Iran’s Supreme Leader is once again working hard to incite the haters of the world against global Jewry.
On the day the United Nations marked for commemoration of the world’s worst genocide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei uploaded a three-minute, English-subtitled video denying the Holocaust to his website called “Are the Dark Ages Over?”
The film features audio of a March 2014 speech during which Khamenei claimed that “No one is European countries dares to speak about the Holocaust, while it is not clear whether the core of this matter is reality or not.
“Even if it is reality, it is not clear how it happened.” Images of infamous British Holocaust denier David Irving and others are featured in the film.
In June, Iran has announced a contest for satirical cartoons relating to the Holocaust as part of the Teheran International Cartoon Biennial. The winner is to be awarded a prize of $50,000 – a sum four times that of the previous year.
Last year, Iran announced a similar Holocaust denial cartoon exhibit just days before the Al Qaeda/Da’esh terrorist attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satire magazine in Paris.
Israeli officials and Knesset members expressed their disappointment with France and Italy for inviting and hosting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – of all people – to visit on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“We all learned yesterday that the president of Iran, who we thought was a cruel and insensitive man who holds Holocaust denial exhibits, is actually such a sensitive person that the statues in Rome were covered in his honor, so as not to offend him,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein noted with sarcasm from the podium.
U.S. President Barack Obama was also blunt about the rising anti-Semitism around the world Wednesday in his speech at the Israel Embassy in Washington DC.
Obama declared that it would be necessary for American to take the lead in fighting the phenomenon. “We must confront the reality that around the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise,” Obama said. “We cannot deny it… I’ve made sure that the United States is leading the global fight against anti-Semitism,” he said.
Ira Forman, the US State Department’s special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism, told JNS.org, “We’re really concerned this contest is used as a platform for Holocaust denial…and antisemitic speech,” Forman told JNS.org.
Yet in Europe, where Rouhani is being welcomed with open arms, at least some government leaders are still awake enough to warn others about what is coming.
Speaking in Brussels Wednesday, European Parliament President Martin Schulz told Jewish and European leaders, “It pains me that in today’s Europe Jews again fear for their lives; that they ask themselves ‘will I be safe going to a synagogue, or a Jewish job? Will my children be safe in a Jewish school… some consider leaving Europe for good because they no longer feel safe.”
It is the responsibility of Europe’s leaders to fight the “demons of anti-Semitism… intolerance” he said. “Some deny the Holocaust ever happened, they try to convince us that the pain and loss inflicted on innocent victims are illusions, are lies. What makes me angry every day is that these people are sitting in the parliament here. The Holocaust deniers are electted to the European parliament.”
At the start of January, following reports of the latest cartoon contest in Iranian media, Israel’s envoy to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-HaCohen wrote to Irina Bokova, director-general of the UN agency, to bring the issue to her attention. “It is time for UNESCO to demand accountability from the Iranian regime with regard to its malicious rhetoric, Holocaust denial and global negative activity.”
Hana Levi Julian