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August 24, 2016 / 20 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust’

Iran’s Holocaust Cartoon Contest is no Caricature of Regime’s Identity

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS.org website}

A haredi Jew looks into a mirror and sees the face of Adolf Hitler gazing back at him. The walls and guard towers of Auschwitz are squeezed into a snow shaker, with flying dollar bills replacing the fake snowflakes. Another haredi Jew waves a swastika-shaped fan at an Israeli flag, which blows furiously atop a corpse draped in a Palestinian flag.

Not enough? There’s more. The gates of Auschwitz, adorned with the deadly motto “Arbeit Macht Frei,” swing open to reveal the Al-Aqsa mosque, which sits on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, devils’ horns jutting from his forehead, gives a Nazi salute; instead of his usual business suit, he wears a bloodstained brown uniform, with a Star of David rendered as a swastika decorating the sleeve.

These are just a selection of the entries submitted to Iran’s latest Holocaust cartoon contest, currently on display in Tehran at the none-too-subtly named Islamic Propaganda Organization. By and large, the cartoons are crudely drawn, in keeping with the themes that they promote.

Yet I have to confess to being more bored than shocked. Such imagery is hardly new, after all. The depictions of Jews in this exhibit are straight out of Nazi propaganda, while the depiction of the State of Israel as Hitler’s inheritor was pushed by the Soviet Union for almost half a century. The Islamist barbarians who run Iran may be many things, but creators of pathbreaking art they are definitely not.

As fashionable as it is in President Barack Obama’s circle to pretend that the Iranian regime is in the throes of dramatic change, with a surging “moderate” wing that wants to engage the West, this latest cartoon contest—like last year’s contest, like the first cartoon contest in 2005, and like the conference of Holocaust deniers convened in 2006—demonstrates that the mullahs’ cannot kick their enduring pathology: striking a blow at the global Jewish conspiracy by wiping Israel off the map.

Even if we accept for the sake of argument that the regime can be simply bifurcated into “moderates” and “hardliners,” those Iranian leaders identified in the West as “moderates” come out of this latest cartoon scandal looking far shabbier than their “hardline” rivals. Recall that Iran’s “hardline” supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, chose Holocaust Remembrance Day to question whether the slaughter of 6 million Jews had in fact occurred. The cartoon contest, backed to the hilt by the regime, is the natural outgrowth of Iran’s state policy of anti-Semitism, which holds that the Holocaust is a myth shamelessly used by the Jewish state to garner world sympathy. Khamenei and his cohorts, who are structurally and politically at the center of power in Iran, are quite open about all this and don’t feel the need to rationalize or excuse the state-sponsored mockery of the genocide of Jews.

Not so with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, whose detestation of Israel doesn’t blind him to the fact that the countries he flirts with, like Germany, take a dim view of Iran’s Holocaust denial antics. But unlike the “hardliners,” who are disarmingly honest about their views on the Jewish people and their desire to eliminate Israel, Zarif speaks with a forked tongue.

That shouldn’t mask the fact that Zarif is both a coward, since he refuses to condemn the cartoon contest, and a liar, since he insists that the regime he represents has nothing to do with it. Speaking to The New Yorker, Zarif clucked, “Don’t consider Iran a monolith. The Iranian government does not support, nor does it organize, any cartoon festival of the nature that you’re talking about.” That claim is about as truthful as the Obama administration’s reassurance that the nuclear deal struck with Tehran will prevent the regime from developing nuclear weapons. In other words, it isn’t at all.

No doubt, there are those who will take Zarif at face value, and perhaps even laud the fact that, by his account, artists exhibiting in Iran have creative license unfettered by government restrictions—so long, that is, as their subject is the Holocaust. For those not seduced by wishful thinking, there is the cold reality that the cartoon exhibit is completely dependent upon regime support. As the Iranian writer Majid Mohammadipointed out in a detailed briefing published by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the institutions involved in the exhibit are “all organized, financed, and managed under the supreme leader’s office, his appointed bodies, and the executive branch headed by the president. There are no private or independent nongovernmental institutions active in this area. The government and its varied set of institutions are the only ones that pay for these types of ideologically oriented activities. There is no channel for private funds, and no provision in Iran’s tax code, to support these activities.”

