Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz Birkenau during ceremonies Wednesday in Oswiecim in southern Poland. The event marked 65 years since the camp was liberated by the Soviet Red Army near the end of World War II.
Members of the Israeli government marked Holocaust Remembrance Day in various locations around Europe on Wednesday, invoking the refrain of “never again” and commemorating the millions killed—but according to Haaretz’s Gideon Levy, some of these leaders also used the occasion to serve more contemporary, and unsuitable, ends.
Gideon Levy in Haaretz:
This is the prime minister of a state that arrests hundreds of left-wing protesters against the injustices of the occupation and the war in Gaza, while time grants mass pardons to the right-wingers who demonstrated against the disengagement. In his speech yesterday, Netanyahu’s equating Nazi Germany with fundamentalist Iran was no more than cheap propaganda. Talk about “degrading the Holocaust.” Iran isn’t Germany, Ahmedinejad isn’t Hitler and equating them is no less spurious than equating Israeli soldiers with Nazis.
The Holocaust must not be forgotten, and there is no need to compare it with anything. Israel must take part in the efforts to keep its memory alive, but in doing so it must show up with clean hands, clean of evil of their own doing. And it must not arouse suspicion that it is cynically using the memory of the Holocaust to obliterate and blur other things. Regrettably, this is not the case.