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Press Release


Washington, DC – Today, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries delivered remarks at the Holocaust Days of Remembrance ceremony to honor the survivors, remember the victims and make clear our commitment to fighting antisemitism in all its forms. 

Leader Jeffries: President Biden, Speaker Johnson, Speaker Emerita Pelosi, Ambassador Eizenstat, Director Bloomfield, all of my colleagues in Congress, honorable ambassadors. To Frank, Abe, Manny, Rae, Alfred, all those survivors whose lives we honor and to all those assembled for this incredibly important event, thank you for your presence here today.

Let me begin by making clear our commitment to doing everything that we can, with the positions of authority that we have, in the times when it matters the most, to ensure that never again, unequivocally, means never again.

More than 40 years ago, Congress established the Days of Remembrance and enshrined into law the moral necessity to gather in commemoration of the 6 million Jews who were brutally murdered during the Shoah.

Holocaust survivor, author and noted humanitarian, Elie Wiesel, when accepting his Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, said that “action is the only remedy to indifference” and he made clear that indifference is “the most insidious danger of all.”

This is a day for remembrance and action. A day to honor the memory of all those murdered by the evil Nazi regime. It’s a day to honor the Holocaust survivors, like Eva Cooper from New York City, and so many others who endured and escaped unconscionable atrocities. It’s a day to recommit to the struggle against indifference. As the El Maleh Rahamim prayer that will be heard today so beautifully and hauntingly pleads, we gather to ask God to protect and elevate the souls of those taken from our world too soon.

We are also here exactly seven months to the day of the horrific atrocities committed by Hamas on 10/7, the largest loss of Jewish life on a single day since the Holocaust. There are families whose loved ones were slaughtered. There are hostages still being held in horrific conditions.

And we are witnessing a deeply disturbing rise in antisemitism on campuses throughout the country and in the world. This is a very searing time for the Jewish community. Systematic oppression has been a reality of Jewish life for thousands of years, having to endure expulsions, pain, pogroms, persecution, prejudice and the horrors of the Holocaust, a previously unthinkable crime against humanity.

Last Sabbath, Jewish communities across the world read the Torah portion which followed the tragic deaths of Aaron’s two sons, Nadav and Avihu. During this moment of great vulnerability, Aaron receives instructions from God that he, as the High Priest, must carry out during the Yom Kippur service.

We learned from God and Aaron that Jewish life, practice and community must continue in the face of horrific tragedy. Aaron embodies what it means to be resilient when confronting immense pain. Today, in partnership with the Jewish community, we recommit to carrying on with strength and resilience. We recommit to the remembrance of the Holocaust. We recommit to the principle of never again. And we recommit to eradicating antisemitism whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head.

As we lift up the spirit and memory of all who perished during the Holocaust and honor the survivors with us today, let us always place irreversible determination over indifference. The effort to combat antisemitism is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, it’s an American issue. We must crush antisemitism – along with racism, sexism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia and all other forms of hatred – together.

That’s the American way – together. And together, we will defeat antisemitism with the fierce urgency of now. That’s a moral necessity.

God bless each and every one of you. God bless the survivors. May God bless the United States of America.

Full remarks are available here