JERUSALEM (JTA) – Jews are again being targeted for being Jews, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of International Holocaust Memorial Day.
“Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is more important today than ever, for in this period of resurgent and sometimes violent anti-Semitism, it is commemorations like this that remind us all where the oldest and most enduring hatred can lead,” Netanyahu said in a statement released Tuesday evening.
“Around the world, Jewish communities are increasingly living in fear. We see anti-Semitism directed against individual Jews, and we also see this hatred directed against the collective Jew, against the Jewish state. Israel is targeted with the same slurs and the same libels that were leveled against the Jewish people since time immemorial.”
Netanyahu said that “Islamic extremists incorporate the most outrageous anti-Semitism into their murderous doctrines,” citing the Gaza Strip, Syria and Iran. He also criticized the “obsession with the Jews – the fixation on the Jewish state.”
He said the fact that there is an independent Jewish state means “we can protect ourselves and defend our freedom.”
“When a state like Iran and movements like Daesh (Islamic State] and Hamas openly declare their goal of committing another Holocaust, we will not let it happen,” Netanyahu concluded. “But Europe and the rest of the world must stand up together with us. Not for our sake, for theirs.”