Yesterday (7/27/11) in the speaker’s dining room in the National Capitol building, in Washington DC, the Third Annual Lantos Foundation-MEMRI Summit on Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial was held. The Master of Ceremonies was the late Congressman Lantos’ grandson, Levi. The first speaker was Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents the 18th district of Florida and is the Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Ros-Lehtinen spoke about the HFAC‘s efforts to combat Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism in the Middle East, she also shared her experiences with the late Congressman Lantos. Following the speech made by the Congresswoman, Yigal Canon, President of MEMRI presented a compilation of MEMRI’s archived media footage from the past year, which displays the kind of Holocaust denying and anti-Semitic TV shows, news clips and cartoons dispersed throughout the Middle East, particularly in Iran.
Sara J. Bloomfield, Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum discussed the importance of remembering the atrocities of the past, so that humankind can prevent them from occurring in the present and future. Hannah Rosenthal who is the State Department’s Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism spoke about her father’s experiences in Nazi Germany as a rabbi, and her own experiences taking Middle Eastern political and religious figures to concentration camps in Poland and Germany, so that they might have a better understanding of what happened to the Jewish people. Her speech was very moving, at parts tears welled up in her eyes.
The last speaker was Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University State of San Diego, Khaleel Mohammed. Dr. Mohammed’s short speech spoke volumes. He condemned the behavior of Muslims who deny history and roused the crowd to follow in the footsteps of Tom Lantos, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen and himself by fighting against the misconceptions held by some people in the Middle East.