Photo: Yad Vashem, courtesy Moshe Shai/Flash90
JERUSALEM (JTA)–A major gathering of world leaders in Jerusalem meant to highlight the world’s determination to learn the lessons of the Holocaust has become mired in controversy even before it started, dragging Israel into a battle over history debates still raging in Europe three-quarters of a century after the end of World War II.
Some 46 presidents, princes and prime ministers are due to converge on the Israeli capital on Thursday for the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, an event organized by president Reuven Rivlin, Yad Vashem and the Israeli Foreign Ministry to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The brainchild of European Jewish Congress head Moshe Kantor, the event will feature addresses by the leaders of Germany and Allied nations, including Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Kantor asserted the event’s purpose was “to discuss moral status of the world, to examine the situation of civil societies and work together to address threats and dangers.” That message, however, is proving to be at odds with divisions the event has generated.
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