The Latest On The Gathering In Jerusalem Of Dozens Of World Leaders For The World Holocaust Forum

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, Israel, 23 January 2020. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90      *** Local Caption *** טקס אוהל יד ושם שואה ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו

JERUSALEM (AP) – The latest on the gathering in Jerusalem of dozens of world leaders for the World Holocaust Forum, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp (all times Israel local): Post will be updated throughout the event.

7:10 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence has visited Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.

He was accompanied Thursday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer.

After a prayer by the Western Wall’s chief rabbi, Pence, wearing a black skullcap, took a moment of silent reflection and then placed a note inside the crevices of the wall, as is customary. Netanyahu did the same after.

The two of them took photos together and did not comment to reporters.

Pence arrived after delivering comments at the World Holocaust Forum, where dozens of world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron, convened to remember the Nazi genocide and denounce anti-Semitism.

The gathering coincides with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

6:10 p.m.

Britain’s Prince Charles appeared to snub U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during Thursday’s World Holocaust Forum.

As he arrived for the event in Jerusalem, Charles shook hands with the event’s organizer, Moshe Kantor, then walked by Pence, looking him in the face, before continuing on to shake hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Pence stood silently as the prince walked by.

Pence’s office played down the encounter, noting the two men had just met before entering the hall, and that they shook hands following Pence’s speech at the ceremony.

Buckingham Palace declined comment.

5:10 p.m.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has expressed his “deepest sorrow” for the Holocaust while warning that the “spirits of evil” are re-emerging in the form of modern anti-Semitism.

Like other postwar German leaders, he expressed deep remorse on behalf of his country for the killing of 6 million Jews during World War II, as he addressed a Holocaust forum in Jerusalem attended by world leaders. He opened and closed his speech by reciting prayers in Hebrew.

He said: “The spirits of evil are emerging in a new guise, presenting their anti-Semitic, racist, authoritarian thinking as an answer for the future, a new solution to the problems of our age. And I wish I could say that we Germans have learnt from history once and for all. But I cannot say that when hatred is spreading.”

He spoke at the World Holocaust Forum, where dozens of world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence were gathered to remember the Nazi genocide.

The gathering coincides with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

4:35 p.m.

Britain’s Prince Charles says the “lessons of the Holocaust are searingly relevant to this day.”

Addressing the World Holocaust Forum, Charles told fellow participants Thursday “that if we don’t make the connection between memories of past atrocities and the present there isn’t any point to it.”

The British heir to the throne is one of several world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, attending the forum, which this year coincides with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Like other speakers, Charles peppered his address with words in Hebrew. He warned that “hatred and intolerance still lurk in the human heart.”

“The magnitude of the genocide that was visited upon the Jewish people defies comprehension and can make those of us living in the shadows of those indescribable event feel helplessly inadequate.”

But he warned that “the Holocaust must never be allowed to become simply a fact of history.

4:25 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says anti-Semitism is “once again rearing its violent head” and is not only a problem for Jews.

Addressing world leaders at an international Holocaust forum in Jerusalem on Thursday, Macron said anti-Semitism is “first and foremost the problem of others.” He added that “in our history, anti-Semitism always preceded the weakening of democracy.”

He was speaking at the World Holocaust Forum, which brings together dozens of heads of state and coincides with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Macron inveighed against Holocaust denial, saying the murder of 6 million Jews is “not some history you can play with or distort.” He also said “no one has the right to use the memory of the dead to justify some kind of contemporary hatred.”

He said another lesson of the Holocaust was that “Europe must be unified and never forget, and never fall into conflict again.”

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3:55 p.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is calling on world leaders to confront Iran.

Addressing the World Holocaust Forum, Pence told fellow participants Thursday to “confront and expose the vile tide of anti-Semitism” around the world.

“In that same spirit, we must also stand strong against the leading state purveyor of anti-Semitism, against the one government in the world that denies the Holocaust as a matter of state policy and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The world must stand strong against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Pence’s remarks received a loud applause from the Israeli audience. Israel considers Iran to be its greatest enemy.

Pence spoke emotionally about the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators.

“Today we gather, nearly 50 nations strong here in Jerusalem to say with one voice ‘never again,’” he said, drawing more applause.

He ended his speech with a Hebrew prayer for peace, receiving another loud ovation.

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3:50 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Holocaust was “one of the most terrible chapters of human history.”

