(JTA) — President Barack Obama condemned anti-Semitism in a Holocaust Remembrance Day message.
“It is incumbent upon us to make real those timeless words ‘Never forget. Never again,'” Obama said in the statement released Thursday morning. “Yet even as we recognize that mankind is capable of unspeakable acts of evil, we also draw strength from the survivors, the liberators and the righteous among nations who represented humanity at its best.
“With their example to guide us, together we must firmly and forcefully condemn the anti-Semitism that is still far too common today. Together we must stand against bigotry and hatred in all their forms. And together, we can leave our children a world that is more just, more free, and more secure for all humankind.”
On Thursday morning, Israelis stopped what they were doing and stood at attention for two minutes as a siren wailed throughout the country in memory of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The previous evening, during a ceremony at the Yad Vashem memorial, six Holocaust survivors representing the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazis lit torches after telling their stories in a prerecorded video.
During the ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who used his address to criticize the framework agreement signed earlier this month with Iran on its nuclear program, compared the Islamic Republic to the Nazis.
Obama and Netanyahu have been at odds over the agreement, with Obama saying it is a good diplomatic solution to prevent Iran from manufacturing nuclear weapons and Netanyahu saying it puts Israel, and the rest of the world, in great danger.
“Just as the Nazis hoped to crush a civilization, so Iran strives to take over the region and from there spread onwards, with the stated intention of destroying the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony,
On Yom Hashoah in Israel, places of entertainment are closed and Holocaust themed-movies and documentaries are shown on television channels. Memorial ceremonies are held throughout the country.