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Biden, Blinken commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, call attention to rising anti-Semitism

Biden issues a proclamation naming the week of April 16-23, 2023 as a week of observance of the Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust

US President Joe Biden pays his respects during a ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance, at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, July 13, 2022. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

United States President Joe Biden posted a comment to social media on April 17, marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

“On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we grieve the 6 million Jews and millions of other innocent lives lost during one of the darkest chapters in history,” he wrote. “We can’t redeem the past. But we can commit to building a future where we uphold the values of justice, equality and diversity.”

Biden issued a proclamation over the weekend naming the week of April 16-23, 2023, a week of observance of the Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust. He asked “the people of the United States to observe this week and pause to remember victims and survivors of the Holocaust.” 

Biden also called attention to the increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., saying, “Unfortunately, hatred never truly goes away. It only hides.”

“We have seen this hard truth across our country, from swastikas on cars and antisemitic banners on bridges to attacks against Jewish people at schools and synagogues and outright Holocaust denialism,” he wrote. 

He announced the development of a national strategy to counter anti-Semitism and the appointment of an ambassador-level Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. 

“Hate must have no safe harbor in America or anywhere else,” Biden wrote. “And the violence of antisemitism will not be the story of our time. Together, we can ensure that ‘never again’ is a promise we keep.” 

In March, the Anti-Defamation League released a report showing that anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. last year reached their highest level since the ADL began to collect incident data in 1979. 

Biden also mentioned his visit to Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial complex last year. 

“Last year, I returned to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, to pay tribute to the lives that were stolen during this dark chapter of our history and to honor their memory. I will never forget meeting with two survivors on that sacred ground and hearing their stories,” Biden stated. “The horrors of the Holocaust are painful to recount – the savage murder of innocent families and the systemic dehumanization of entire populations. We remember the cries for help that went unanswered, and the bright futures cut short.” 

Biden said that remembering the Holocaust is becoming more important, as there are fewer Holocaust survivors every year. 

“We must never look away from the truth of what happened. The rite of remembrance becomes more urgent with each passing year, as fewer survivors remain to share their stories and open our eyes to the harms of unchecked hatred,” he said. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a video testimony about his stepfather, Samuel Pisar, who escaped the Nazis after their invasion of Poland until his liberation by U.S. soldiers. He said anti-Semitism foreshadows violence against other minorities. 

“When hatred and violence against Jews spreads, other minorities are rarely far behind,” Blinken said in the video, and warned that the increase in anti-Semitism is part of a historical pattern. 

“Among the most powerful lessons we can learn from the Holocaust is that the mass murder of 6 million Jews was not a sudden or singular act, but rather the culmination of countless incremental steps designed to vilify and dehumanize people,” he said. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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