World leaders gather in Jerusalem for Auschwitz forum, without Poland

Some 40 heads of state pose for a group photograph following a dinner reception at Israel's President Reuven Rivlin's (C) official residence in Jerusalem, Israel, on 22 January 2020. Rivlin stands next to France's Emmanuel Macron (C-L), and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (C-R). Some 40 heads of state attended a dinner reception at Israel's President Reuven Rivlin's official residence in Jerusalem marking 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 1945. EPA-EFE/HEIDI LEVINE / POOL

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Dozens of world leaders will convene in Jerusalem on Thursday to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, amid a backdrop of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and the United States.

In Jerusalem, the high-profile guest list, which includes French President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Britain’s Prince Charles, could also burnish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s image as a statesman at home ahead of a March 2 election.

However, Poland’s president will stay away due to rankling disputes with both Russia and Israel.

Israel has hailed the World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center as the biggest international gathering in its history, and Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence are among the attendees.

Poland will host its own commemorative event at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum south of the country on Jan. 27. More than one million people, most of them Jews, were killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp. Six million Jews died in the Holocaust.

Speeches at the Jerusalem event are likely to focus on the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust as well as a more recent rise in anti-Semitism rhetoric and attacks worldwide.

A global survey by the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League in November found that global anti-Semitic attitudes had increased, and significantly in Eastern and Central Europe. It found that large percentages of people in many European countries think Jews talk too much about the Holocaust.

Read more via Reuters


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