Rivlin warns world of 'Hitler's return'
Knesset speaker sends letter to counterparts around the world warning: 'Yesterday the world witnessed the return of Adolf Hitler. This time he has a beard and speaks Persian. But the words are the same words and the aspirations are the same aspirations'. Rivlin called on colleagues to 'initiate action to show world 2009 will not be repetition of 1939'
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin sent a letter to parliament heads around the world on Tuesday, in which he warned that Monday's speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN anti-racism conference in Geneva, was nothing short of the return of Hitler.
"The hate expressed by the President of Iran is a warning to all humanity: we risk seeing a repetition of the Holocaust and it will be brought about by people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," Rivlin said in his letter.
Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies kicked off Tuesday morning after a two-minute siren sounded throughout the country. The Yad Vashem ceremony, along with others, took place the day after Ahmadinejad's verbal attack on Israel, calling it cruel and racist.
Rivlin told his counterparts around the world that on Tuesday morning "Everything stopped. We remembered our grandparents who we never got to meet; we remembered that only a generation or two ago Jews were hunted like animals.
"But this morning, in contrast to Remembrance Days of past years, we faced a new reality that we believed would never reoccur. A reality we had thought was no longer possible in a world that had experienced the horrors of the Second World War.
"73 years after the Berlin Olympics, yesterday the world witnessed the return of Adolf Hitler. This time he has a beard and speaks Persian. But the words are the same words and the aspirations are the same aspirations and the determination to find the weapons to achieve those aspirations is the same menacing determination. Unfortunately, just as at that shameful Olympic event, the world has again given him a platform."
Rivlin criticized the UN secretary general's "soft and hesitant" condemnation of Ahmadinejad's "appalling incitement", and said: "Today we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of neutrality. Today we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of diplomatic protocol.
"Today, every civilized human being must decide whether he belongs to the Sons of Light or to the Sons of Darkness; the camp of the civilized world or the camp of the enemies of humanity."
At the end of his letter, the Knesset speaker urged his colleagues "not to remain silent, not to turn away and above all not to think for one moment that Ahmadinejad is not a threat to you too.
"I call on you to initiate action in your parliament that will convey a clear message to the whole world that we have learned the lessons of the past and that 2009 will not be a repetition of 1939."
Copies of the letter will also be delivered to the American and French presidents, the German chancellor and all members of the United States senate and congress.