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ADL Leader Jacobson: We Still Have Much to Learn From Auschwitz

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 06:51 PM

Anti-Semitism still thrives on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz — but a changed Europe does offer some hope for the future, says Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director at the Anti-Defamation League.

"[This anniversary] is a question of memory and respect for those who perished under the horrible Nazi regime. We can't forget," Jacobson said Tuesday to Steve Malzberg and John Bachman on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"As we speak, it's a time of a massive insurgence of anti-Semitism ... and so we have to learn from it, and there's a lot to be learned."

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About 1.1 million prisoners, mostly Jews, were exterminated at the Auschwitz camp in Poland between 1940 and 1945, when it was liberated by Soviet troops.

"There's a sense of what the ideology of hatred can do, whether it was the Nazi ideology or today’s ideologies around the world of terrorism, radical Islamic extremism — and we have to take all that seriously," Jacobson said.

Still, there is a note of optimism, he said.

"The one positive note today is that the governments in Europe are not the perpetrators of anti-Semitism. Mostly they stand up against it," he said.

"They're not doing enough ... but people like [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel and [French President] Francois Hollande and [British Prime Minister] David Cameron are, of course, fighting anti-Semitism. They're not perpetrating it.

"So we have a lot to learn as the need to remember the Holocaust really is to not only pay tribute to those who died, but to learn the lessons from it."

Meanwhile, Israel is faced with ongoing threats from Iran.

"There’s the nuclear issue and the border attitudes toward Iran. On the latter, I do find it troubling that we sometimes see quote-unquote, Iran as an ally, for example, in the fight against ISIS, and we sometimes temper our comments," Jacobson said.

"Iran is the most dangerous country in the region, not only to Israel, but to the Arabs of the Gulf, and we should make it clear what we think of Iran. On the other hand, the nuclear issue is one that has to be resolved.

"We would like to see the United States stick to what it says, which is, better no deal with Iran than a bad deal. It's not always so clear whether that's where we're going. Some of us have questions about it, but on the other hand, Israel and the United States both would want to find a deal that would prevent Iran from reaching out to develop a nuclear weapon."

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Anti-Semitism still thrives on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz — but a changed Europe does offer some hope for the future, says Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director at the Anti-Defamation League.
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