President Barack Obama was honored Wednesday by the University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation. Filmmaker Stephen Spielberg, who created the foundation, presented the president with the Ambassador for Humanity award.
In his remarks, the president condemned the official anti-Semitism of foreign governments such as Iran.
And that includes confronting a rising tide of anti-Semitism around the world. We’ve seen attacks on Jews in the streets of major Western cities, public places marred by swastikas. From some foreign governments we hear the worst kinds of anti-Semitic scapegoating. In Ukraine, as Steven mentioned, we saw those disgusting pamphlets from masked men calling on Jews to register. And tragically, we saw a shooting here at home, in Overland Park in Kansas.
And it would be tempting to dismiss these as isolated incidents, but if the memories of the Shoah survivors teach us anything, it is that silence is evil’s greatest co-conspirator. And it’s up to us — each of us, every one of us — to forcefully condemn any denial of the Holocaust. It’s up to us to combat not only anti-Semitism, but racism and bigotry and intolerance in all their forms, here and around the world. It’s up to us to speak out against rhetoric that threatens the existence of a Jewish homeland and to sustain America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.
Though he did not mention the country by name, Iran has a long record of “rhetoric that threatens the existence of a Jewish homeland.”
President Obama also lauded Spielberg’s commitment to preserving the memories of the Holocaust, “Steven didn’t stop with Schindler’s List, because there were too many other stories to tell. So he created this foundation to undertake what he called ‘a rescue mission’ — preserving the memories that would otherwise be lost to time.”
Oskar Schindler’s heroism spurred Spielberg to ensure that the Holocaust not be forgotten. More importantly he saved hundreds of Jews who have rebuilt their lives since the end of the Holocaust.
The youngest survivor who was saved by Oskar Schindler, Eva Lavi, now lives in Israel and recently told her story.
Having experienced the horror of the camps, of Auschwitz, all the death and fear, I am always moved when I see our army, our soldiers and our flag. I truly love the IDF with all my heart. Today, Anne, my eldest granddaughter is in the army. I am so proud of her and so happy. The IDF is one of the things I hold most dear. I have two other grandchildren, sons, and I am sure they too will do their military service. I am so proud of them–it fills me with joy.
[Photo: Hollywood Bug / YouTube ]