Saluting a foundation about the history of the Holocaust that was founded by Steven Spielberg, U.S. President Barack Obama told those in attendance on Wednesday that the reason for memory was no to simply preserve our past but to protect our future.

In front of a crowd approaching 1,300, Obama offered a strong defense of Israel.

Obama said it was necessary for us to speak up against the rhetoric threatening the existence of the Jewish homeland and to sustain America’s unshakable commitment to the security of Israel.

John Kerry the Secretary of State last month reportedly issued warnings during a meeting behind closed doors that Israel could become what is called an apartheid state if a solution of two-states was not reached with Palestinians.

Kerry also said shortly after a report was released that he never had said that Israel was an apartheid state.

Obama gave his speech at Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation for its 20th anniversary. The foundation is dedicated to the gathering of video testimony from the survivors and other witnesses to the Holocaust.

Obama was given the Ambassador for Humanity award by the foundation during the event that featured a musical performance by the “Boss” Bruce Springsteen.

Obama said devastation inside Syria, kidnappings and murders in Nigeria, as well as tribal conflicts in other places of the world is underscoring that even decades following the Holocaust; man’s darkest impulses have yet to be extinguished.

Obama listened to Springsteen perform two songs. The President sat with Spielberg, the host of the night Conan O’Brien, Liam Neeson and Barbra Streisand.

Obama’s Los Angeles visit received a full embrace from Hollywood. He attended an earlier fundraiser that Alan Horn the Chairman of Disney Studios hosted. Guests at the event included James Brolin, Streisand, and her husband and Jeffery Katzenberg a studio executive.

Obama is currently on a visit of three days in California most of which is devoted to fundraising events for the Democrats.