‘We are all Jews,’ Obama declares as world marks Holocaust Remembrance Day
“Anti-Semitism is on the rise, we cannot deny it,” the president said during a historic address at Israel’s embassy honoring the Righteous Among the Nations.
US President Barack Obama on Wednesday warned of the growing threat of anti-Semitism, declaring that “any attack on any faith is an attack on all our faiths.”
Speaking at the Israeli embassy in Washington to honor non-Jews who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust, the president declared: “We are all indeed Jews.”
“Anti-Semitism is on the rise, we cannot deny it,” the president said.
“When we see Jews leaving Europe… and attacks on Jewish centers from Mumbai to Kansas; when we see swastikas appear on college campuses, we must not stay silent,” Obama said.
“When any Jew anywhere is targeted, we must all respond as if we are all Jewish… we must all do what we can… we have a responsibility, and as president I will make sure the US is leading the fight against anti-Semitism,” the president said.
Obama’s participation at the event is considered noteworthy particularly due to his historically tense relationship with the Israeli government and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s hand-picked envoy to Washington, Ron Dermer, warmly welcomed the president during his opening remarks.
“This is the first time a sitting president has ever spoken to our embassy,” Dermer said, calling the event a “message of friendship.”
The prime minister sent a video-taped message that was played during the festivities.
“I thank you for your commitment to continue to work with us to bolster Israel’s security,” the premier said, addressing Obama.
Obama warned against the rise of religious intolerance in veiled criticism of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during the event.
The ceremony at the Israeli embassy posthumously honored two Americans and two Polish people who protected Jews from the Nazis during World War Two. The event came on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
His remarks, the first of a sitting US president at Israel’s embassy, were also a sign of lowering tensions between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration. The event was hosted by Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, who helped orchestrate Netanyahu’s speech last year to Congress about the then-pending Iran nuclear deal.
The speech irked the White House. Dermer, at the ceremony on Wednesday, thanked Obama for the message of friendship he conveyed
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