At the main ceremony marking the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the Iran nuclear deal and said that more than 70 years after the Nazi extermination of the Jews, the lesson of “Never again” has not been learned.
He criticized those willing to accept the deal easing sanctions on Iran while ignoring Iran’s nuclear, missile and terrorism threat.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 15, 2015 at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. (GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Even though Iran's questionable activities are happening “in the light of day,” Netanyahu said that “the blindness is great.”
The Israeli leader quoted from Isaiah 60:2 to drive home his point that the world is living in darkness: “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the people.”
Netanyahu compared the Europeans who appeased Adolf Hitler during the 1930s – even as he planned to invade his neighbors — to those who are today willing to strike a deal with Iran allowing it to keep its nuclear capability.
“Many in the world declare that the lessons concluded [after the Holocaust] are valid today. They declare, ‘Never again.’ They declare, ‘We won’t ignore the aspirations of violent tyranny.’ They promise to oppose the bad things when they emerge,” Netanyahu said. “But as long as these words aren’t put into practice, they’re meaningless.”
“Did the world really learn from the unfathomable tragedy – the universal and the Jewish — of the last century? I wish I could say the answer was yes,” Netanyahu told the audience which included many Holocaust survivors at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu suggested Western leaders today are blind to Iran’s ambitions and accused them of caving to Iran.
“Iranian leaders are exporting death and destruction. The world is not listening to the calls in Iran urging ‘death to Israel, death to America,’” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu said those pursuing the deal are making a “bitter mistake.” He did not mention President Barack Obama with whom he has a fundamental disagreement on the issue.
"The bad deal with Iran signals that the lessons of the Holocaust have not been learned,” Netanyahu said. "Appeasing these [tyrannical] regimes will only increase their proclivity to aggression and if this aggression won’t be stopped in time, humanity may be dragged into much harsher wars."
The Israeli leader said his country maintains the right to defend itself, even if it has to do it alone.
"Even if we are forced to stand alone against Iran we will not fear. In every circumstance we will preserve our right and our ability to defend ourselves," he said.
Netanyahu recalled that when he met a Holocaust survivor earlier in the day, he was urged to make sure another Holocaust does not happen.
“That is how I see my responsibility,” Netanyahu said.