PM Netanyahu speaks at Yad Vashem. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) PM Netanyahu speaks at Yad Vashem. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
PM Netanyahu speaks at at the Yad Vashem. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The world is ignoring the looming threats of evil and tyranny and the hard-learned lessons of the Holocaust, Netanyahu warned on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday night at Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem, said that the West has forgotten the lessons of history by showing weakness in the face of evil, which can only lead to more belligerence.

In a speech clearly meant for the ears of world leaders, Netanyahu equated Iran’s extreme ideology and regional expansionism with that of the Nazi regime during World War II.

“Seventy years ago, the bells of freedom rang in the free world [as World War II ended],” he said. “It was not only a day of relief and jubilation. It was a day of great sorrow for our nation, but also a day of reflection for world leaders.”

Having learned the lessons of World War II and the Holocaust, “democracies must not turn a blind eye to the aspirations of tyrannous regimes to expand. A conciliatory attitude toward these regimes only increases their tendency for aggression. And if this aggression is not stopped in time, humanity might find itself in a much bloodier battle,” Netanyahu stated.

“In the years before World War II, the free world tried to appease the Nazi regime, to gain its trust, to curry its favor through gestures,” he continued, but “the price was exacted not long later, and it was too heavy to bear – six million of our people were slaughtered in the Holocaust, and dozens of millions of others were killed in this terrible inferno.”

“There are many around the world who claim that the lessons learned then are still valid today. They affirm: ‘Never again!’ But as long as these announcements are not backed with practical actions – they are meaningless,” the Israeli leader declared. “Did the world really learn a lesson from the inconceivable universal and Jewish tragedy of last century? I wish I could stand here and tell you that the answer to this was yes.”

At this time, “evermore threats challenge the human civilization. Radical Islamic forces are flooding the Middle East” and wreaking havoc in its path, while the extremist regime in Iran is “rushing forward and submerging the Middle East in blood and suffering.”

“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,” the prime minister warned.

‘The Blindness is Immense’

“Everything is out in the open – it is all taking place in broad daylight, in front of cameras. And yet, the blindness is immense,” Netanyahu affirmed.

“’For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples,’ said the Prophet Isaiah. The determination and lessons that were acquired in blood 70 years ago are now dissipating, and the darkness and fog of denying reality are taking their place.”

IDF Holocaust

IDF soldiers stand at a ceremony held at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“The bad deal that is being made with Iran demonstrates that the historic lesson has not been internalized. The West is yielding in the face of Iran’s aggressive actions. Instead of demanding a significant dismantling of the nuclear program in Iran – a country that clearly states its plans to exterminate six million Jews here and elsewhere, to eradicate many countries and many regimes – the superpowers back down,” he charged.

“As the civilized world is lulled into slumber on a bed of illusions, the rulers of Iran continue to encourage subversion and terrorism, and disseminate destruction and death. The superpowers turn a deaf ear to the crowds in Iran shouting: ‘Death to America; Death to Israel.’ They turn a blind eye to the scenes of execution of those who oppose the regime and the members of minority populations. And they hold their silence in the face of the massive arming of terrorist organizations. At the most, they make a halfhearted statement for the record.”

“The bubble of this illusion is going to burst. Democratic governments made a critical mistake before World War II, and we are convinced that they are making a grave mistake now too,” Netanyahu told the assembled.

Israel Will Not Cower in any Situation

However, Israel “will not flinch,” he vowed. “We will continue to insist on the truth, and we will do everything we can to open the eyes that have closed…. We are in the midst of a great battle against the languor, the weakness, the denial of reality – we will stand in full force… Even if we are compelled to stand alone, we will not be afraid. In any scenario, in any situation, we will safeguard our right, we will maintain our ability, we will keep our resolve to defend ourselves.”

“Seventy years ago we were a people of war refugees, powerless and voiceless. Today we express what we have to say, and we are determined to guarantee our existence and our future. It is our duty to fight those who wish to destroy us, not to bow down to them nor to downplay reality. We will not allow the State of Israel to be a passing episode in the history of our nation.”

The Holocaust survivors had nowhere to go, but “today, we have our own country – a flourishing and modern country. A country that imbibes the heritage of our fathers and stands at the forefront of global knowledge. A country that disseminates a great light. A country that has taken charge of its destiny. Seventy years after the valleys of death, we revere the living, the vibrant, the creative, the flourishing.”

“The nation of Israel that has arisen from the hellfire is ready for any challenge.”

“Shake thyself from the dust; put on thy beautiful garments, my people.” The nation of eternity has shaken itself from the dust, returned home, stood tall, established an outstanding country and an outstanding army, the Israel Defense Force, in which our brave and courageous sons and daughters serve.”

“We will remember those who were murdered, we will guarantee life,” he concluded.