Vice President Mike Pence commemorated the victims of the Holocaust on Thursday in a speech in Jerusalem, saying the world must stand strong against anti-Semitism and against Iran’s threats to annihilate Israel.
“Today we remember what happens when the powerless cry for help and the powerful refuse to answer,” Mr. Pence said at the fifth annual World Holocaust Forum, attended by about four dozen world leaders. “We have the responsibility and the power to ensure that what we remember here today can never happen again.”
The forum commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-controlled southern Poland, where more than 1.1 million people perished.
“As my wife and I can attest firsthand, from this past year, one cannot walk the grounds of Auschwitz without being overcome with emotion and grief,” Mr. Pence said.
He said nations must be prepared, as were the heroes who fought the Holocaust, to stop “the wave of their times.”
“We must be prepared to confront and expose the vile tide of anti-Semitism that is fueling hate and violence all across the world. And we must stand together,” the vice president said.
The presidents of France and Germany also warned about rising anti-Semitism in their countries.
“Anti-Semitism, I say it here clearly, is not only the problem of Jews. No. It is first and foremost the problem of others,” said French President Emmanuel Macron. “Because each time in our history, anti-Semitism always preceded the weakening of democracy, it translated our inability to accept others. It is always the first form of rejection of the other. And when anti-Semitism appears, all racism spreads. All divisions propagate. Nobody comes out of this winning.”
To applause, Mr. Pence called on the world to “stand strong against the leading state purveyor of anti-Semitism, against the one government in the world that denies the Holocaust as a matter of state policy and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The world must stand strong against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
He said the forum honors “the memory of all the Allied forces, including more than 2 million American soldiers, who left hearth and home, suffered appalling casualties, and freed a continent from the grip of tyranny.”
Mr. Pence also paid tribute “to the memory of those non-Jewish heroes who saved countless lives — those the people of Israel call the ‘righteous among the nations.’”
“In an age of indifference, they acted,” he said. “In an age of fear, they showed courage. And their memory and their example should kindle anew the flame of our hearts to do the same in our time.”
During the forum, Mr. Pence shook hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who attended the sessions with French President Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders. Later, Mr. Pence met with embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.