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Clinton: Remain vigilant against Holocaust denial

by Ron Kampeas, JTA

July 24, 2012 | 3:02 pm

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on July 24. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on July 24. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Holocaust denial and Israel criticism that crosses into anti-Semitism require vigilance.

On Tuesday, Clinton addressed a symposium at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on preventing genocide.

“Let me begin by acknowledging that here in this museum, it’s important to note that every generation produces extremist voices denying that the Holocaust ever happened,” she said.  “And we must remain vigilant against those deniers and against anti-Semitism, because when heads of state and religious leaders deny the Holocaust from their bully pulpits, we cannot let their lies go unanswered. 

“When we hear Holocaust glorification and public calls to, quote, ‘finish the job,’ we need to make clear that violence, bigotry will not be tolerated,” she continued. “And, yes, when criticism of Israeli government policies crosses over into demonization of Israel and Jews, we must push back.”

Clinton outlined policies that she said were aimed at genocide prevention, including training officials in detecting warning signs, the use of technology to enhance monitoring, pressuring oppressive regimes and making clear that perpetrators will be held accountable.

She also emphasized limits, suggesting that some well-intentioned efforts could worsen the situation.

“We have to approach this work with a large dose of humility and understanding,” Clinton said.

The museum released a poll, timed for the symposium, showing that substantial majorities of Americans believe that genocide is still possible and favoring intervention to stop it. The poll, commissioned and conducted by Burson-Marsteller, a public relations firm, and Penn Schoen Berland, a pollster, showed that 94 percent of Americans believe genocide “is still very much a concern and could occur today.”

It also showed that 69 percent “think the U.S. should prevent or stop genocide or mass atrocities from occurring in another part of the world.”

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