Israel, US compare Iran to Nazis at Holocaust event
Israel and the United States on Thursday called for action against Iran, comparing it to the threat once posed by Nazi Germany, as world leaders marked 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.
"There will not be another Holocaust," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Jerusalem gathering of more than 40 heads of state and government, slamming what he called "the tyrants of Tehran".
He lamented that "we have yet to see a unified and resolute stance against the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet, a regime that openly seeks to develop nuclear weapons and annihilate the one and only Jewish state".
In a similar vein, US Vice President Mike Pence urged the international community to "stand strong" against Iran, calling it the sole country where Holocaust denial is "state policy".
Tehran denies it is trying to produce a nuclear bomb and rejects accusations of anti-Semitism, insisting that while it opposes the Jewish state and supports the Palestinian cause, it has no problem with Jewish people -- including its own Jewish minority.
Pence and other leaders from dozens of countries were at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre for the biggest international diplomatic gathering ever held in Israel, to remember the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp where the Nazis killed more than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews.
Shai Franklin, the former Executive Director of the World Jewish Congress, criticized Netanyahu on Twitter for his comments about Iran, saying that the Israeli prime minister was trying to turn the Holocaust into a "cheap political gimmick".
European leaders who gathered to mark the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation and honor the Jewish State have been rebuked by Bibi & Trump for backing JCPOA that kept Iran from obtaining nukes. This was not the place, likening Khamenei to Hitler dishonors the 6 million.— Shai Franklin (@shaifranklin) January 24, 2020
At Auschwitz itself on Thursday, a group of Muslim and Jewish leaders paid a joint "historic" visit to honour the victims of the death camp.
Israel fiercely opposed a 2015 deal between Iran and world powers that offered Tehran sanctions relief in return for curbs to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, and applauded when US President Donald Trump in 2018 pulled out of the accord.
Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel "salutes" Trump "for confronting the tyrants of Tehran that subjugate their own people and threaten the peace and security of the entire world".
Also on Thursday, US President Donald Trump announced that he would invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz to discuss a new Middle East peace plan, in a move condemned by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.