Rivlin Announces International Conference on Anti-Semitism in Yerushalayim

President Reuven Rivlin speaks at Yad Vashem, as Israel marks annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, Wednesday evening. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said on Wednesday evening that in response to the global rise in anti-Semitism he has invited world leaders to a conference next year to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Speaking at the opening of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, Rivlin told the audience that the “international conference will be held here at Yad Vashem next January…Here in Yerushalayim, together with presidents and heads of state, we will join forces in the uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism, xenophobia and Holocaust denial.

“Today, Europe is once again pursued by the ghosts of the past. Ideas of superiority, national purity, xenophobia, blatant anti-Semitism from left and right are hovering over Europe.

“Not every right-wing party in Europe that believes in controlling immigration or in protecting its unique character is anti-Semitic or xenophobic. But political forces where anti-Semitism and racism are part of their language, their legacy or their ideology can never be our allies,” warned Rivlin.

Although he did not name any specific politicians or parties in Europe, it was likely a reference to Israel establishing closer ties with Hungary and Poland under the leadership of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, which has been rewriting Holocaust history, have been hosted by Netanyahu, which has drawn sharp criticism in recent months.

Rivlin seemed to be talking about just that when he intoned at Yad Vashem on Wednesday that “no interest and no consideration of realpolitik can justify a dishonorable alliance with racist groups or elements who do not acknowledge their past and their responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust.”

Netanyahu, who spoke right after Rivlin, concurred in general that “there is a paradox, in that some of those places that admire Israel most there is also significant hatred of Jews. The radical right, the radical left and radical Islam agree only on one thing: hatred of Jews.”

The prime minister called upon the world to stand against Iran.

“Iran threatens to destroy us day and night.“We need pressure and more pressure,” and he thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for declaring the Iran Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.

In an apparent reference to a New York Times cartoon that depicted Trump and himself in an anti-Semitic light, Netanyahu condemned publishing “caricatures of hate towards Israel [that] undermines the legitimacy of the Jewish state.”


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