Why engage in such an activity in the first place? “The Islamic Republic seeks to be the most prominent global voice of antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiment and in doing so has made connections with and promoted individuals espousing these views from across the world,” Mohammadi says. “The Holocaust is just a subject of a set of cartoons in this effort.”

This is not a recent development, nor is it related to Israeli policy or anything Israel actually does. Anti-Semitism among Iran’s Islamists in fact precedes the creation of the State of Israel. In his excellent book “Germany and Iran: From the Aryan Axis to the Nuclear Threshold,” German historian Matthias Kuentzel described the massive audience in Iran for Radio Zeesen, a Nazi propaganda outlet that broadcasted programming in Farsi. Among the listeners was the figurehead of Iranian Islamism, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. According to Kuentzel, Khomeini was an enthusiastic “connoisseur” of European anti-Semitism. “They are liars and determined,” Khomeini wrote in a tract entitled “The Islamic State.” There was also the following claim, based on the same wretched fantasies that lead to Holocaust denial: “We see today that the Jews (may God curse them) have meddled with the text of the Qur’an and have made certain changes in the Qur’ans they have printed in the occupied territories.”

These same views prevail among Iran’s leaders today, no matter what Zarif says. Indeed, to disavow Khomeini would be unthinkable in the current context, as demonstrated by the recent election of Ayatollah Ahmed Jannati as head of the “Assembly of Experts,” a key ruling body that chooses the supreme leader.

Jannati is a boilerplate fanatic who leads chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” at Friday prayers. It was Jannati who, in 2009, backed then president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blood-drenched crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators. The regime that existed in 2009 still exists today, with the same mechanisms of fearsome repression at its disposal. It cannot be reformed, and certainly not from within. But—heretical as it is to say this—it can, and should, be overthrown.

cart 2

Ben Cohen

Palestinians Mull Plans For When No Holocaust Survivors Left To Stab

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

(Originally posted to the humor website, PreOccupied Territory}

Jerusalem, May 30 – Two teenage suspects in the stabbing attack on several Holocaust survivors two weeks ago were arrested today, reigniting the question in Palestinian society as to what offensive strategy to adopt once the survivors die out of old age and there are none left to stab.

The suspects allegedly attacked a group of elderly women at a promenade overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, injuring two. Whether or not the suspects in question are indicted or brought to trial, the prospect of having no more Holocaust survivors to stab or otherwise attack has Palestinian strategists and thinkers debating what approach to take once the last survivor perishes. Bir Zeit University in Ramallah is scheduled to hold a conference next week on the subject.

In a rare show of unity, the conference is expected to bring together representatives of various Palestinian factions bitterly, often violently, opposed to each other, such as Hamas and Fatah. However, the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors to stab has prompted even those quarreling groups to set aside their differences, however temporarily, to address the developing crisis.

“We can expand our resistance operations beyond the region, targeting the enemy in other places, but that will prove a short-lived solution, so to speak,” explained Aiwil Killajous, who will represent Hamas at the conference. “Violent power struggles are one thing, and a natural part of Palestinian politics, but some things are more important. We really must develop a coherent approach to this problem, because it’s not going to go away. I mean, it will, and that’s the problem, but – you know what I mean.”

The conference will also devote some attention to deeper ideological and philosophical issues, said University spokesman Haj Husseini. “It is difficult to address this complex issue without also devoting time to the philosophical implications of Hitler not finishing the job and what that means for us,” he explained. “If Hitler had finished the job, there would be no Jews left for us to kill, and that would deprive our people of one of, if not the, defining characteristics of its ethos. At the same time we ceaselessly wish that the Final Solution had succeeded. That paradox deserves discussion in this forum, as well.”

