May 29, 2024
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Bahrain and SWC Host International Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration Led by Israel President Herzog

“The Holocaust exposed a depth of cruelty and despair. Previously unimaginable, yet 80 years later, what was once inconceivable and shocking beyond belief, is currently at times forgotten. The historic truth that was undeniable not long ago, is now called into question by bad people”—Israel President Isaac Herzog

(Courtesy of The Simon Wiesenthal Center) The Simon Wiesenthal Center partnered with The King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence (located in Manama, Bahrain) for a global webinar involving leaders from the Gulf, Indonesia, Israel and the United States, commemorating the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day which takes place every year on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945.

Among the leaders are Israel’s President Isaac Herzog; former Israeli Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who is also a child Holocaust survivor; KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf, general chairman of Indonesia’s 90million-member Nahdlatul Ulama (NU); Rabbi Marvin Hier, CEO and founder of Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance; and Reverend Johnnie Moore, leading American Evangelical pastor and former member of the U.S. Commission for Religious Freedom.

“For us, every day is Holocaust Remembrance Day. That is what motivated Simon Wiesenthal, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Chief Rabbi Lau, and all survivors of the Nazi Holocaust,” stated Rabbi Hier.

In his remarks, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, in part: “Today the minds of many in the international community, beginning with the United Nations itself, also must be liberated. There are too many leaders around the world, even in Europe, who are more than happy to honor the memory of dead Jews without working diligently to protect, respect and honor those Jews who are alive today.”

KH. Yahya Cholil Staquf declared: “From the ovens of Auschwitz and the rubble of two world wars, there emerged a broad-based aspiration to establish a new world order, founded upon the highest civilizational and humanitarian ideals. … We do not have time to wait for anger, hatred and a collective yearning for revenge to subside. Our actions will determine what kind of world our children and grandchildren inherit.”

Chief Rabbi Lau, who was one of the youngest survivors of the Nazi concentration camp, focused on one word: “Why?” He asked it as a starving 5-year-old and he has been haunted by that one word throughout his life. Rabbi Lau was a trailblazing one-person crusader for multifaith interaction who promoted peace with the late King Hussein of Jordan; Sheikh Tantawi, the Grand Mufti of Egypt; Hindu leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar; and Indonesia’s late President Wahid.

Rev. Johnnie Moore stated: “The only way to confront evil isn’t through using brilliant and fancy words … it is through real, deliberate action. Appeasement always fails if you are trying to appease this grotesque form of evil that we saw exhibited in its most potent form in all of human history at the occasion of the Holocaust.”

The co-conveners of the event are: Betsy Mathieson, deputy director of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence (she led the 24 member delegation of Bahrain religious leaders who came to Jerusalem in 2019 at the invitation of the Simon Wiesenthal Center) and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Simon Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean and global social action director, long active in outreach across the Arab and Muslim world.

“Why is an Arab country so interested in dealing with antisemitism? Antisemitism is not something which only affects our Jewish brothers and sisters. Antisemitism is an attack on religious freedom for every faith in the world. … So, we join the world today in asking everyone to fight this horror, this evil, by sharing educational programs, by teaching the lessons of the Holocaust so that this is never repeated,” stated Mathieson.

To view the program please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOEb6YYiBJs

For further information, please email Michele Alkin, director of global communications at [email protected] or Shawn Rodgers at [email protected].

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