Katsav warns of new anti-Semitism

The president addresses the Lithuanian parliament in Hebrew.

The pain of history overrode political correctness on Thursday when President Moshe Katsav, in an address in Hebrew to the Lithuanian parliament, lamented that Lithuanians had collaborated with the Nazis in the extermination of Jews. "The trauma of the Holocaust will be with the Jewish people for all eternity," said Katsav. "I belong to a people that has suffered thousands of years of persecutions, expulsions, exiles and inquisitions that came to a peak during the horrendous Holocaust when six million of my people were murdered as part of the final solution in the plan to extirpate the Jews," stated Katsav. Noting that the Jewish community of Lithuania, which had given such great minds to the world, had numbered 250,000 souls before the Second World War, he said that during the war the community had been destroyed. Recalling the role of Lithuanian nationals in this inhuman process, Katsav said: "There is no forgiving, no forgetting. Many Holocaust survivors still bear numbers on their arms, not to mention the emotional scars that have been passed on to the second and third generations," said Katsav. Katsav has dwelt on the Holocaust during all his visits to countries directly involved in or affected by it. Such references serve as a prelude to his outrage that in the face of such a shameful history many nations are again permitting virulent anti-Semitism to penetrate their social fabrics. "We are witnessing a wave of anti-Semitism the likes of which we have not seen since the end of the Second World War," said Katsav. This new anti-Semitism, he said, is fanned by aggressive incitement and demagoguery. Moving on to Israeli-Palestinian issues, Katsav declared that Israel would not tolerate any more bloodshed in its streets, in coffee shops and restaurants, in discotheques or in bus stations. "We will do everything in our power to ensure that our citizens can live free of the fear of terrorism," said Katsav, reiterating his frequently voiced contention that the free world can exert its influence on the Palestinians and force them to live up to their undertaking to put a halt to terrorism. Following his address to the plenum, Katsav visited the Jewish cemetery in Vilnius to pay homage to the memory of the Gaon of Vilna. He also visited the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum.