New York, NY

Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, was invited to address the closing dinner in Krakow, Poland concluding the commemoration of the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, which brought almost half of the Knesset, top leaders of Israel including Ministers and Supreme Court Justice, members of Congress led by U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and many European parliamentarians. The historic event, sponsored by Out of the Depths, included a visit to the exhibitions at Auschwitz and a memorial service at Birkenau with additional meetings of parliamentarians and the closing event, at which Mr. Hoenlein spoke.


In his remarks, Mr. Hoenlein asked, “Why do we return to these fields soaked with the blood of millions of Jews? Why do we remember? The importance of the commemoration is not to get lost in history, but to learn its lessons and apply them to the future.” He said, “In Judaism, history is as much about the future as it is about the past,” and cited Winston Churchill, who once said, “the further back you look, the further ahead you will see.” “Our sages,” Mr. Hoenlein said, “taught this to us more than 1,000 years ago.” He said, “We have enough memorials for dead Jews. It is time for the world to stand up for living Jews and a vibrant, vital Jewish state of Israel.” He noted the rise of extremist parties in Europe and the global campaign of Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) aimed at delegitimizing Israel and denying Jews, as well as the Jewish state, the fundamental rights accorded others. He stated, “‘Never Again’ is not a hollow slogan to be shouted at rallies, but a solemn pledge that should be renewed by every generation, by Jew and non-Jew alike. It requires that we speak up and act on behalf of all peoples subjected to persecution.” He cited the killing of thousands of Christians from Malaysia to Damascus, and Nigeria to Tehran, with little reaction from the international community. “‘Never Again’ is a pledge to our children and grandchildren that they will not be subjected to the barbaric actions by the likes of the Nazis and their collaborators and the indifference of the so-called civilized world. The BDS delegitimization campaign resurrects themes and tactics that were employed 70 years ago. It is critical that we learn the lessons of the past and do everything to assure our children and grandchildren and their grandchildren a secure future,” Hoenlein said.




The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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