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Jewish lawmakers take pause on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Jewish lawmakers released statements Saturday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 79 years after the liberation of Auschwitz.

Their remarks come as antisemitism has risen in the U.S. and abroad since the onset of the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who is the grandson of Russian Jewish immigrants, warned of the “resurgence” of hateful ideologies against Jews, calling it “alarming.”

“We cannot accept such blatant disregard for the facts to spread. We cannot excuse the embrace of hate. We cannot be silent,” Cardin wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“Silence and apathy are what allowed the Holocaust to take root,” Cardin’s statement said. “It is hard not to see the similarities to modern day events.”

He also asked for a commitment to breaking the cycle of “hate, denial and ignorance.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed that “we can never, must never, will never forget the millions of Jewish and other victims of the Nazis.”

“As antisemitism surges since October 7—the deadliest day for Jews since WWII, We recognize International Holocaust Remembrance Day,” he wrote on X.

“We stand together against antisemitism and hate,” Schumer added.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) pledged to hold up a “Never Again” commitment.

“We remember the millions of Jews and other victims who were systematically murdered by the Nazis,” he wrote.

“’Never again’ is an active commitment for all of us — to confront antisemitism and understand that history can repeat itself unless we are vigilant,” Schatz posted on X.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) echoed their sentiments, asking for the community to honor the memory of the 6 million Jews and others killed under Nazi persecution by telling their stories and not repeating antisemitic rhetoric.

“This day is particularly meaningful to me as a Jewish American, and to my community. While sadly getting smaller every year, the 9th Congressional District of Illinois has one of the largest concentrations of Holocaust survivors in the country,” she said in a statement.

Schakowsky said persecution on the basis of religion, nationality, political opinion, “or anything else” cannot be tolerated.

“With antisemitism at record levels at home and around the world, we must recommit ourselves to stopping hate-fueled violence wherever it occurs,” the lawmaker posted online.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) also commemorated the day, writing on X, “We look back because we will #neverforget. We look back to learn from the darkness of the past.”

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) said the phrase Never Again has “more meaning than ever before.”

“With rising antisemitism, let’s redouble efforts to impart the lessons of the Holocaust to the next generation and ensure Never Again truly means Never Again,” Goldman said.

Other non-Jewish members of both chambers also took pause on Saturday, reflecting on the day and commemorating those who died, and those who survived.

President Biden also released a statement commending the “strength, spirit, and resilience” of Jewish people. He said this year, the charge to remember the Holocaust is “more pressing than ever.”

Since Hamas invaded Israel in a surprise attack on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 200 people hostage, reports of antisemitism around the world have reached historic levels. Israel launched a counteroffensive that has killed more than 26,000 Palestinians, according to Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

The FBI reported in the first month after the war in the Gaza began, the U.S. has seen a spike in both antisemitic and Islamophobic attacks. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) documented more than 300 antisemitic incidents in the U.S. during the first month of fighting.

The ADL has warned that white supremacist propaganda and antisemitic propaganda has been on the rise in the U.S. in recent years, reaching a high since the war began.

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