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May 19, 2016 1

Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Exhibition Opens

Iran’s newest “Holo­caust con­test” exhi­bi­tion opened on May 14 in a gallery in Tehran. Accord­ing to Iran­ian news reports, the con­test received over 864 sub­mis­sions from par­tic­i­pants around the world.  Of those, 150 car­toons from 50 coun­tries were accepted, with rep­re­sen­ta­tion of car­toon­ists from Brazil, China, Colom­bia, France, Indone­sia, Peru, Syria, Turkey and Yemen, among others.

Con­test orga­nizer Masoud Sho­jai Tabatabaei insisted the event was not to deny or cel­e­brate the Nazi Holo­caust, but to call out the “Holo­caust” being wit­nessed with “the big killings by the Zion­ist regime in Gaza and Palestine.”Iranian Holocaust Cartoon

Of course this is not the first such con­test held in Iran, nor the first time the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment and its organs have politi­cized, denied and abused the mem­ory of the Holo­caust and its victims.

In the exhi­bi­tion, the car­toons are divided into two themes. The first relate to the Holo­caust; the sec­ond com­pare Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu to Hitler. Pho­tos from the exhi­bi­tion reveal car­toons fea­tur­ing swastikas and other anti-Semitic imagery.

The con­test has earned the con­dem­na­tion of the State Depart­ment (“abhor­rent”), UNESCO (“goes against the uni­ver­sal val­ues of tol­er­ance and respect”) and the Ger­man For­eign Min­istry (“the mur­der of 6 mil­lion men, women and chil­dren dur­ing the Holo­caust, for which we Ger­mans bear guilt and respon­si­bil­ity, must not be aban­doned to ridicule”).

The con­test win­ners will be announced on May 30.

If you’re won­der­ing how much one can earn from a car­toon lam­poon­ing or dimin­ish­ing an act which killed six mil­lion Jews, it is reported that the win­ning car­toon will be awarded a sum of $12,000.

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May 11, 2016 56

Iran’s Second International Holocaust Cartoon Exhibition Opens On May 14

On May 14, 2016, the sec­ond inter­na­tional Holo­caust Car­toon Con­test exhi­bi­tion will open in Iran, with the first place win­ner – report­edly to be announced in June – receiv­ing a large cash prize. Accord­ing to reports in the Iran­ian press, the May 14th date was cho­sen to coin­cide with Nakba Day (cat­a­stro­phe day), the term used by Pales­tin­ian to refer to the events sur­round­ing Israel’s inde­pen­dence in 1948.

The con­test report­edly received over 800 sub­mis­sions from artists in 50 coun­tries, and the exhi­bi­tion will fea­ture 100 works, as well as 50 pro­file car­toons on the sub­ject of “Netanyahu”, a ref­er­ence to the Israeli Prime Minister.

Auschwitz TracksDome of the Rock






In a recent New Yorker mag­a­zine inter­view, Iran­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Javad Zarif denied accu­sa­tions that the Holo­caust con­test is sup­ported by the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment. How­ever, accord­ing to the Mid­dle East Media Research Insti­tute, the sec­re­tary of the NGO respon­si­ble for con­test Mas­soud Sho­jaei Tabatabaei stated that the con­test orga­niz­ers coop­er­ate with the Iran­ian Min­istry of Cul­ture, and that every­one in the Iran­ian regime “knows that this exhi­bi­tion is highly respected.”

Iran held its first Holo­caust car­toon con­test back in 2006 under Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad, receiv­ing 204 entries from Iran and around the world. Dur­ing his tenure as Pres­i­dent, Ahmadine­jad repeat­edly used his posi­tion to pro­mote Holo­caust denial, a prac­tice that con­tin­ues to this day in parts of Iran. The 2006 contest’s win­ning sub­mis­sion depicted Israel con­struct­ing a wall, painted with an image of the infa­mous rail­way lead­ing to the gates of Auschwitz, around the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem. Other win­ners included images of Pales­tini­ans in con­cen­tra­tion camp garb, the “myth of the gas cham­bers” and a Holo­caust museum in the shape of a swastika.

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May 4, 2016 0

The History of Anti-Semitism and the Shoah

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Jerusalem Post Blog



As an orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to com­bat­ting anti-Semitism and fight­ing against all forms of big­otry, the Anti-Defamation League speaks often about the Holo­caust both from a Jew­ish frame­work and from one that addresses hatred and geno­cide in the world at large.

The moral les­son of the Holo­caust, or Shoah, is that we all must stand against hate wher­ever it sur­faces. This moral les­son moti­vates us in our work every day.

On the occa­sion of this year’s com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Shoah, how­ever, I would like to address the sub­ject of anti-Semitism from a his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive, before the Shoah and after.

It has often been said that the Shoah could not have hap­pened if not for the 2,000 year his­tory of anti-Semitism, par­tic­u­larly in Europe. At the same time, it is noted, what hap­pened dur­ing the Nazi period went far beyond any­thing that had tran­spired for millennia.

