Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz declared on Friday that “Iran is like Nazi Germany,” and said the world had not learned the lessons of the Holocaust in light of the threat Iran poses to the Jewish state.Steinitz made his comments at Israel’s official ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which falls this Sunday, at the Masuah International Institute for Holocaust Studies in Tel Yitzhak.
“Iran speaks about destroying the Jewish state and tries to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and modern Europe sits on the sidelines and doesn’t do a thing to prevent it,” Steinitz said at the ceremony in the presence of some 60 ambassadors.
He also denounced Iran’s efforts to entrench itself in Syria to create a base from which to threaten and attack Israel, saying that although other parts of the world have forgotten the lessons of history, “We have learned the lesson, and therefore are fighting Iran, and we will not let it turn Syria into a military base.”Russian Ambassador to Israel, Anatoly Viktorov, was also present at the ceremony and gave an address in which he said that “everyone remembers the millions of Jews who were cruelly killed by the Nazis in ghettos and camps,” and that Russia and President Vladimir Putin were committed to fighting Holocaust denial.
He also underlined the Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II, and noted that thousands of Russian Jews and fought in the Red Army.
Holocaust historian Prof.
Yehudah Bauer was also in attendance, and in his address described antisemitism as not a Jewish problem but a global problem.
“Antisemitism corrupts wherever it is, it destroys societies, politics, the economy and culture, and therefore fighting antisemitism is a fight for humanity,” he averred.
Bauer also said that the world must learn from the Holocaust in order to prevent future genocides, saying that “International efforts to combat genocide are always derived from the lessons of the Holocaust that stemmed from antisemitism.”Massuah Institute director Aya Ben Naftaly said that the world must understand that the phenomenon of antisemitism constitutes “a warning light to all liberal and democratic societies,” and that “hatred starts against the Jews but never ends there.”
Ben Naftaly said that in the first decades after the Second World War and the Holocaust, “it seemed that the atrocities that were exposed would be a brake on any expression of racism and antisemitism,” but said that in the 21st century “radicalization, racism, antisemitism and xenophobia are accelerating once again.”