Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Thursday addressed an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
The event was attended by over seventy representatives from foreign diplomatic missions in Israel, along with Dani Dayan, Chairman of Yad Vashem; Gideon Sa'ar, Minister of Justice; Ambassador Alon Ushpiz, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Zambian Ambassador Martin Mwanambale, dean of the diplomatic corps.
During his address, President Herzog noted the role his father, Chaim Herzog, had played as an officer in the British army in liberating the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
“My father, who later became the State of Israel’s sixth president, was a WWII fighter in the British Army, who took part in liberating Bergen- Belsen three months after the Red Army's heroic liberation of Auschwitz.”
“My father related the terrifying scenes he encountered in Bergen- Belsen, scenes of barely clad human skeletons, death, raging typhus, and starvation, smells of disease and torture. These scenes shocked and shamed humanity. The result of the Nazis' genocidal anti-Semitic ideology, and of the willingness of too many to stay silent and turn a blind eye.”
Herzog warned that anti-Semitism has increasingly become normalized, and highlighted the role the Iranian regime has played in promoting terrorism against Israel and Jewish communities around the world.
“It is alarmingly clear that 77 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the shock is wearing off. We are seeing a surge in anti-Semitic assaults online; a normalization of anti-Semitic terminology in mainstream media; and an introduction of social media platforms refocused on Jew hatred to newer, younger audiences.”
“We are seeing how the world’s worst human rights violators are being elected to the UN’s human rights bodies. We see how radical regimes and even terrorist groups, are distorting international law while some members of the academic and diplomatic community play along.”
“We see the Ayatollah regime in Iran calling for the annihilation of the State of Israel, initiating terrorism against Jewish communities around the world, and murdering civilians throughout the Middle East while some simply look the other way.”
“We see how present-day radicalism and antisemitism are overlooked, for economic or political gain. And, perhaps most disturbing, we see how the truth about the past is trivialized, and alternative facts are drowning out history. This is dangerous, because in the 21st century, the truth cannot sustain itself. It is our obligation to do so.”
“The Holocaust is not a disputed footnote in history. It is the most sickening assault humanity has ever committed.”