From: Diaz, Kevin B
Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 7:14 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO
Subject: Pool report 7, Righteous Among Nations program
Appearing in a fairly cramped, packed embassy conference room, backed by blue curtains, flags of Poland, Israel and U.S., Obama spoke for the first time in Washington's Israeli embassy.
Obama seated in first row before speaking:
In black suit, black or charcoal gray tie, white dress shirt.
"I deliver a lot of speeches, rarely am I so humbled by those who precede me"
Heroes honored "make real the call to 'Never forget'"
Recalled his grandfather's service in WWII
"The four lives we honor tonight make a claim on our conscience"
Asked if we would have the courage.
On arrogance and ignorance and evil of holocaust: "Those seeds have always been with us."
"Anti-semitism is on the rise. We cannot deny it.... We must not be silent."
"Like the righteous, we must do all we can."
"America's commitment to Israel's security is unshakable."
Event MC was Nina Totenberg of NPR
Obama preceded by Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador to the U.S., who praised the courage of those who risked their lives to help holocaust victims in Nazi Germany.
Film maker Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List) also on the scene, along with four or five elderly Holocaust survivors, who were recognized by applause.
Spielberg introduced POTUS. ("This president has a Jewish Soul")
Those posthumously honored:
Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds
Walery and Maryla Zbijewski
The event, which takes place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, is sponsored by the Embassy of Israel in partnership with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Israel. At this ceremony, the first of its kind to be held in the United States, Yad Vashem will posthumously recognize four individuals who heroically risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis, forever demonstrating the importance of standing up to intolerance and hatred everywhere.
Full Sequence of Events- per WH:
POTUS and Ambassador Dermer enter the room (unannounced) and move to seats in the front row.
• Righteous Among Nations Program begins.
• Ambassador Dermer delivers remarks.
• Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chairman of Yad Veshem delivers remarks.
• Mr. Leonard Wilf, Chairman of U.S. Yad Veshem delivers remarks.
• Video from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
• Presentation of certificates
• Steven Spielberg delivers remarks and introduces POTUS.
• POTUS moves to the podium and deliver remarks.
• POTUS departs (no ropeline)
Full POTUS remarks to follow.
Houston Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers
Sent from my iPad