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Holocaust remembrance event turns into 'election festival'

Dozens of world leaders who arrived in Jerusalem to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz were turned into extras on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's election stage.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the World Holocaust Forum marking 75 years since the liberation of the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz, at Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre in Jerusalem January 23, 2020. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS - RC2PLE9YZH3Y
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One of the best-known Shakespearean soliloquies was affirmed this week in Israel when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted dozens of world leaders at the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem. “All the world's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players, … / And one man in his time plays many parts,” says the character of Jaques in “As You Like It” — and the glittering Jan. 23 production was exactly as Netanyahu likes it. The commemoration event was carefully orchestrated to prove that not only are world leaders not boycotting Israel, they are willing to visit and pay their respects. They provided incontrovertible proof to all the skeptics who believe the world is lined up against Israel that one leader protects them from all the boycotts and stands firm in the face of dark forces — and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu. Israelis watched the show, rubbed their eyes in wonder and amazement, and were forced to concede that “only Netanyahu can.”

The Fifth World Holocaust Forum was held in Israel for the first time, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp. The timing could not have been better for Netanyahu — just days before the Knesset is scheduled to begin deliberations on his request for immunity from prosecution on charges of corruption (Jan. 28), and five weeks before another round of elections that will determine his fate (March 2). “King Bibi,” as his admirers like to call him, managed to bring together on one stage Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Vice President Mike Pence, French President Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Prince Charles, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and some 40 other kings, princes, presidents, prime ministers and parliament members from Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States. All were deployed as extras in Netanyahu’s one-day production, providing him with the glamorous backdrop designed to prove that he is a “leader in another league,” as his campaign slogan says, and to outshine his political rival, Benny Gantz.

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