In an address to the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem on Thursday, Putin said “we remember all the victims of the Nazis, including 6 million Jews who died in camps.”

He claimed 40% of Jewish Holocaust victims were Soviet citizens, something contested by historians. He said the Red Army, which liberated many of the Nazi death camps, had “put an end to these crimes.”

Putin is one of several world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, attending the forum, which this year coincides with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by Soviet forces.

Of the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis, historians say about 1 million were Soviet. Putin’s controversial figure appears to include an additional 1.5 million Jewish victims from eastern European areas occupied by the Soviets under their pre-war pact with the Nazis.

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3:15 p.m.

Israel’s prime minister is calling on world powers to confront Iran, comparing it to Nazi Germany in a speech before the World Holocaust Forum.

Benjamin Netanyahu said at Thursday’s ceremony that he was “concerned that we have yet to see a unified and resolute stance against the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet.”

He went on to thank President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who was in attendance, for confronting the “tyrants of Tehran.” He called on other governments to join the “vital effort of confronting Iran.”

He spoke at the World Holocaust Forum, a gathering of dozens of world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron. The forum coincides with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Israel has long viewed Iran as its greatest threat.

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2:40 p.m.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is thanking world leaders for expressing their “solidarity with the Jewish people” by attending the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem.

He spoke on Thursday at the start of the ceremony, where several world leaders were expected to address the remembrance of the Holocaust and condemn modern-day anti-Semitism.

Rivlin says that “anti-Semitism does not stop with the Jews,” and calls anti-Semitism and racism a “malignant disease.” He added that “no democracy is immune.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Prince Charles, Vice President Mike Pence and the presidents of Germany, Italy and Austria were among the more than 40 dignitaries attending the forum, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

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1:55 p.m.

Israel’s prime minister says the Soviet “sacrifice and contribution” during World War II should not be obscured.

Benjamin Netanyahu made the remarks at a Jerusalem ceremony dedicating a memorial for the 900-day siege of Leningrad. He highlighted that millions of Soviet residents were killed during the war.

He said: “We mustn’t for even one second blur the sacrifice and the contribution of the former Soviet Union” in defeating “the Nazi monster.”

Thursday’s ceremony was taking place ahead of a gathering of world leaders commemorating 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. The event has been marred by squabbles over the rival historical narratives of World War II.

Netanyahu’s comments came after visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin ventured into the charged battle by claiming that 40% of Jewish Holocaust victims were Soviet, a figure disputed by historians.

Poland’s president skipped Thursday’s event to protest the central role given to Putin. Poland, which has been criticized for its own wartime revisionism, accuses Putin of unfairly blaming it for the war’s outbreak.

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12:45 p.m.

Israeli and Russian officials are attending a dedication ceremony for a monument honoring the nearly 900-day Nazi siege of Leningrad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a guest at the Jerusalem ceremony, which is taking place on Thursday ahead of the largest-ever gathering focused on commemorating the Holocaust and combating modern-day anti-Semitism.

Leningrad, now known as St. Petersburg, is Putin’s hometown.

Earlier, Putin ventured into the charged battle over the rival historical narratives of World War II by claiming that 40% of Jewish Holocaust victims were Soviet. Of the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis, historians say about 1 million were Soviet.

Putin has been leading a campaign to play down the Soviet Union’s pre-war pact with the Nazis and focus instead on its role in defeating them.

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12:30 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ventured into the charged battle over the rival historical narratives of World War II by claiming that 40% of Jewish Holocaust victims were Soviet.

It was the latest chapter in a bitter dispute over Soviet actions in World War II. Putin has been leading a campaign to play down the Soviet Union’s pre-war pact with the Nazis and focus instead on its role in defeating them.

Of the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis, historians say about 1 million were Soviet. Putin appeared to be adding an additional 1.5 million Jewish victims from eastern European areas occupied by the Soviets under their pact with the Nazis.

Putin is in Jerusalem for the largest-ever gathering focused on commemorating the Holocaust. But it has been marred by the historical squabbles.

Poland’s president skipped Thursday’s event to protest the central role given to Putin. Poland, which has been criticized for its own wartime revisionism, accuses Putin of unfairly blaming it for the war’s outbreak.

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11:55 a.m.

Russia’s president has praised Israel’s efforts to commemorate World War II and has called for an end to anti-Semitism.

