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Israel’s Largest Diplomatic Gathering Ever Kicks-Off

Leaders from almost fifty nations are gathering in Jerusalem on Wednesday to participate in the World Holocaust Forum in the 75th year since the liberation of the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps that have come to symbolize the Nazi death machine. Despite some rumblings about Israel’s seminal moment of international diplomacy being attached to a Holocaust event rather than standing on its own, Israelis for the most-part seemed awed by the array of front-page figures and angered by the virtual lock-down of the capital rendering such basic needs as shopping for food an impossibility in many areas. Those figures include U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, Prince Charles and many others. Local media has carried stories of frustration on the part of Holocaust historians at seeing the penultimate Holocaust event being overshadowed by pundits prognosticating over whether First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner will usurp the occasion to release the long-awaited Trump plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In a second backstory, Poland’s president, who was recently enmeshed in a row with the Israelis about his claim that Warsaw bears no guilt from cooperating with the Nazis, and indeed, his suggestion that Poles were no less victimized than Jews, opted to stay home when he learned that he would not get a speaking role at a ceremony at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Center.