Speech by Moshe Kantor, President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, at the 5th World Holocaust Forum Launch Press Conference. Jerusalem, Israel

On the occassion of:The 5th World Holocaust Forum

Dr. Moshe Kantor’s address

The 5th World Holocaust Forum Launch Press Conference

Bet Hanassi, Jerusalem, 20 November 2019


Dear friends,

Fifteen years ago, I founded the World Holocaust Forum due to a firm belief that through the leaders, through political leadership of the world we can create change.

And I’m really grateful and I admire President Rivlin for his wise vision and active support of the idea to lead the World Holocaust Forum number five in Jerusalem on the platform of Yad Vashem.

If world leaders convene every year in Davos to discuss financial status and in Munich to discuss security status and so on, they should also convene to discuss moral status of the world, to examine the situation of civil societies.and work together to address threats and dangers.

Four Forums were held to date: two in Poland, Ukraine and Czech Republic, bringing together the majority of world leaders, and I’m proud to have the Fifth Forum finally in the capital of Jewish state.

The Holocaust marks the lowest point humans can reach, lower than animals. This lowest point in human behavior and moral status took place in what we thought was a modern and civilized world.

I’m a strong believer that the Holocaust and the waging antisemitism that preceeded it were the reason and a catalyst for the world’s greatest catastrophe ever in the history – the World War II.

The lower the world’s moral status is, the greater the risk of a global catastrophe. And this is why the level of antisemitism in the world, should be used as a moral barometer.

And the Holocaust should be remembered as a lesson that should never be forgotten.

This is what makes it relevant not only to Jews but to the entire world and its leaders.

This pledge ‘to remember and never forget’ – should be global and not Jewish.

This pledge to fight antisemitism and to ensure “Never Again” – should be an international pledge, and not a Jewish one.

As the president of the European Jewish Congress, I can sadly inform you that today, 75 years after the Holocaust, Jewish life in Europe is under threat.

Here in Israel you hear from time to time of terrorist attacks against Jewish centers and synagogues.

But I’m speaking about day-to-day situation of harassments and antisemitic attacks in the streets, in schools, universities and the Internet and social media.

This da-to-day situation has led to a situation where more that 80% of European Jews feel unsafe in Europe.

Eighty-one years ago, the leaders of the world met in Evian to try and find solutions to the great danger they all saw approaching the Jews. And this meeting ended up with no agreement and no result.

This inability to unite in front of the waging antisemitism and threat to Jews, paved the way to the Holocaust and WWII.

When we will be gathering on the 23rd of January not only to remember the past, but to conduct self-examination regarding where we are today, where the world is with regard to its moral barometers, like then so is today if world leaders join together to defeat evil, to stand together, to fight antisemitism then we can promise safe world to all mankind.

But with this self-examination we would like to be practical as well as to ask world leaders for concrete actions against antisemitism, and here are few examples to be adopted by all the countries:

France – adopted very strong legislation against Holocaust denial during the 90’s and later on added legislation against boycott of people and products, based on nationality, confronting the new type of antisemitism – the delegitimization of the Jewish State.

Germany – adopted a law, two years ago against hate speech online, to address the biggest and most challenging platform of antisemitism and racism – in the Internet.

Great Britain – is a model of how to effectively respond to antisemitism by creating a task force, which combines the law enforcement agencies, legal institutions and civil society organizations to effectively coordinate information and actions against this phenomena.

These are just examples, of measures that should be adopted by all countries, which should be generalized.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank all of the leaders who already confirmed their participation and together we will prevail veil.

I want to tell you my dear colleagues that you should have very strong expectations about this coming event. Because there will be a strong synergy between spiritual and content part of this event.

Thank you very much.