Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein addressed a special session of European parliament marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, and accused EU leaders of contradictory approaches to fighting anti-Semitism in Europe while repeatedly condemning Israel.
Edelstein praised efforts to combat anti-Semitism but said that public rebuke for Israel contradicted messages coming from many elected officials.
“The efforts to combat anti-Semitism and protect the Jews of Europe are sincerely appreciated,” Edelstein said at the Brussels ceremony. “But what is the message when elected officials march with the Jewish community one day, and against Israel the next?”
The speaker declared that when leaders embrace the Jewish leaders “in solidarity after a hate-crime and then treat Hamas as a legitimate voice. When an attack is condemned as anti-Semitic and then condemns Israel for fabricated war crimes.”
“These contradictory messages do not build trust. Instead they prevent us from meeting our joint obligations,” he said.
Edelstein also chided an EU delegation that recently traveled to Tehran for failing to condemn a Holocaust denial cartoon contest hosted in Tehran.
“I’m sure, and correct me if I’m wrong, that during that visit no one protested the international cartoon contest taking place in Tehran for the best caricature denying the Holocaust,” Edelstein said, brandishing the contest’s first prize winner — an old fashioned cash register with a sketch of Auschwitz at the top.
“It’s about Jews exploiting the Holocaust to get money,” he said, noting that the illustrator came from France.
“For ‘Never Again’ to really mean ‘Never Again’, consistent and sincere actions are necessary,” Edelstein said. “Anti-Semitism, wherever it rears its ugly head, for whatever reason, is wrong and must be fought at every turn. Writing off such acts as mere opposition to Israel is absurd.”
“Anti-Semitism has no excuse. not religion, not poverty, not lack of education, and not political disagreements,” he said.
Edelstein also thanked the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“In Jerusalem the Jewish people made their mark on the world, therefore it was meaningful to us, that last month, one country, the United States, chose to recognize the capital of Israel after 70 years of independence,” said Edelstein.”Acknowledging both our ancient heritage and our modern history, I welcome all of you to do the same.”
Edeltsein told the story of his own father who survived the Holocaust and asserted that though memorials are being constructed across the world, anti-Semitism still runs rampant.
“Yet, for all the work that has been done I feel that the post war sense and mission has faded, leaving the real issues unaddressed,” said Edelstein.
Edelsetin asked the European parliament “what has been learned from all the memorials if synagogues across Europe need round the clock protection?”
“Is Holocaust education effective if Jews on this continent don’t wear a kippah or a Star of David necklace for fear of attack?” said the speaker.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be commemorated on January 27. Israel memorializes its national tragedy separately, in memory of the six million Jews who were slaughtered under Nazi rule.
The article was published on I24news