President to ‘Post’: No guarantee against another Holocaust

By David Horovitz January 27, 2005

‘I do have doubts that the world, humankind, will always remember the lessons,’ says Katsav en route to ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

KRAKOW – On the eve of Thursday’s ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, President Moshe Katsav has warned that there are no guarantees against another Holocaust ‘in future generations,’ and urged European leaders to use their influence in every possible forum to galvanize public opinion against renewed anti-Semitism.

Speaking at length to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday’s plane journey from Tel Aviv to Krakow, the president said that while there was ‘no doubt that the Jewish people will remember the Holocaust forever, I do have doubts that the world, humankind, will always remember the lessons.’

The reawakening of anti-Semitism in Europe ‘is not a danger [right now] to the existence of the Jewish people,’ he said. But he stressed that ‘the Holocaust was the peak of developments that had started decades earlier.’

While the Jewish people in this generation was not in existential danger, therefore, he said, ‘it could happen again in future generations. There is no innate block. There is no certainty it won’t happen. Good-heartedness, democracy, universal values – none of these has stopped anti-Semitism.’

An advance copy of the president’s planned speech at Thursday’s Auschwitz-Birkenau ceremony underlines his concern. In the speech, Katsav will warn that ‘human progress and technology do not ensure the prevention of totalitarianism,’ and that ‘we ought not to place our hope in mankind’s resilience.’

Rather, he will say, ‘The world leadership is responsible for the fate of humanity.’

Similarly, talking to the Post, Katsav urged European and world leaders to speak out against anti-Semitism at every opportunity. He also called for new legislation and the enforcement of existing legislation against anti- Semitism, and an increased educational emphasis on its dangers.

Asked whether he shared the assessment, recently aired by former chief rabbi Yisrael Lau (who is traveling in the president’s delegation) that there was now no future for Europe’s Jews, Katsav said simply: ‘The Jews are leaving Europe. And the Moslems are coming. Europe can decide which community has made a greater contribution… Judaism will only be remembered in Europe in terms of history – 1,000 years of cooperation. European Jewry will never again be what it was.’

Turning from external hatreds to internal tensions, Katsav urged leaders of the anti-disengagement camp to speak out firmly and unequivocally against violence, and to eschew slogans accusing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of committing ‘crimes against humanity’ or ‘endangering the state,’ since this could prompt ‘Yigal Amir types’ to attempt acts of extremism.

Still, he stressed, while extremists could wreak terrible harm, they could not lead a movement to civil war and he had no fear of such a war.

Generally, the opponents of disengagement and of Palestinian statehood had ‘higher values,’ he said. ‘They value the well-being and unity of the people more highly than the entire Greater Land of Israel.’

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