05/09/2014 07:58 am ET

President Obama Blasts Anti-Semitism, Urges Commitment To Israel At Shoah Foundation Gala

President Obama called for a world-wide effort against anti-Semitism and reiterated the United States' commitment to Israel in an address to the University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation on May 7.

"The purpose of memory is not simply to preserve the past, it is to protect the future," the president said, speaking to an audience at the Foundation's 20th anniversary gala in Los Angeles.

“We see attacks on Jews in the streets of major Western cities, public places marred by swastikas," he said. “It’s up to us to speak out against rhetoric that threatens the existence of the Jewish homeland and to sustain America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security."

Shoah Foundation founder Steven Spielberg presented President Obama with the Ambassador for Humanity award, which has in previous years been awarded to George Clooney, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Bill Clinton and others.

Spielberg established the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in 1994 to collect testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust. In 2006 the foundation became part of the University of Southern California and expanded to include education and resources on other genocides around the world.

“We cannot eliminate evil from every heart and hatred from every mind," Obama said in his address, "but what we can do and what we must do is make sure our children and their children learn their history so that they might not repeat it.”



Notable American Jews