Israel is observing one of its most solemn days of the year — Holocaust Remembrance Day — with the president warning the government not to get too cozy with some Europeans.
"Ideas of superiority, national purity, xenophobia, blatant anti-Semitism from left and right are hovering over Europe," Reuven Rivlin said Wednesday night.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hosted leaders from Hungary, Lithuania, and Poland — all of whom visited Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, but whose right-wing governments have been accused of downplaying their countries' roles in the mass murder of Jews during World War II.
"Not every right-wing party in Europe that believes in controlling immigration or protecting its unique character is anti-Semitic or xenophobic," Rivlin said. "But political forces where anti-Semitism and racism are part of their language, their ideology, can never be our allies."
Rivlin added that politics is not an excuse for getting cozy with those who try to distort their roles in the Holocaust.
Netanyahu spoke of anti-Semitism from all sides — the right, left and radical Islam — as he noted the deadly attacks on synagogues and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries in the United States.
He also condemned a recent editorial cartoon in the international edition of The New York Times depicting Trump wearing a Jewish skullcap leading Netanyahu, drawn as a dog, on a leash.
"We're not talking about legitimate criticism of Israel but of systematic, poisonous and shallow hatred," the prime minister said.
The newspaper apologized, disciplined the editor who ran the cartoon and cut ties with the cartoon's syndicator.
The Anti-Defamation League reported Tuesday that attacks against Jews in the U.S. — including physical assault, vandalism and murder — remained at historic highs in 2018.
Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel includes shutting down restaurants and cafes, and TV documentaries and interviews with survivors are broadcast. The day ends at sundown on Thursday and is highlighted by two minutes of silence, when Israelis stop whatever they are doing to stand in silent reflection.