Rivlin criticizes Le Pen for denying French role in Holocaust

Israeli President Rivlin referred to a refusal to accept responsibility for the Holocaust as a form of contemporary Holocaust denial. 

President Reuven Rivlin on Monday evening implicitly criticized French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen of the National Front for rejecting the idea that France as a country was responsible for rounding up thousands of its Jews in the Vel d’Hiv stadium in Paris to be transported to Nazi concentration camps.  

“Some two weeks ago a French presidential candidate denied France’s responsibility for the deportation of its Jewish citizens to the Nazi concentration and death camps,” Rivlin said, while addressing a closing ceremony of Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Ghetto Fighters House in Israel’s Western Galilee. 

“As a sovereign state that has gained national independence, we have a duty to demand from other nations and states not to evade responsibility,” Rivlin continued. “We must resist the renunciation of national responsibility in the name of alleged victimhood.”

Israel’s president contended that such arguments and statements amount to a form of contemporary denial of the Holocaust.

“The denial of responsibility of the crimes committed in the days of the Second World War is Holocaust denial of a new, more destructive and dangerous kind from that we have known until now,” Rivlin argued. 

“This is a denial that seeks to annul the political and moral responsibility that must stand at the heart of memory of the Holocaust for generations to come,” he added. “We must wage a war against the current and dangerous wave of Holocaust denial.”

Rivlin claimed that while not explicitly denying the Holocaust, such statements from European politicians are essentially blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator. 

“Conversely, the denial of the Holocaust which is growing before our very eyes strives towards a more sophisticated goal, and is much more dangerous,” he said.“This is not a denial of the very existence of the Holocaust, but a denial of the distinction between a victim and a criminal.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry released a statement two weeks ago condemning Le Pen’s remarks.

“This declaration is contrary to historical truth, as expressed in the statements of successive French presidents who recognized France’s responsibility for the fate of the French Jews who perished in the Holocaust,” the statement read.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News