Here’s video of Barack Obama’s comments at the Israel 60 bash put on by the Israeli Embassy in D.C. (The previous ambassador might not be such an Obama fan, but Israel’s current guy in D.C. likes the Democratic front-runner enough to have given him a hug at the end.)
Here are the respective Israeli Independence Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day statements put out by Obama and Hillary Clinton (wonder what William Kristol will make of them)…
Obama on Holocaust Remembrance Day:
Today, we remember the light that was brought into the world by each of the six million Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust, as well as the terrible darkness of the Nazi genocide. We also renew our commitment to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism everywhere, and to stand up against extremism and prejudice of any form.
Let us resolve to confront genocide and work to prevent mass atrocities, beginning with greater action to stop the killing in Darfur. And let us stand with the Jewish State of Israel, a strong and resilient democracy that emerged out of the shadow of the Holocaust, but which still has enemies that threaten its destruction.
The years may pass, but our memory of the Holocaust will never fade. Instead, it guides our commitment to honor those who were lost, recall the crimes that were committed, and work for a more just, peaceful, and hopeful future for all people.
Clinton on Holocaust Remembrance Day:
“This week, we remember the millions of men, women, and children who perished during the Holocaust; and as we do, we ask, ‘What must we do to ensure that this kind of destruction will never happen again?’
“We reflect on the lives that were lost, the courage of those who stood up to the Nazis, like the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; and those of all faiths who risked everything to save lives. On this somber day, I am also reminded of the Holocaust survivors that came to this country, and who have greatly enriched our nation with their talent, energy, and dreams. Their stories and their willingness to share them will guarantee that future generations will never forget.
“The lessons of the Holocaust call us to act. As my friend, Elie Wiesel, said, ‘…to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all…’ Let us today renew our pledge that we will not be indifferent to moral injustice in the world; that we will not remain silent; and that we will speak out against crimes against humanity, threats of extermination, and genocide, such as that now being perpetuated in Darfur. We must act so that we may truly say to the world, ‘Never again.’”
Obama on Independence Day:
This week marks the 60th anniversary of the fulfillment of a dream – the independence of the State of Israel. Throughout many centuries, Jews held fast to the hope of returning as free people to the land of their ancestors. Blessed with visionary leaders like Theodore Herzl and David Ben-Gurion, in the 20th century they began to take the practical steps necessary to build a modern state. Against all odds, and overcoming obstacles from international indifference, to hostile opposition in the region, to the murderous crimes of the Nazis, the leaders of the Zionist movement declared the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948. In their moment of triumph, they were immediately plunged into a war for their new nation’s very survival. Because of the courage and commitment of its people, Israel did survive. While threats to its existence have endured, Israelis have built their nation into a strong, vibrant democracy, with a prosperous economy, a rich cultural life, and a deep friendship with the United States that benefits both our peoples in so many ways. Even in hard times, Israelis have so much to be proud of. As the Jewish State continues to grow and prosper, the United States will always stand with Israel to ensure it can defend itself against threat of terrorism and violence, from as close as Gaza and as far as Tehran. We must never waver in our unshakeable commitment help Israel achieve its goal of true security through lasting peace with its neighbors.
On this happy occasion, I send congratulations and warm wishes to President Peres, Prime Minister Olmert, and the Israeli people, and I join with Jews and friends of Israel everywhere in celebrating Israel’s 60th Independence Day.
Clinton on Independence Day:
I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the people of Israel on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment as a state and homeland for the Jewish people, and I join all the friends of Israel who celebrate today with joy and pride.
Emerging after the tragedy of the Holocaust, the Jewish State was reborn after two thousand years, fulfilling the biblical prophecy of a return to Zion. Since then, in just three score years, Israel has welcomed Jewish exiles from Europe, the Arab world, Africa, and the former Soviet Union.
From my first trip to Israel in 1982 to my most recent visit in 2005, I have seen for myself Israel’s achievements – and its challenges. The people of Israel, proud and free and always triumphing in the face of adversity, have built a strong and vibrant democracy, a diverse and rich society, and an innovative and thriving economy.
Yet today, even as we celebrate all that Israel has achieved, we know that the Jewish state is still not safe. In every generation, Israel faces serious challenges to its security and threats to its existence. And just as the United States recognized Israel at birth, and has always stood by Israel when its survival and well-being were challenged, so too do the American people stand by Israel today, united by shared values and strong bonds of friendship.
As President of the United States, I will be proud to continue and strengthen these bonds, so that the State of Israel will continue to grow, from generation to generation, in security and peace.
Am Yisrael Chai! (the people of Israel live!)