Following is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, today, at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem:
“My responsibility as Prime Minister of Israel is to ensure that the State of Israel will never again be threatened with destruction. My responsibility is to see to it that there will not be a reason to build additional memorial sites such as Yad Vashem.
The pending agreement with Iran is an agreement that endangers the State of Israel. It leaves Iran with the capabilities that will allow it to arm itself with nuclear weapons, one bomb at first and afterwards many atomic bombs. We cannot live with such an agreement; therefore, we oppose it. Even those who try to challenge us within our borders will discover that we are ready to respond with force. Israel views with utmost gravity the attack against it from Syrian territory. Those who play with fire will get burned.
Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is more important today than ever before.
We live in an age of resurgent and violent anti-Semitism, and commemorations like this ceremony remind us where humanity’s oldest and most enduring hatred can lead.
Many thought that after the horrors of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism would finally contract and disappear.
That has not happened.
Hatred of the Jews appeared to take a brief respite after World War II for a few decades.
It has now returned in full force.
Once again in Europe and elsewhere, Jews are being slandered, vilified and targeted just for being Jews.
This is taking place in the intolerant Middle East and in the very heart of the liberal and tolerant West.
It’s taking place in Tehran and Paris, in Gaza and Brussels. Around the world, Jewish communities are increasingly living in fear.
But it’s not just the Jewish people that is being slandered, vilified and targeted. It’s the Jewish state as well.
Israel is assaulted with the same slurs and libels that have been leveled at the Jews since time immemorial.
Islamist extremists have incorporated the most outrageous anti-Semitic calumnies into their murderous doctrine.
Take the Hamas Charter as one example of many.
It reads like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the anti-Semitic forgery on which it is based. It calls for the murder of Jews and the destruction of their state.
Just as classic anti-Semites portrayed the Jew as the embodiment of all evil in the world, today’s anti-Semites portray the Jewish state in the same twisted manner.
And what do the so-called ‘enlightened’ organs of the international community do in response?
A quarter of a million people are slaughtered in Syria, poison gas is used against civilians, and who do the signatories to the Geneva Convention urgently meet to discuss? Israel.
Across the region, dictatorial regimes and brutal movements brutalize their peoples – suppressing women, lynching gays, forcing Christians to live in fear.
And who does the Human Rights Council of the United Nations condemn? Israel.
Hamas fires thousands of rockets at our civilians, deliberately targeting our people while hiding behind Palestinian civilians it uses as human shields.
And who does the ICC announce it will examine? Israel.
No rational examination of the facts could justify this assault on Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, the most beleaguered democracy on earth.
This obsession with the Jewish people and their state has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism.
Some things just don’t change.
But I can tell you today what has changed.
We have changed.
The Jews have changed.
We are no longer a stateless people endlessly searching for a safe haven.
We are no longer a powerless people begging others to protect us.
Today we are an independent and sovereign people in our ancestral homeland.
Today we can speak out against the hateful voices of those seeking our destruction.
Today we can protect ourselves and defend our freedom.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The ayatollahs in Iran, they deny the Holocaust while planning another genocide against our people.
Let me be clear.
The Jewish people will defend itself by itself against any threat.
That’s what the Jewish state is all about.
Nonetheless, we appreciate the support of our friends around the world who reject the spreading twin diseases of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. They’re one in the same.
We are especially grateful for the bipartisan support for Israel across the United States, our great ally.
We share a special bond with the United States, which is built on common values and it’s reflected in our expansive cooperation, especially on matters of security.
Yet it is the Government of Israel that holds the ultimate responsibility for the security of the one and only Jewish state.
And here we must speak out and must speak our mind about the dangers to our people and our state. This is something we could not do at the time of the Holocaust.
Israel will reject any agreement that leaves Iran as a nuclear threshold state.
Regrettably, our understanding is that the offer made by the P5+1 does exactly that.
It would enable Iran to breakout to a nuclear weapon within a few months and many more bombs within a short time.
The capabilities of Iran to produce enriched uranium for atomic bombs are left intact.
Such an agreement is sure to spark a nuclear arms race in the region that would turn the Middle East into a nuclear tinderbox.
And such an agreement is simply unacceptable to Israel. We will oppose it and we will oppose it vigorously.
On this day of Holocaust remembrance, I pledge to you what we could neither say nor do 70 years ago.
Israel will always do what needs to be done to ensure the security of the Jewish people and the one and only Jewish state. That is the significance of this day.