The Speaker of the Knesset, Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin, in a personal letter to heads of parliament around the world:
"The hate expressed by the President of
Today, the People of Israel are marking Holocaust Remembrance Day as we do every year on this date. Israel mourns the murder of six million of its sons, daughters, elderly and infants. Hundreds of state and community ceremonies and events are held throughout Israel and around the world to mark this Memorial Day. Schools and other educational institutions devote the whole day to studying the lessons of the Holocaust, and particularly the universal lesson the duty to fight against racism and hate.
At 10:00 o'clock this morning a siren was sounded throughout Israel marking a two minute silence. Every Israeli stopped whatever they were doing, stood silently, bowed their heads in respect, remembering.
Cars and busses stopped by the side of the road. The bustle of daily life came to a stop. The busy streets grew silent.
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. We remembered that not long ago, in the middle of the twentieth century, Jews had no refuge anywhere in the world.
But this morning, in contrast to Remembrance Days of past years, we, the citizens of Israel, Jews all around the world and every man of conscience 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.
Yesterday, in Geneva, we saw how representatives of the worlds leading democracies stood up and stormed out of the UN Durban II Conference hall in response to the incendiary words of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. No doubt they recalled the devastation caused to their countries when the world disregarded the first Hitler. But we also saw how hundreds of representatives of other countries nodded in agreement and even cheered the words of the Iranian President.
We saw how the Secretary General of the United Nations the organization that was established in order to ensure that there would never be a second Hitler
remained in his chair and later, softly and hesitantly condemned the appalling incitement. We also saw the honour bestowed on Hitler's successor when he was received by the President of Switzerland. All this of course was carried out in the name of diplomatic protocol and the duty to maintain neutrality. Yesterday, more than a few Jews recalled Swiss neutrality during the 1940's.
However, dear colleagues, we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of diplomacy. 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.
If there is one lesson to be learned from the destruction and devastation the first Hitler brought to the world, it is to be found in the realization that anyone who remains silent, anyone who ignores evil, anyone who deals with the devil he too in the final analyses pays the price.
I therefore call upon you, my colleagues around the world, 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.
Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin