Speech at support event at the Jewish community
by Lars Løkke Rasmussen
Held in Copenhagen Synagogue 14.10.2023 By Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Minister for Foreign Affairs Your Majesty, Ambassador, Dear all. Thank you for letting me share this evening with you. I have no idea how each of you has been doing this past week. With friends and family caught in the center of the crisis. With people you care about, who live their everyday lives in an Israel under attack. With all the worries that come with it. Are they affected? Have they made it? What happens next? Terrible stories that make an impression around the world. One of them, which is still in my body, is about an ordinary family who lived in a kibbutz close to the Gaza border. A dad. A mother. And three little girls. When the attacks began on Saturday morning, all five of them ran towards the nearest shelter. They arrived safely. The wife wrote a message to their friends in Australia: "Everything is okay." An hour later she stopped responding. The friends called and called, but the mobile was silent. On Sunday morning, the Israeli authorities shared a photo of the family. With big smiles and green trees in the background. The mother keeps a loving arm around the eldest daughter. Like hundreds of other innocent Israelis, they were liquidated by barbaric terrorists. Hamas had reportedly broken into their shelter. It is not to be worn. *** The attack on Israel stirs many emotions. Fear. Anger. Impotence. Hope. Vengeance. Love. We must make room for it all, but what is lost cannot be returned. But you are not alone. An entire nation shares your tears and supports you. Denmark stands, as the Prime Minister also emphasized, side by side with Israel. *** We are gathered here tonight to remember. To collect our thoughts and pick each other up. I had the honor of speaking here in the synagogue five years ago. At that time we marked the 75th anniversary of the Jews' flight from Denmark. It was a touching evening. October 1943 is one of the most important events in recent Danish history. And a cornerstone in the relationship between Denmark and Israel. Today, 80 years later, it is hard to imagine that Danish families had to flee for their lives because of their origins and their faith. That innocent citizens should be sent to concentration camps to die. But it happened. *** Earlier this week we marked the 80th anniversary. A selection that had a certain duality in it. For October 1943 is both a story of light and darkness. Mourning those who were murdered. Joy to those who got to safety. Shame on the few who tried to sabotage the escape. Pride in the many who risked their lives to save their fellow citizens. Those who took responsibility and reached out. To a Jewish people who displayed heroic courage. It is hard to find the same duplicity in what befell the Israeli people last Saturday. Because right now the darkness is clearest, the pain seems endless. A sad glimpse from the past. But even if the light has difficulty finding its way, it exists somewhere out there. We have to insist on that. Even in the darkest of times, hope will peek out. I think you can feel that on a night like tonight. We must not let the hatred of the terrorists win. We must insist on preserving our humanity. *** The attack on Saturday is being called by many Israel's 9/11. It is difficult to write history as it unfolds before our eyes. But I still think it's an apt description. A decisive historical turning point. This is a wake-up call for all of us. We made a promise to the Jewish people after the end of World War II. A promise of a homeland where Jews could gather and live in peace. Denmark was a warm supporter of the establishment of the state of Israel. The Jewish people have been through enough. And you are a strong people. But what is happening right now calls for reflection. And on crystal clear commitments from the entire world community. You must hold us up to them. As Ben Gurion said so wisely: “History is not something you write. It is something you create.” *** I know that Jews also feel the insecurity at home. Do you have to keep the kippa on? Or replace it with a cap that you - Jair [Melchior] - have suggested to your own son. I understand, you end up there. Better to be on the safe side, one might say. But that is completely unacceptable. It is completely unacceptable that Danish Jews have to beat themselves up like that in order to be here in Denmark. Hide away and look over your shoulder. It shouldn't be like that. It must not be like that. And I would like to help give the promise tonight that the government will do everything in our power to protect the Danish Jews. Protect your freedom. Your safety. Your right to live an ordinary Jewish life in Denmark. In the Denmark that reached out to the Jewish people 80 years ago. Because Denmark is still here. Thank you.