Killajous conceded that the future of Holocaust-survivor-stabbing is bleak, and that replacements for it will not carry the same power. “We can kill Jewish babies, but that has a different impact,” he lamented. “I just wish more if us had a chance to kill some Holocaust survivors while their population was greater.”

PreOccupied Territory

Studying The Holocaust

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Lisa Trent

Report: German Culture Minister Backs Jewish Delegate For Art Restitution Commission

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Germany’s minister of culture says she supports the inclusion of a Jewish community member in Germany’s “Advisory Commission on the return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property” — better known as the Limbach Commission.

The committee is named after its chairperson, Prof. Dr. Jutta Limbach, the former head of the German Federal Constitutional Court.

Monika Grütters, Germany’s minister of culture, confirmed her support of a Jewish committee member to Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin, during a meeting last Tuesday at the offices of the Federal Chancellery of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The committee was established 13 years ago by the German federal government together with the German states and municipalities, with the purpose to act as an advisory body in disputes involving the restitution of cultural assets held by German institutions. Even though its resolutions are legally considered non-obligatory, it is viewed as a mediating and intermediary agent. Furthermore, the fact that the head of the committee is a former Federal Constitutional Court judge, along with the high public profile of the rest of the committee members, means that its resolutions are vested with high moral authority.

In recent years, a number of claims made to the committee received a large public and media exposure, which at times led to criticism regarding the committee’s work, with Jewish factors calling to consider adding a member of the Jewish community to the committee.

During her meeting with Rabbi Teichtal, Grütters stated that she views with the utmost importance, the efficient and open handling of restitution claims of cultural and artistic assets of holocaust survivors and their legal heirs. Grütters added that it is the duty of the German government including the ministry of culture, towards the holocaust survivors and their families. Therefore, she intends to positively consider adding a member of the Jewish community to the committee board in her forthcoming talks with the German states and municipalities, in order to boost the confidence in the committee’s work and its transparency.

Rabbi Teichtal thanked the minister for her commitment to the Jewish community in Germany in particular and towards the Holocaust survivors in General.

The rabbi added that minister Grütters is a true friend of the Jewish people and that if there are any arguments regarding certain issues, it is important to verify that they are handled in the way arguments should be handled between friends.

Hana Levi Julian

US State Dept ‘Concerned’ Iran Contest is ‘Platform for Holocaust Denial, Anti-Semitic Speech’

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry used his finest diplospeak Sunday to strongly urge Iran to cancel its Holocaust cartoon contest, even though it was highly unlikely Iran would cooperate.

The “suggestion” came in what appeared to be a prompt response to a personal request from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend to demand Iran cancel the Holocaust cartoon contest.

Netanyahu told reporters he had personally asked Kerry in a phone conversation Saturday night to condemn the Holocaust cartoon contest held over the weekend in Iran, the prime minister said Sunday.

“I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this,” Netanyahu said. “This is what I told US Secretary of State John Kerry last night in my conversation with him.”

Netanyahu posted photos of the contest registration being held in Tehran on Twitter with the tweet: Iran hosts Holocaust-denial cartoon contest while preparing another Holocaust. Shameful. Don’t stay quiet about it.”

Kerry was in Saudi Arabia on Sunday meeting with King Salman in talks on the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen. He also met with the Saudi crown prince, deputy crown prince and foreign minister.

But Kerry was apparently also listening closely to the Israeli government’s outrage over Iran’s anti-Semitic Holocaust cartoon contest. He was also likely to have been considering the effect Iran’s actions – and America’s response – might have on the U.S. presidential election campaign, and/or the effect it could have on Israel’s increasingly close ties with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Netanyahu is slated to fly to Moscow next month on an official state visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia.

Shortly after Netanyahu called on Kerry to denounce Iran’s actions, the State Department released a statement expressing “concern” over the effect the contest might have, and denouncing Holocaust denial in general.

“We are concerned that this contest in Iran could be used as a platform for Holocaust denial and revisionism and egregiously anti-Semitic speech, as it has in the past,” said the statement, tweeted by AP journalist Matt Lee.

