of Our Days
to the Israeli Knesset,
Marking the Struggle Against Anti-Semitsm
By Ariel Sharon
the second year, we mark the day commemorating the State of Israel's
struggle against anti-Semitism. We chose to mark this day of struggle
against anti-Semitism on the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau
death camp, that horrible symbol of the Holocaust.
allies knew of the annihilation of the Jews. They knew and did nothing.
On April 19, 1943, the Bermuda Conference gathered, with the participation
of representatives from Britain and the United States, in order
to discuss saving the Jews of Europe. In fact, the participants
did everything in their power to avoid dealing with the problem.
All the suggestions for rescue operations which the Jewish organizations
presented were rejected. They simply did not want to deal with it.
Bermuda Conference was nothing more than a continuation of the shocking
story of the 'Ship of the Damned,' the Saint Louis, which set sail
from Germany in 1939 with 1,000 Jews who had succeeded in escaping
from the Third Reich on board. The passengers knocked on the doors
of Cuba and ports in the eastern United States, but were refused
sanctuary and were forced to return to the shores of Europe. Most
of them were murdered in the death camps. The leadership of the
British Mandate displayed the same obtuseness and insensitivity
by locking the gates to Israel to Jewish refugees who sought a haven
in the Land of Israel. Thus were rejected the requests of the 769
passengers of the ship Struma who escaped from Europe -- and all
but one found their deaths at sea.
the war, nothing was done to stop the annihilation. When, in the
summer of 1944, the mass deportations in Hungary were carried out,
the allies did not bomb the train tracks which led to Auschwitz
from Hungary, nor the murder facilities in Birkenau, and this was
despite the fact that they had the ability to do so. Allied planes
attacked targets near Auschwitz but they refused to bomb the camp
itself, in which 10,000 Jews were murdered daily. Thus were 618,000
Jews annihilated in a number of weeks -- the Jews of Hungary.
Speaker, the sad and horrible conclusion is that no one cared that
Jews were being murdered.
not put your trust in men in power,' said the poet of the Psalms.
And indeed, during the most terrible, critical hour, those in power
and the declared friends did not lift a finger. This is the Jewish
lesson of the Holocaust and this is the lesson which Auschwitz taught
us, the enchained people.
State of Israel has learned this lesson, and since its establishment
it has done its utmost to defend itself and its citizens, and provide
a safe haven for any Jew, wherever he may be. We know that we can
trust no one but ourselves. This phenomenon of Jews defending themselves
and fighting back is anathema to the new anti- Semites. Legitimate
steps of self-defense which Israel takes in its war against Palestinian
terrorist -- actions which any sovereign state is obligated to undertake
to ensure the security of its citizens -- are presented by those
who hate Israel as aggressive, 'Nazi-like steps.
of the manifestations of anti-Semitism in the past years are no
longer aimed only at Jews as individuals. Rather, they are aimed
at the embodiment of all Jews: the State of Israel, the Jewish state.
As early as 1967, in 'A Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,' Dr. Martin
Luther King wrote that anti-Zionism is no less than disguised anti-Semitism.
'The times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly
a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the anti- Semite must
constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison. He does not
hate the Jews, he is just 'anti-Zionist'! My friend, when people
criticize Zionism, they mean Jews -- make no mistake about it.'
days, the generation that was witness to the horrors is disappearing,
and ignorance is increasing. Fewer people around the world have
heard of the Holocaust or are aware of what happened in Auschwitz,
and the manifestations of anti-Semitism are on the rise. Sixty years
after the liberation of Auschwitz, the evil that gave rise to the
horror still exists and still threatens us.
stands with governments, as well as Jewish and international organizations
around the world, that remember Auschwitz and are determined to
fight this evil uncompromisingly and relentlessly.
will continue to act tirelessly in order to ensure that the memory
of Auschwitz and the lessons of the Holocaust will not be forgotten,
so that Auschwitz will never again return.
is a very small country, blessed with talented and courageous people.
However, it must always be remembered that this is the only place
in the world where we, the Jews, have the right and the capability
to defend ourselves, by ourselves. And we will never relinquish
this. It is our historic responsibility. It is my personal historic
Minister's Bureau, Jerusalem, January 25, 2005
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