The Honorable Irwin Cotler, Liberal Party Critic for Rights and Freedoms and International Justice, today issued the following statement on Yom HaShoah:
“Yom HaShoah occurs this year at a particularly important moment of remembrance and reminder. It is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz, the most brutal extermination camp of the 20th century. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1.3 million people were murdered, 1.1 million of them Jews, reminding us again of Elie Wiesel’s dictum that the Holocaust was a war against the Jews in which not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were targeted victims.
Yet while Jews died during the Holocaust because of anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism did not die. Hence the importance of the recent motion, unanimously adopted by the House of Commons, condemning the rising global tide of anti-Semitism and calling for the combating of anti-Semitism to be a domestic and international priority.
And as we have learned only too well, while it may begin with Jews, it does not end with Jews.
On this Yom HaShoah, we underscore both the imperative of zachor (remembrance), and the imperative of action. We must ensure that “Never Again” is not an idle cliché, but an exhortation to act for the prevention – and prosecution – of mass atrocity and genocide.”