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Who is Israel commemorating at Holocaust remembrance event?

Israeli and Jewish politicians and wheeler-dealers are turning Holocaust remembrance events into a political mingling arena.
Polish President Andrzej Duda and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin are seen in front of the "Arbeit macht frei" (Work sets you free) gate as they take part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust at the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz, in Oswiecim, Poland, April 12, 2018.  REUTERS/Kacper Pempel - RC1EB00DCD80
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Scheduling an event on a date convenient for dozens of world leaders is no easy matter. Presumably, the president of the European Jewish Congress, Russian billionaire Moshe Kantor, who instigated and funded the Jan. 23 event in Jerusalem marking the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz death camp liberation, carefully checked the calendars of all the invitees. Kantor is reportedly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. A man like him, whose business interests span the globe, must have been aware that on the Jan. 23 date he proposed to the relevant Israeli parties — the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, the president, the prime minister and the Foreign Ministry — the world’s top economic and political leadership would be convening in Switzerland at the annual conference of the Davos Forum. And after all, the liberation occurred Jan. 27, 1945.

Speaking with Al-Monitor, an Israeli diplomat suggested that Putin tasked Kantor with upstaging the Davos Forum in a bid to humiliate Polish President Andrzej Duda. The ceremony, scheduled for International Holocaust Remembrance Day Jan. 27 at the site of the death camp in Poland, will fall far short of the pomp and circumstance of the Jerusalem event. A significant part of the scenario for the Jerusalem 2020 event is an adaptation of the central commemoration event that marked the 70th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Birkenau liberation and was held at the camp site in January 2015. Participants at that ceremony, too, included dozens of heads of state and ministers, but Putin was the leader most conspicuously absent from the event.

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