“Such offensive speech should be condemned by the authorities and civil society leaders rather than encouraged. We denounce any Holocaust denial and trivialization as inflammatory and abhorrent. It is insulting to the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust,” the statement said.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Demands That Kerry Condemn Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Contest

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally asked US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday night to condemn the Holocaust cartoon contest held over the weekend in Iran, Netanyahu said on Sunday, while accusing of Iran of “preparing another Holocaust.”

“I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this,” Netanyahu said. “This is what I told US Secretary of State John Kerry last night in my conversation with him.”

Netanyahu’s conversation with Kerry preceded the US secretary of state’s scheduled meeting on Sunday in Saudi Arabia with Saudi King Salman on the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.

The Holocaust cartoon conference in Iran over the weekend was not directly sponsored by the Iranian government though it was organized by the Owj Media & Cultural Institute and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Institute, two non-governmental organizations with reported ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denied the existence of any support from the Iranian government to the cartoon contest in an interview with the The New Yorker last month.

Iranian leaders, however, have a long history of Holocaust denial. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a video on his official website in January doubting whether the Holocaust is “a reality or not.”

“While it is not clear whether the core of this matter is a reality or not. Even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened,” Khamenei said in the video.

Netanyahu stressed the the problematic phenomenon of Holocaust revisionism in Iran, which held an international conference in December of 2006 that challenged the objective account of the Holocaust.

“We raise this here because it must be understood what our problem with Iran is,” said Netanyahu.

“It is not just its policy of subversion and aggression in the region; it is the values on which it is based,” continued Netanyahu. “It denies and belittles the Holocaust and it is also preparing another Holocaust.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

150 Holocaust Cartoons from 50 Countries in Iran’s Latest Attempt at Humor

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

150 Artists from 50 countries are taking part in the Third International Holocaust Cartoons Competition that began on Saturday on the premises of Iran’s Arts Bureau in Tehran. The curator of the competition, one Masuod Shojai-Tabatabai, claimed it had nothing to do with denying the Holocaust, but that it was meant to highlight the plight of Muslims currently being “massacred by the Zionist regime in Gaza and Palestine.”

He had nothing to say about the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who actually have been massacred by Iran’s satellite tyrant Bashar al-Assad in Syria, in full collaboration with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. (Only yesterday, the Independent reported about thousands of children who were trapped in a Palestinian refugee camp that had been bombed by Syrian government, with full Iranian support).

“We do not mean to approve or deny the Holocaust; however, the main question is why is there no permission to talk about the Holocaust despite their (the West) belief in freedom of speech,” Shojaei-Tabatabai inquired. “Moreover, why should the oppressed people of Palestine pay the price for the Holocaust?”

The contest includes two sections of cartoon and caricature, Shojaei-Tabatabai said, adding that the portraits of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Adolf Hitler have been highlighted in the caricature section.

Good to know.

One of the exhibition's walls / Photo credit: Mehr

One of the exhibition’s walls / Photo credit: Mehr

The first place winner in the cartoon section will receive a cash prize of $12,000, with those in second and third place taking home $8,000 and $5,000 respectively.

In the caricature section, the first place winner will have a cash prize of $7,000, the second $5,000 and the third $3,000.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif insisted in a recent interview with the New Yorker that there are no ties between the Iranian government and the cartoon contest. “It’s not Iran,” he said. “It’s an NGO that is not controlled by the Iranian government. Nor is it endorsed by the Iranian government.”

But Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Conference, said everybody knows NGO running the vile competition is directly linked to and funded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the same Revolutionary Guards who are massacring Syrian civilians even as we speak.

“It has always been clear who runs Iran: the fundamentalist radicals seeking Israel’s destruction,” Lauder said in a statement. “The fact that Iran is once again providing a platform for this competition proves that it has still not changed its colors and if given the chance, could still be as dangerous as ever.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/150-holocaust-cartoons-from-50-countries-in-irans-latest-attempt-at-humor/2016/05/14/

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