Vladimir Putin made the remarks in a meeting on Thursday with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Putin is among dozens of world leaders visiting Jerusalem to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. He will also attend a dedication ceremony for a monument honoring the nearly 900-day Nazi siege of Leningrad.

The unresolved remnants of World War II’s politics have permeated the solemn assembly over the differing historical narratives of various players. Nationalist governments in Russia and Poland have sought to use their own interpretation of the past for contemporary political gain.

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11:30 a.m.

Russia’s president has told the mother of an Israeli tourist jailed in Russia that “everything will be alright.”

But Vladimir Putin on Thursday stopped short of a hoped-for pardon for Naama Issachar, teh Israeli backpacker who has been held for months in Russia. She has been accused of carrying a few grams of hashish.

Issachar’s mother, Yaffa, attended a meeting with Putin and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Putin made the remarks in a statement after the meeting, with Yaffa and Netanyahu by his side.

Putin is in Israel on a brief visit where he will attend a dedication ceremony of a monument honoring the nearly 900-day Nazi siege of Leningrad. He will also attend an event marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

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11:10 a.m.

Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial has questioned the offer by the Ukrainian president to give up his delegation’s seats to include more Holocaust survivors at a major gathering of world leaders in Jerusalem.

In a statement on Thursday, Yad Vashem called Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s gesture “odd,” saying it explained to him that survivors who expressed interest in attending the event were invited and that “it is impossible to trouble survivors in the current conditions.” It said it was “a shame that he took such a step.”

Dozens of world leaders are attending the largest-ever gathering focused on commemorating the Holocaust and combating modern-day anti-Semitism.

Event organizers have come under criticism for not sufficiently including Holocaust survivors and instead focusing on the panoply of visiting dignitaries. In response, Zelenskiy tweeted that his delegation was giving up its seats to allow more survivors to attend.

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10:50 a.m.

Israel’s president is meeting with Britain’s Prince Charles ahead of a gathering in Jerusalem marking 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Charles is among dozens of presidents, heads of state and dignitaries who have descended upon the city to attend the largest-ever gathering focused on commemorating the Holocaust and combating modern-day anti-Semitism.

President Reuven Rivlin thanked Charles for attending Thursday’s gathering.

The three-hour-long event at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial looks to project a united front in commemorating the genocide of European Jewry amid a global spike in anti-Jewish violence in the continent and around the world.

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10:35 a.m.

Israel’s prime minister is meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of a gathering in Jerusalem marking 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Ahead of their meeting on Thursday, Benjamin Netanyahu praised the ties between Israel and Russia, which have grown closer since Russia began its involvement in the war in neighboring Syria.

During Putin’s visit, Netanyahu will dedicate a monument honoring the the nearly 900-day Nazi siege of Leningrad. The city, now known as St. Petersburg, is Putin’s hometown.

Putin also plans to meet with the mother of an Israeli tourist who was jailed in Russia for carrying a few grams of hashish. Her mother told reporters earlier Thursday she was optimistic that her daughter, Naama, would be pardoned.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Since we know that everything comes from HKB”H, therefore we must teach ourselves and our children to have Sincere love and empathy for all decent people of Non-Jewish Ethnicities. But it has to be Sincere not a fake act.
    This will be M’oirer Rachmei Shomayim, under the the principle of Middoh Kneged Middoh, and HKB”H will, Never-Again, instigate any Hatred or Pogroms or Holocausts from other Ethnicities against us.

    • I can appreciate your sincerity, and kindness to all mankind is certainly A virtue inherent in Judaism. I also understand your underlying point that Holocaust conventions and remembrance days won’t change anything.. However, trying to “trick” hashem and “force” his hand with novel ideas, such as yours, won’t either change anything. The Torah is very clear why atrocities happen to klal Yisroel. One just needs to read the tochacha and see it spelled out. Atrocities happen when we turn away from hashem and his Torah. Being kind to other ethnicities is great, but is only a small part of the larger picture.

  2. Such a Shanda! This show is doing nothing to elevate the neshomas of the k’doshim. When asked if something is good for the Jews, or unfortunately not, THIS is unfortunately not.

    What do we gain from a goy saying kaddish? As much as I like Mike Pence, I’m sorry but this is not the place. This is not the place for all the goyim to practice their Hebrew on Brochos etc.

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