Obama accepted a humanitarian award from director Steven Spielberg
at the University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation, a
Holocaust museum founded by Spielberg after he made the film
Obama spoke about a variety of global conflicts including Ukraine,
Syria, and the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls by the
Boko Haram Islamist militant group.
"We only need to look at today's headlines: The devastation of
Syria, the murders and kidnappings in Nigeria, the sectarian
conflicts, the tribal conflicts to see that we have not yet
extinguished man's darkest impulses," Obama said.
He expressed alarm about a rising tide of anti-Semitism based on
events such as a gunman's attack on two Jewish facilities in Kansas
and the distribution of pamphlets in eastern Ukraine that demanded
the registration of Jews.
"None of the tragedies that we see today may rise to the full horror
of the Holocaust," he said. However, he said "they demand our
attention that we not turn away."
"We have to act even where there is sometimes ambiguity. Even when
the path is not always clearly lit. We have to try. That includes
confronting the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the world," he said.
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Obama said Americans must speak out against any rhetoric that
threatens the existence of Israel "and to sustain America's
unshakeable commitment to Israel's security."
The Shoah Foundation's annual gala featured Bruce Springsteen
performing "Promised Land" and "Dancin' in the Dark," and a comedy
routine from Conan O'Brien.
At Obama's table were Spielberg, Barbra Streisand and "Schindler's
List" star Liam Neeson.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Paul Tait)
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