President Rivlin addresses the Bundestag

January 30, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has addressed Germany’s parliament on Holocaust remembrance and the war on antisemitism, Iranian nuclear plans, the Trump plan and on the Goldin and Shaul families.

President Reuven Rivlin addresses The Bundestag Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Germany did not buy the pardon of the Jews. It is true that the reparations brought life to the young State of Israel. But Germany’s acceptance of responsibility for the Holocaust of the Jews, and the way Germany confronted its crimes – in public, consistently, constantly – these are what allowed, what allow for the new chapter in relations. Israel and Germany walk together, with tension and with courage, between past and present.”

Holocaust remembrance and the war on antisemitism:

“The responsibility that Germany bears Is heavy. It is particularly heavy because today, Europe (like parts of the world at large) is again changing. Europe today is again pursued by the ghosts of the past. Conceptions of superiority, nationalist purity, xenophobia, ugly and blatant antisemitism drift across Europe. From the right to the hard left, antisemitism permeates the heart of European leadership.”

We cannot ignore the old-new antisemitism, the racism and xenophobia directed particularly against Jews, Muslims and foreigners that is once again raising its head.

There is a gap between the investment and the stubbornness, the depth and the unbelievably chronic nature of antisemitism. In the first decades after the Second World War I believed that, after what happened, human understanding of the death and destruction that hatred lead to, would be enough to eradicate antisemitism from the world, forever. Today, I regretfully understand there is no such thing.

Human rights, liberty and human solidarity also went up in smoke from the crematoria at Auschwitz. And that is the most central and jarring message of the Shoah – that Shoah – destruction – can happen.

This is not a war that can be won once and forever. This is a war that we must sign up for generation after generation. To uproot the weeds, wherever they grow, day after day. We must not relent. Germany must not fail. Germany, the place where the Final Solution was envisaged took upon itself the responsibility to defend nationalist-liberal values when they are being eroded by waves of populism. If Germany fails trying to prevent the disaster, others everywhere are likely to fail.

If in the place that the Holocaust of the Jews was born, Jews cannot live freely, they cannot live free of fear anywhere in Europe.

I believe and wish that the people of Germany and its leaders will continue, in the coming decades, to repel hatred and incitement and continue to set an example of leadership for whom commitment to history, responsibility, moderation and toleration, are its guiding lights. I want to express my support for Germany’s leadership, for its courage and its determination, for its loud and clear voice.”

Iranian nuclear plans:

“We do not have the privilege of ignoring either the Iranian leadership’s policy or its rhetoric. We all know well how rhetoric that preaches hatred, hatred of Israel, to destroy it – how dangerous it is. We all know its power.

The threat posed today by the Iranian leadership Is not a theoretical question. For us, it is existential. We are not the ones to describe it like this, but rather the Iranian leadership, which definitively claims that it aims to destroy the State of Israel and declares that our extermination is its political-diplomatic goal. We are not in 1938, but we will not turn a blind eye when they give terrorist organizations on our borders hundreds of aircraft and trucks filled with dangerous weapons, Including precision missiles which have one target – to hit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and other Israeli cities.

In the face of a political vision such as this, a leadership such as this, there is only one possibility: We must isolate it and we must denounce it until its murderous aspirations have been defeated.

The Trump Plan:

“Yesterday in Washington we saw moments that could bring great hope. After long years of diplomatic stalemate, President Trump – a courageous friend of the State of Israel – presented a plan that could allow the two peoples to renew the channels of dialog and make progress towards a shared future. It is no simple matter and both sides need to study the plan in depth. It is a plan that demands deep, difficult and complex concessions from both sides, but we must not give up, for those who surrender, surrender the chance, and I refuse to surrender.

We must think of creative solutions that strengthen security and stability to allow prosperity and growth for both sides, and I hope that this plan will be implemented bearing these principles in mind and will lead to a better reality for us all.”

The Goldin and Shaul families:

“Here with me today are the Goldin and Shaul families. Five and a half years ago, during Operation Protective Edge, IDF Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and First Sergeant Oron Shaul were killed. Their bodies are still held by Hamas. We once again request the assistance of the international community in bringing our boys back home and with them our civilians held in breach of international law and of morality.”

Hadar is the grandson of Holocaust survivors, the third generation. In high school, during his visit with his fellow students to the Auschwitz death camp, Hadar wrote a letter to his family, saying: “I am now getting out of the cattle-car. Like many other Jews like me. They took their final steps. I go from here on the path I was instructed, to flourish out of the ashes.” The Jewish people flourished out of the ashes, and established a Jewish and democratic, Democratic and Jewish state, both values in the same breath.”


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