The strik­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic about anti-Semitism for cen­turies, which did reach its cul­mi­na­tion in the Nazi assault on the Jews, was its fan­tas­ti­cal core.  Jews were accused of things, par­tic­u­larly being an evil power, which had noth­ing to do with the real­ity of Jew­ish life for centuries.

Let’s not for­get that the tragedy of the Holo­caust was that a mani­a­cal regime com­mit­ted to the destruc­tion of the Jews gained con­trol of Europe at a time when Jews had absolutely no power – no army, no state, no place to go, and lit­tle polit­i­cal influence.

That absence of Jew­ish power, how­ever, had been true for 2,000 years.  Dur­ing that time Jews were accused repeat­edly of influ­enc­ing his­tory in an evil way, the killing of Christ, the poi­son­ing of the wells, the mur­der of Chris­t­ian chil­dren, even a plan to take over the world as embod­ied in the noto­ri­ous forgery, “The Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”  When the Nazis began their cam­paign against the Jews, the same fan­tasy of evil Jew­ish power was at work.

That hor­rid mix of accu­sa­tions of Jew­ish power together with the real­ity of Jew­ish pow­er­less­ness cre­ated that worst of all moments for the Jew­ish people.

From then on, sev­eral things became clear.  First, there was a need to edu­cate about what anti-Semitism could lead to, hence the broad range of activ­i­ties focus­ing on the Holo­caust.  Sec­ond, was the recog­ni­tion that good peo­ple who stood up to res­cue Jews must be hon­ored to encour­age that kind of behav­ior for future generations.

Third, and most sig­nif­i­cant, Jews could never again afford to be pow­er­less.  While the legit­i­macy of the State of Israel rests on the 3,000-year con­nec­tion of the Jews to the land of Israel, the need for Jews to have a home and be able to defend them­selves was a pow­er­ful polit­i­cal fac­tor imme­di­ately after the Shoah.

Which brings us back to the his­tory of anti-Semitism: If that virus was based on fan­tasy before the Holo­caust, how does one define it after when Jews now have a degree of power as rep­re­sented by a Jew­ish State? By the incred­i­bly effec­tive Israel Defense Forces?  By a strong and vibrant Amer­i­can Jew­ish com­mu­nity that works for U.S. sup­port of Israel?

What this new and pos­i­tive real­ity, where Jews are no longer pow­er­less, sug­gests is that anti-Semitism in the mod­ern world is a much more com­pli­cated phe­nom­e­non.  Anti-Semitism as fan­tasy still exists.  A quick scan of social media will remind some­one that the nox­ious delu­sions of big­ots con­tinue to thrive in the dig­i­tal age, albeit the echo cham­ber now has much larger resonance.

Today, the locus of their atten­tion is the Jew­ish state which stands in as a proxy for the Jew­ish peo­ple.  So called “anti-Zionism” offers a con­ve­nient garb of polit­i­cal respectabil­ity to dis­guise the age-old virus of anti-Semitism.

A wide range of haters, from the rad­i­cal Islamists of Hamas and ISIS to odi­ous white suprema­cists here at home to so-called polite polit­i­cal cir­cles in Europe (as recently made clear by the scan­dal roil­ing the Labour Party in the United King­dom), all accuse Israel of being respon­si­ble for all the prob­lems of the Mid­dle East and the world.  We also see a broad range of base­less con­spir­acy the­o­ries pro­pounded by many in these groups that pos­tu­late Jews were the force behind the ter­ror­ism of 9/11 or that we some­how con­trol the inter­na­tional econ­omy or that we even con­cocted the Holocaust.

The other side of the coin, how­ever, is that power begets respon­si­bil­ity, thus top­ics like the Jew­ish state can be a legit­i­mate sub­ject of crit­i­cism by those who may dis­agree with cer­tain poli­cies and behaviors.

It is essen­tial that the Jew­ish com­mu­nity rec­og­nize that we can and should embrace such vig­or­ous debate.  Such con­ver­sa­tion only becomes sus­pect when the ques­tions shift from the legit­i­macy of pol­icy to the legit­i­macy of peo­ple or when Jews are held to a dif­fer­ent stan­dard by those who will­fully dis­miss or ignore the faults of other coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly when they are more egregious.

The price of power is respon­si­bil­ity.  Again, this is a wel­come change after mil­len­nia of Jew­ish pow­er­less.  In the case of the State of Israel, liv­ing in a volatile region embroiled in con­flict and sur­rounded with so many hos­tile forces, the need for strength is imper­a­tive.  When the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran threat­ens to wipe Israel off the map or tests mis­siles inscribed with hate­ful mes­sages in Hebrew, our grave his­tory com­pels us not to ignore such geno­ci­dal rhetoric and to demand that oth­ers respond to it with equal fer­vor.  Still, one can be crit­i­cal of Israel with­out any jus­ti­fi­ca­tion or accu­sa­tions of anti-Semitism.

On this Yom HaShoah, as we remem­ber those who per­ished, let us be thank­ful that Jew­ish pow­er­less­ness is a thing of the past.  Let us reded­i­cate our­selves to fight­ing the real anti-Semitism that very much still exists.  And let us show that we know what it means to have respon­si­ble power by not con­clud­ing that every crit­i­cism is anti-Semitism.

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