UAE Minister Vows ‘Never Again’ in Berlin Holocaust Memorial Visit Together With Israeli Counterpart

October 6, 2020 Updated: October 6, 2020

BERLIN—The United Arab Emirates foreign minister visited Germany’s main Holocaust memorial together with his counterpart from Israel and vowed “never again” on Tuesday, an event showcasing the two Middle East countries’ unusually warm new rapprochement.

A U.S.-brokered establishment of full diplomatic relations between the Gulf power and Israel on Sept. 15 owed much to their shared concerns about Iran.

Berlin Holocaust memorial visit
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi greet as they visit the Holocaust memorial together with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas prior to their historic meeting in Berlin on Oct. 6, 2020. (Michele Tantussi/Reuters)
Berlin Holocaust memorial visit
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi visit the Holocaust memorial together with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas prior to their historic meeting in Berlin on Oct. 6, 2020. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Both sides have pointed to a sense of reconciliation and mutual tolerance as a driver of the deal—a message that UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan left at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe memorial in Berlin, which he visited with Israel’s Gabi Ashkenazi.

Writing in the visitors’ book in Arabic, he called the site “a witness to the fall of a group of human beings who were victims of advocates of extremism and hatred,” and he advocated “the noble human values of co-existence, tolerance, acceptance of others and respect of all religions and beliefs”.

“Never Again,” Sheikh Abdullah added in English—a slogan often taken up by survivors of Nazi Germany’s World War Two genocide to justify actions to protect Israel and the Jewish people.

Ashkenazi and his UAE counterpart were in Berlin to discuss a variety of issues in promoting relations, according to an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Berlin Holocaust memorial visit
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas signs a book as UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi visit the Holocaust memorial together prior to their historic meeting in Berlin on Oct. 6, 2020. (Michele Tantussi/Reuters)

In his own inscription, Ashkenazi—a former commander of Israel’s armed forces—said his presence there alongside the Emirati and their host, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, “symbolizes a new era, an era of peace between the peoples.”

It was also a reminder of the need “to live strong and ensure that this will never recur,” Ashkenazi wrote in Hebrew.