from the tragedies of the past, which are already threatening the present in order to protect our future, adding that “the tyrannical Iranian regime promotes Holocaust denial and openly repeats its intention of annihilating the only Jewish state. Yet, the world once again stands idly by as the Jewish people are threatened by a genocidal regime.”
Erdan concluded, insisting that "On this important day, the international community must recommit itself to join Israel in that effort. Just as the world has fought the virus of COVID-19, so must it commit to eradicating all forms of the virus that is antisemitism.”
Merkel, in her remarks, said that she is "deeply ashamed at the Shoah [Holocaust], of the betrayal of all civilized values perpetrated under the nationalist-socialist regime." "It is and remains Germany’s everlasting responsibility to remember these events and to commemorate the victims." she said. "We must never forget these peoples and their fates."
Guterres, in his statement, said that "after decades in the shadows, neo-Nazis and their ideas are gaining currency and even a kind of respectability," and that "in some countries, their messages and ideology can be heard in debates between mainstream political parties. In others, they have infiltrated police and state security services." The UN secretary-general concluded his remarks by stressing that "together, we must urgently strengthen our joint efforts against the danger they pose."