Peres tells students: Use Facebook to combat Shoah denial

Peres addresses 116 students from 62 countries at Yad Vashem in an international Youth Congress on the Holocaust.

facebook 88 (photo credit: )
facebook 88
(photo credit: )
President Shimon Peres urged young students at Yad Vashem on Tuesday to use the social networking site Facebook to fight anti-Semitism. "You can make a collective effort," he told a student from Guatemala. Peres was at Yad Vashem to address the 116 students from 62 countries who are participating in an international Youth Congress on the Holocaust. According to a Yad Vashem spokesperson, the group comprised more non-Jews than Jews. Asked about anti-Semitism, Peres said that it was basically a non-Jewish sickness, and that Israel was not responsible for curing it. "The non-Jews have to do it themselves," he said. Peres added that rather than focus on anti-Semitism, especially in places in which there are many Jewish graves, but no Jews, he would like to make the world a better place and to emphasize Jews' contribution to society. Peres said that it was not enough to honor Holocaust victims' memories; the memory of the Holocaust must serve as a warning. But enough of a realist to know that warnings are not always heeded, Peres said that there will always be evil forces that will arise to do inhuman things to other people. Peres also surmised that if the state of Israel had come into being some years before the outbreak of World War II, the Germans would not have been able to do as much damage, because Israel would not have permitted it. He made the point that Israel was an "anti-genocide" country and that whenever genocide occurred, "we mobilize ourselves and stand on the side of the victim or those who are being threatened. This is, directly or indirectly, part of our foreign policy." The president told the young people that he would like to see their generation enter politics as early as possible. "I know your generation has a poor opinion of politics - so come in and correct it. Make the world a better place for you and for the young people who will come after you," he exhorted. Even though he had suggested using Facebook to fight anti-Semitism, Peres urged his audience not to become slaves to their computers, but to take upon themselves the freedom to dream and to remain curious. He also urged them to take up a cause and to be true to it. "You will be great if you serve your cause and small if you serve your ego," he said.