New York Jews remember Holocaust as Iranian threat looms


NEW YORK (AP) – Israel’s consul general in New York said Sunday that the world needs to take a tougher stance with Iran and warned that a “strong” and “determined” Israel will never allow another Jewish Holocaust.

“It’s important that the world understands that this is not an Israeli issue, it’s a world problem, and the world must stop Iran,” Arye Mekel said. “At this time, we would hope that the Security Council of the United Nations would impose economic and political sanctions against Iran. Let’s be clear: That country cannot, cannot have nuclear weapons.”

Mekel delivered his pointed remarks at Hunter College during the Annual Gathering of Remembrance, which commemorates the deaths of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis in the Holocaust.

Joining Mekel was New York Sen. Charles Schumer and U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who also warned about the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Israeli officials believe Iran could be just a few years away from obtaining the capability to make nuclear weapons, and they view Iran as a gathering threat.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims his country’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes but has said Israel should be wiped off the map and the Holocaust didn’t happen.

Mekel said Israel will protect Jews from Iran or terrorist groups such as Hamas or Hezbollah.

“We are strong and we are determined, and our youth is as strong as ever in this noble idea of defending the Jewish people and the Jewish state,” Mekel said.

Bolton told the crowd of several hundred that Iran gives fresh meaning to the Holocaust and its survivors, many of whom attended Sunday’s event with their families.

“When a country like Iran seeks a nuclear weapons capability under the leadership of a man who denies the Holocaust, it is the reason why this prospect of the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction weighs so heavily on the president as he contemplates the risk to the United States and all of its friends and allies but in particular the risk of a second, a nuclear, holocaust,” Bolton said.

Schumer also had strong words for Iran, calling Ahmadinejad a “madman.” But he warned against other threats to Jews.

“In Europe itself,” he said, “we see a vehement double standard against Israel and the Jewish people. We see countries recognizing a government, Hamas, dedicated to killing Jewish women, children and men.”

Schumer said there was little difference between the Nazis and Hamas.

Hamas might not use gas like the Nazis, he said, “but the result is the same.”