The Knesset on Tuesday marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day with special plenary sitting, during which Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein (Likud) said, ”Now that 71 years have passed since that awful war, we hoped that the shock that was revealed to humanity would rattle human society and the entire world, but unfortunately, we are witnessing today terrible displays of anti-Semitism, which are intensifying in some places.”
”The incitement, lies, hatred and racism – these are part of an entire industry which is as prosperous as ever with the sponsorship of the social networks and the fanning of the flames by enemy states and their proxies,” he said.
”Those who needed further proof that these are not insignificant phenomena, but an actual industry, got it when Tehran recently announced that it was holding, for the third consecutive year, an international cartoon competition that will be based on Holocaust denial and will mock it. I turned to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and demanded that he unequivocally condemn [the contest], mainly because it was the UN and the person who heads it who declared this day of established international recognition of the Holocaust. Unfortunately, we have yet to hear any condemnation,” the Knesset speaker said.
”The enlightened world must recognize the duty to wage an all-out war against any phenomenon of hatred, anti-Semitism, despicable and deceitful incitement, and certainly against those who take steps to annihilate a nation; not only with declarations, which are important, but also, and mainly, with actions; with a firm hand that will send a clear message: Anti-Semitism and racism will not pass our doorstep,” Edelstein said in his speech.
MK Tali Ploskov (Kulanu) said, in tears, ”I read to you part of the speech I had delivered as mayor of Arad during a Holocaust memorial ceremony. The difference between then and today is huge: In the previous speech my mother-in-law sat in the audience, listened to me, cried with me – and today she is no longer with us. She hears us, but not from the audience, but from up above, from the heavens.”
MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint List) said the past few decades have seen the ”rise of the Islamophobia phenomenon and accusations of anti-Semitism, as an expression threatening all those who oppose the occupation or disagree with the policy of the Israeli government. The Arabs, including Muslims, have been taken out of Semitism, and Semitism has been designated only to Jews. If you are accused of being anti-Jewish, you are defined as anti-Semitic. On the other hand, if you are anti-Arab, you are not anti-Semitic – you are something else: you are either defending something, or you are an Islamophobe at worst, or you are even fighting terror.”
Responding on behalf of the government, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) mentioned that the ministry has recently dedicated the permanent dwelling of the Israeli consulate in Munich, ”the birthplace of the Nazi movement.” She said the building is situated in the heart of the former Nazi headquarters, next to where Hitler`s office was located.
”Nearly 100 years after Hitler`s coup attempt in a beer basement in Munich, the Israeli flag was waved proudly, a symbol of victory, in the heart of the Nazi quarter of the capital of the state of Bavaria,” she said.
”The State of Israel arrived there after many years of tense relations with Germany, out of a mutual commitment by both countries to act with all their might to combat Holocaust denial, which still exists today.”