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memri
August 28, 2018 No.
7644

MEMRI Mourns The Passing Of Senator John McCain

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) mourns the passing of Sen. John McCain. Sen. McCain was a featured speaker at MEMRI's sixth annual commemoration of the establishment of the Tom Lantos Archives on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, which took place April 14, 2015 on Capitol Hill.[1] These archives, the world's largest resource on this subject, include materials from Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Pashtu, Turkish, and Dari media (visit the Archives here).

In his address, Sen. McCain spoke of the importance of Rep. Lantos' "tireless efforts in defending human rights across the world" and of the significance of the Lantos Archives, saying: "This vividly important institution stands as a fitting memorial to a great patriot who knew the dangers and cruelty of despotism and dedicated his life to fighting tyranny and promoting the enduring values that we hold dear."

This report presents Sen. McCain's remarks at the event.

Sen. John McCain At MEMRI's Sixth Annual Capitol Hill Event Of The Lantos Archives On Antisemitism And Holocaust Denial'

View the clip of Senator John McCain's address here or below.

"It's a privilege to be with you today to speak at the annual commemoration of the Tom Lantos Archives on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial. This vividly important institution stands as a fitting memorial to a great patriot who knew the dangers and cruelty of despotism and dedicated his life to fighting tyranny and promoting the enduring values that we hold dear.

"I had the honor of serving in Congress with Congressman Lantos, and his tireless efforts in defending human rights across the world I think had an incredible and indelible impact on me. I will always be thankful for Tom Lantos' leadership and example.

"This Is A Momentous Time To Be Speaking On Antisemitism – As We Look Around The World, We Encounter Upheaval And Conflict Like Never Before"

"My friends, this is a momentous time to be speaking on antisemitism. As we look around the world, we encounter upheaval and conflict like never before. I have often said that the United States and our allies in the international community are facing a more diverse and complex array of crises than we have experienced or faced since the end of World War II.

"Many of the threats emerging from these crises are new and unprecedented. Some we know all too well. From Paris to Brussels and back to the very heartland of Germany, we see the specter of antisemitism re-emerging throughout Europe. The kosher grocery store massacre in Paris; the murder of a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse; attackers throwing Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Wuppertal, Germany; and the terrorist attack that killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels are just a few of the most prominent attacks in a long list of growing violence directed towards the Jewish community.

"While the horror of these attacks have rightly shocked the world's conscience and drawn the condemnation of many world leaders, there have also been smaller, less-noticed incidents that suggest that perhaps antisemitism never really left us: small protests in Germany where marchers yelled 'Gas the Jews'; a shop owner in Belgium who posted a sign saying he would serve dogs but not Jews; and a conductor on a Brussels commuter train who announced a stop at Auschwitz and jokingly ordered all Jews to disembark.

"In France, for example, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the National Front party and a popular politician, has frequently used antisemitic language and puns in his speeches. In Germany, Lutz Bachmann of the anti-immigration Pegida party was photographed posing as Hitler. In Hungary the rise of the Jobbik party under the charismatic leadership of Gabor Vona, who has called on the government to draw up a list of Jews in the country who pose a national security risk, has made antisemitic rhetoric in vogue. And in Greece, a recent survey found that nearly 70 percent of adults hold antisemitic views which are openly expressed by the country's Golden Dawn party. Such rhetoric and behavior from many of Europe's far right parties reveal just how deeply ingrained antisemitism remains.

"While it would be wrong to compare 1933 to today, there is indeed a sense of familiarity there. After so many years of expressing regrets and pledging never again, could it be that we are witnessing a resurgence of antisemitism in our political and economic discourse and that such remarks and actions are becoming increasingly acceptable?

"I Fear That Perhaps Our Historical Memory Is Fading, That 'Never Again' Has Become Another Empty Phrase"

"For a millennium, a poisonous hatred of Jews, including persecution, expulsions, and massacres, were common practice in Europe and elsewhere around the world. Only after the shame of the Holocaust did antisemitism become intolerable. But I fear that perhaps our historical memory is fading, that 'never again' has become another empty phrase.

"This is all too evident in Syria, where the world has watched the brutal massacre of over 300,000 people, but increasingly we see it elsewhere too. And the fact that many within the Jewish community are openly questioning whether it is time for them to leave Europe suggests how deeply we've forgotten our sense of 'never again.'

"Expressions of outrage and promises to fight against antisemitism with all means at our disposal, while necessary, bring little comfort. We all know that we cannot be silent, but we cannot allow words to replace action either. Moral outrage means nothing without the force of action to back it up. This means that all governments, including our own, must be bold in our outrage when we see antisemitism and categorically condemn its expression even when doing so is inconvenient or unpleasant.

"We must, moreover, fully investigate and prosecute incidents of antisemitic violence, publish accurate data on attacks, and work with Jewish communities to assess their security needs and provide protection against violence, including training police and prosecutors and forging productive relationships between law enforcement and affected communities.

"Such measures will help address antisemitism, racist, and violent ideologies, but it's only a start. The need for a broad engagement strategy is urgent and we must do more to challenge those purveyors of hate.

"Make no mistake, there are powerful reasons for America and Europe to prevent the spread of virulent antisemitism in the name of our collective national security interest and the preservation of our democratic values.

"We are deluding ourselves if we believe we can be complacent about rising antisemitism and its propagators without witnessing a weakening of democracy and security around the world. Put simply, these attacks should not just be a source of heartbreak and sympathy to us. They should be a source of moral outrage and a call to action.

"History Has Taught Us That Antisemitism Is Not Just A Threat To The Jewish Community"

"History has taught us that antisemitism is not just a threat to the Jewish community; it is a threat to who we are and who we aspire to be as a people and as nations. Failure to meet the threat posed by rising antisemitism risks unraveling the incredible progress we have made in the wake of World War II toward building a just and peaceful world order based on respect for inalienable rights and dignity.

"Education is the first step. This is where the Tom Lantos Archives on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial play such an invaluable role in disseminating vital and accurate information to create an informed public. But as we recall the horrors of the past, we must recognize that remembrance and awareness are only the start, not the end of our responsibility to confront evil, defend truth, and unite in the face of threats to our peace and security.

"There is a real and present danger posed by the growing strength of antisemitic forces in Europe and other parts of the world. When we saw the horrors of the Holocaust, we said never again and promised that it would finally be the end to the saddest chapter in world history. Shame on all of us if we let facile pledges of 'never again' replace moral outrage and real action.

"With the assistance of this institution and the continuing memory of Tom Lantos, I remain hopeful that we will not let history repeat itself. Thank you very much."