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Every day is Holocaust Day in Israel

Netanyahu talks about Iran every single day. Today was the one day he shouldn’t have. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks at Yad Vashem during the Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony, April 15, 2016. (photo: Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks at Yad Vashem during the Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony, April 15, 2016. (photo: Haim Zach/GPO)

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. But if someone had landed here from another planet, they wouldn’t necessarily catch on. They might find it hard to  commemorate the Jewish lives taken in Europe during World War II, and instead be preoccupied with Iran’s nuclear program.

On Thursday night, as businesses closed throughout the country, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum. Standing on the podium, among the few survivors that are still alive, he took the opportunity to talk about Iran, and why the deal being formulated with world powers to curb its nuclear program is a bad one:

“Just as the Nazis aspired to crush civilization and to establish a ‘master race’ to replace it in controlling the world while annihilating the Jewish people, so too does Iran strive to gain control over the region, from which it would spread further, with the explicit intent of obliterating the Jewish state.”

Never mind that this is an inaccurate and unconvincing comparison. Never mind that everyone on this planet already knows Netanyahu’s position on Iran and the agreement regarding its nuclear program. Never mind that Iran’s support for terrorist groups is bad enough without the need to compare it to Nazism. Netanyahu’s politicization of the Holocaust in an insult to all its victims and those affected by it. As if the genocide of Jews wasn’t a singular and horrible enough historical event that deserves its own place.

At the same event, President Rivlin subtly but explicitly countered Netanyahu’s fear mongering approach, trying to dissociate the Holocaust from the State of Israel and any of the state’s current politics.

“Some mistakenly believe the [establishment of] the State of Israel was compensation for the Holocaust. But there is no mistaken belief more terrible than this. The [establishment of] the State of Israel was not compensation for the Holocaust. It was established out of a love and longing for an ancient homeland by virtue of a dream that came true, a dream that became a reality, not out of fear of annihilation nor hatred for the other.”

Of all days, today should have been the one day in the entire year that Netanyahu took a break from his crusade against the Iran deal, and allowed the Holocaust its rightful place in the state’s collective memory.

As my colleague Orly Noy joked on her Facebook page, “Netanyahu managed to introduce a new holiday into the Israeli calendar: Memorial Day for Iran and Fallen Heroes.”

With Netanyahu, we don’t need Holocaust Day, because thanks to him every day here is Holocaust Day.

We can no longer deny the Holocaust of Libya’s Jews
Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel: Something’s missing
How Israel can stop a nuclear arms race in the Middle East

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    1. Phil

      Everyday is holocaust day for the Palestinians.. they’re still paying for the genocide

      Reply to Comment
    2. Craig

      Yet another disgusting diatribe from the race baiting, fear mongering head of the snake who wants conflict in perpetuity in order to advance his goals of a greater Israel at the expense of Palestinians. A war with Iran fought with American blood and treasure would suit Bibi just fine as he could then continue the rape of Palestinian lands while the world is busy looking elsewhere. Bibi has lost his touch here in America despite the kow towing of Congress. Poll after poll shows the American public aligning against Netanyahu and his penchant for conflict. I say give him his war but let him lead the sons and daughters of Israel into it and not look for others to fight his battles. In all of this Iranian conversation we in the West never hear a peep about the 100 or so nuclear devices in the hands of the IDF 99 of them pointed towards Tehran and one at Washington DC for spite! Just today a news story about the idea of Episcopalians deciding to divest their holdings in Israeli companies who benefit by the subjugation Palestinians, was front page news. While there are indeed voices on the left within Israel who call for peace and reconciliation, and even a withdrawal to the 67′ borders. Those voices are rarely if ever heard here in the states for various reasons. Not the least of which has been AIPAC. Bibi’s show of disrespect when he visited to chastise Obama was not lost on many folks here and his cries of ” Wolf” are beginning to fall on deaf ears for the first time in our long and supportive role of Israel. Many have the feeling Bibi ( like many a republican ) lives for war and actually thrives on the prospect. He may end up getting his wish too. The only variant from the past is that he will have to fight it himself.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav


