Michael Oren: Don’t let Iran perpetrate another Holocaust (JERUSALEM POST) By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JTA 04/20/12)
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WASHINGTON – Israel’s US envoy called on the world Thursday to
prevent Iran from perpetrating another Holocaust.
“We have to prevent a second Holocaust from happening,” Ambassador
Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post following a Holocaust
Remembrance Day ceremony in the Capitol rotunda. “When Iran says it
wants to destroy the State of Israel, which just happens to have six
million Jews, we have to take it seriously.”
Oren stressed that “we can never compare the Holocaust to anything.
It’s in a league by itself. It’s uniquely horrific.”
But he added, “We also have to look for similarities.”
The historian-turned-diplomat described the shared circumstances of
the present day and the 1930s: economic crises, a war-weary public, a
radical regime plotting domination, the Jews depicted as a cancer.
“It’s not a coincidence that Iran’s denying the Holocaust while
seeking to perpetrate a second one,” he said.
Oren delivered a similar message at the Capitol ceremony, though he
noted an important difference between action against the Holocaust in
the past and toward Iran now.
“The United States is not, is not watching passively. On the
contrary, the White House and the Congress are leading the world” in
imposing sanctions, keeping all options on the table and declaring
Israel’s right to defend itself, he said.
One of the key forces behind those sanctions – the US Treasury – was
represented at the ceremony as well.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner delivered the keynote address, in
which he described the world’s “most creative and most effective
system of financial sanctions” to keep Iran from pursuing its nuclear
ambitions as “crucial to thwarting those who would kill in the name
John Boehner, speaker of the US House of Representatives, and Per
Westerberg, speaker of the Swedish Parliament, attended the ceremony
Westerberg’s presence honored Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat
who risked his life saving thousands of Jews during the Holocaust and
later disappeared. His fate remains unknown to this day.
Earlier this week, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously
to award Wallenberg the Congressional Gold Medal.
US President Barack Obama marked Holocaust Remembrance day with calls
to combat Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, as well as for
vigilance against current and future atrocities.
"As societies, we must stand against ignorance and anti-Semitism,
including those who try to deny the Holocaust," Obama said in a
statement issued Thursday. "As nations, we must do everything we can
to prevent and end atrocities in our time."
The day was also marked for the first time at the Pentagon by US
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at a ceremony attended by survivors
and by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, with whom Panetta had been
Panetta said Barak´s career as a decorated soldier and a leader was
in itself a rebuke to the Nazis.
Survivors helped "build a strong and vibrant Jewish state in Israel,"
he said. "Ehud´s life has been a living tribute to the memory of the
Holocaust." (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/20/12)
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