World Overlooks Antisemitism for ‘Economic or Political Gain,’ Israel's Herzog Says

Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem, President Herzog says that the world has forgotten its lessons and that the phrase 'Never Again' has become a meaningless mantra

Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
Sam Sokol
Isaac Herzog speaks at a conference, November.
Isaac Herzog speaks at a conference, November.Credit: Hadas Parush
Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.
Sam Sokol

In a scathing address at Yad Vashem on Thursday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog excoriated the international community for accommodating human rights violators while overlooking “radicalism and antisemitism” for “economic or political gain.”

Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Herzog declared that the world had forgotten the lessons of the genocide and that the phrase “Never Again” had become a meaningless mantra.

Recalling his father’s part in the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen death camp, Herzog said that while the “nations of the world instituted this momentous International Holocaust Remembrance Day, they committed to the promise of Never Again, and created institutions and legal norms to make that promise a reality.” Eight decades later, “the shock is wearing off.”

“We are seeing a surge in antisemitic assaults online; a normalization of antisemitic terminology in mainstream media; and an introduction of social media platforms refocused on Jew hatred to newer, younger audiences,” he said.

“We are seeing how the world’s worst human rights violators are being elected to the UN’s human rights bodies. We see how radical regimes and even terrorist groups, are distorting international law while some members of the academic and diplomatic community play along.”

And while Iran calls “for the annihilation of the State of Israel, initiating terrorism against Jewish communities around the world, and murdering civilians throughout the Middle East,” some “simply look the other way,” he continued.

“We see how present-day radicalism and antisemitism are overlooked, for economic or political gain. And, perhaps most disturbing, we see how the truth about the past is trivialized, and alternative facts are drowning out history. This is dangerous, because in the 21st century, the truth cannot sustain itself. It is our obligation to do so.”

As such, “commemorating the Holocaust is therefore not a symbolic gesture; it is the duty of every person, of every nation across the globe. It is mine and it is yours. When we let our guard down and ignore our responsibility, the forces of hate quickly rear their heads and become bolder,” Herzog contended.

“When we fail to strengthen our pledge Never Again, we are disregarding our debt to our past and forfeiting our rights on our future.”

Herzog’s comments echoed those he made in a Russian-language opinion piece published on a popular Ukrainian news site last October, the president wrote that the legacy of the Holocaust was “under threat” by both the passage of time and the deliberate suppression of facts.

“In many places in Europe, we are witnessing a dangerous trend of historical revisionism. Memories are not simply forgotten – they are erased, or even rewritten,” Herzog wrote.

“The past is a painful place. That is why some people feel tempted to glorify World War II war criminals or rehabilitate wartime collaborators. That is why some people are tempted to slip into the same hatreds and prejudices. That is why some people prefer to forget and to make others forget. This is dangerous. It is dangerous because, nearly eight decades after the Holocaust, antisemitism is soaring again. It is dangerous because when the rot of anti-Jewish racism spreads, it ultimately destroys every country it infects.”

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

$1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

A family grieves outside the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday.

Israeli PM Offers Condolences After Texas Gunman Kills 21 at Elementary School

U.S. President Joe Biden, this week.

Biden Decides to Keep Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Terror List, Says Report

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Progressive Jews Urge ADL Chief to Apologize for Calling Out Democratic Activist

Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders with Jessica Cisneros in San Antonio last week.

It’s AIPAC vs. Bernie Sanders in Too-close-to-call Texas Democratic Runoff

U.S. President Joe Biden. Making a historic pivot to Asia.

Biden Does What His Three Predecessors Talked About Yet Failed to Do

Meir Kahane addressing his followers during a demonstration in Jerusalem, in 1984.

Why the U.S. Removed Kahane Chai From Terrorist Blacklist