        “PRINCETON, N.J. — Even as relations between the leaders of Israel and the United States reportedly deteriorate over disagreement about how to handle Iran’s nuclear program, Israel has retained its broadly favorable image in the U.S. over the past year. Seventy percent of Americans now view that country favorably, and 62% say they sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians in the Mideast conflict. By contrast, 17% currently view the Palestinian Authority favorably, and 16% sympathize more with the Palestinians.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          It’s no secret that young Americans are less unwaveringly “pro-Israel” than their elders. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center poll, while a majority of Americans over 65 say they sympathize primarily with Israel, among Americans under 30 it drops to just over one-in-three, with a plurality of respondents saying they sympathize with both sides.

          The Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t a pivotal issue in American politics. But Iran is, and the generational divide is just as strong. The Iraq War was a far more disillusioning experience for young Americans than for their elders, and you can see Iraq’s legacy in the polling on Iran, where according to a 2012 Pew poll, Americans under 30 were thirty points more likely than Americans over 65 to prioritize “avoid[ing] military conflict” with Tehran over “tak[ing] a firm stand” against its nuclear program. When I asked the indispensable folks at Pew to break down the age gaps within the parties, they found that young Republicans were almost as anti-war as old Democrats. Which helps explain why, in the 2012 Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary, Republicans under 30 favored anti-interventionist Ron Paul over his nearest challenger by a margin of almost two to one

          Reply to Comment
        • Ben


          Age also is a factor in Middle East sympathies: Just 36% of those younger than 30 sympathize more with Israel, while 19% sympathize more with the Palestinians. A relatively large share of young people (37%) either offer no opinion (34%) or say they sympathize with both sides (3%). Among older age groups, there is more support for Israel: 47% of those 30 to 49 sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, as do majorities of those 50 to 64 (59%) and 65 and older (54%).

          Reply to Comment
    3. Liz

      However much land Israel gobbles up, however many millions of people it manages to deprive of their individual rights and subjugate to Israel’s wishes, he’ll still feel threatened. He’s simply eaten up with fear. Poor fellow!

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        As David Attenborough said, “Nothing in the natural world makes sense – except when seen in the light of evolution.” If more than four in 10 Americans believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, then huge numbers of Americans are massively ignorant. Ignorant of everything we know about the evolution of life on this planet, ignorant of the fundamental facts irrefutably established by modern science with absolutely massive evidence. And not the slightest scrap of evidence to the contrary. So that makes Americans massively ignorant. So what large numbers of Americans think they know and believe about Israel-Palestine has to be taken with a mountain-sized grain of salt. Who cares? Except as evidence that the USA simply cannot function as an evenhanded broker. It never has. It’s highly doubtful it ever will. Therefore the fate of Israel-Palestine will increasingly be taken out of its hands. Unless the trends in the youth I noted above continue apace and at a fast enough pace. In that case, never mind.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          I don’t deny the theory of evolution. But I have news for you, Benny. That theory does not preclude the idea that God is behind it all. By God, I mean a creator who is way beyond our understanding.

          I know I cannot prove it. I also know that you can’t disprove it. It is what is known as a hypothesis. And the scientific process relies on all sorts of hypotheses. Some of which get proven, some get disproven while many remain as hypotheses.

          But who are Americans to argue with your giant intellect, Benny (sarcasm)?

          Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          Ben: “If more than four in 10 Americans believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, then huge numbers of Americans are massively ignorant.”

          Can we apply the same logic to Palestinian Arabs?

          Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        I believe that God created humans much more than 10,000 years ago and I am not even religious. Not the least religious in fact.

        I take it you don’t believe that God created humans, Benny?

        Reply to Comment
    4. The Sarcastic One

      I sort of agree with the author. The Mad Mullahs will never dream to use their future nucler weapons on Israel because they are nice moderate people in actuality.

      Reply to Comment