Obama during visit to Holocaust museum: ‘I will always be there for Israel’
During his first visit to the Holocaust museum as President, Barack Obama pledges support for Israel against international anti-Semitism, while promising to ‘never forget.’
U.S. President Barack Obama visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington on Monday, with Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel.
Obama lit a candle in the museum’s Hall of Remembrance in front of the Buchenwald section in memory of victims of the Buchenwald camp, part of which was liberated by his great-uncle Charles Payne’s unit, the 89th Infantry Division, at the end of World War II.
Obama was introduced to the crowd by Elie Wiesel. "It's a truly humbling moment to be introduced by Elie Wiesel,” said Obama, who later recalled their visit to Buchenwald together.
Wiesel introduced Obama to a crowd that included Holocaust survivors, administration officials, members of congress, and leaders of Jewish organizations.
"It's a truly humbling moment, to be introduced by Elie Wiesel," Obama said, adding that it was his second visit to the museum - and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, have been there too.
Obama recalled his visit with Wiesel to the Buchenwald concentration camp. "He showed me the barbed wire fences and the guard towers, and we walked the rows where the barracks once stood, where so many left this earth, including Elie's father, Shlomo," Obama continued.
Obama spoke about the lesson of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was celebrated in Israel last week. "I've stood with survivors in the old Warsaw ghettos, where a monument honors heroes who said, we will not go quietly, we will stand up, we will fight back. And I've walked those sacred grounds at Yad Vashem, with its lesson for all nations. The Shoah cannot be denied," said Obama.
Obama also pledged American support for Israel in the face of anti-Semitism. “ ‘Never again’ is a challenge to reject hatred in all of its forms, including anti-Semitism, which has no place in a civilized world. ‘Never again’ is a challenge to defend the fundamental right of free people and free nations to exist in peace and security, and that includes the state of Israel. And on my visit to the old Warsaw ghetto, a woman looked me in the eye, and she wanted to make sure America stood with Israel. She said, ‘It’s the only Jewish state we have.’ And I made her a promise in that solemn place. I said I will always be there for Israel.”