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March 11, 2016 5

In Iran, Holocaust Denial and Mockery are Alive and Well

Despite the inter­na­tional community’s reen­gage­ment with a more “open” and “mod­er­ate” Iran, some things in Iran­ian soci­ety haven’t changed, includ­ing the preva­lence of Holo­caust mock­ery and denial. While Pres­i­dent Rouhani hasn’t touted the issue like his pre­de­ces­sor Ahmadine­jad had, recent announce­ments indi­cate that the ques­tion­ing of the Holo­caust is very much alive and well within Iran­ian society.

In Decem­ber, the Tehran Inter­na­tional Car­toon Bien­nial announced an inter­na­tional Holo­caust car­toon con­test, with the win­ning entry get­ting a $50,000 reward. Now, the Islamic Asso­ci­a­tion of the Uni­ver­sity of Isfa­han has announced that it will hold its own Holo­caust car­toon con­test. The Islamic Asso­ci­a­tion held a sim­i­lar con­test in 2015. In announc­ing this year’s con­test, the Islamic Asso­ci­a­tion explained that its goal is to demon­strate sym­pa­thy with oppressed Pales­tini­ans and show hatred towards the Zion­ist regime and “the child killer Israel.” The orga­niz­ers claim the con­test is “not anti-Semitic,” but rather an effort to ques­tion such a dis­grace­ful and false phe­nom­e­non – the Holo­caust — some­thing which no one in the West­ern world dares to do.

Islamic Association of  Isfahan University Holocaust Cartoon Contest

Islamic Asso­ci­a­tion of Isfa­han Uni­ver­sity Holo­caust Car­toon Contest

They also claim their goal is to empower tal­ented indi­vid­u­als with skills they can use to edu­cate stu­dents and oth­ers about the fal­lacy of the Holocaust.

Addi­tion­ally, a recent con­fab for NGOs includ­ing social ser­vice agen­cies in an unnamed Iran­ian city titled “The Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Coop­er­a­tion and Human­i­tar­ian Aids”, which included a ses­sion pro­mot­ing Holo­caust denial. A report pub­lished fol­low­ing the ses­sion stated that there is “no proof for Zion­ist claims about the Holo­caust and Jews.” Moham­mad Javad Khos­rave, a Holo­caust “expert” and Emad Najar, Zion­ist and Media “expert”, were among the attendees.

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February 23, 2016 76

Holocaust Denier Bradley Smith’s Legacy of Lies

Holo­caust denier Bradley Smith, the founder of the Com­mit­tee for Open Debate on the Holo­caust (CODOH), died on Feb­ru­ary 18, 2016, his 86th birth­day. Smith’s last­ing impact is appar­ent in his peers’ reac­tion to his death – and in the con­tin­ued efforts of the orga­ni­za­tions he cre­ated to pro­mote dan­ger­ous Holo­caust denial the­o­ries. Smith’s acolytes and fel­low Holo­caust deniers rushed to eulo­gize him in the days fol­low­ing his death.bradley-smith-report-logo

Smith was one of the orig­i­nal Holo­caust deniers – an aging group that included Willis Carto, who died in Octo­ber and was buried in Arling­ton National Ceme­tery in Feb­ru­ary amid con­sid­er­able con­tro­versy. Smith denied every fact about the Holo­caust: He dis­counted the num­ber of mur­ders, he dis­missed the gas cham­bers as “false,” and he ques­tioned the exis­tence of a planned “Final Solution.”

Smith had an eclec­tic, lit­er­ary – even pro­gres­sive – young adult­hood, and did not engage in so-called “revi­sion­ism” until he was nearly 50, when he read a copy of Robert Faurrison’s “The Prob­lem of the Gas Cham­bers.”  The pam­phlet, as Smith recalled in his mem­oir, “Con­fes­sions of a Holo­caust Revi­sion­ist,” changed his life. From that moment on, Smith’s Holo­caust denial was absolute – he refuted every piece of evi­dence that was pre­sented to him, from eye­wit­ness tes­ti­mony to pho­tographs of the con­cen­tra­tion camps to his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments – and he was deter­mined to share his new beliefs widely, espe­cially on col­lege campuses.

David Cole, who also pro­moted Holo­caust denial on cam­pus in the 1990s, wrote this about Smith: “…He made his mark. Whether they know if it or not, those today who cam­paign for free speech on col­lege cam­puses… all use tech­niques Bradley helped pio­neer. Cam­pus news­pa­per ads dis­guised as op-eds, cal­cu­lat­edly provoca­tive speak­ing tours, pit­ting stu­dent ide­al­ists against ide­o­logues… Bradley did it first.”

From 1987 to 2001, CODOH ran the Cam­pus Project, Smith’s attempt to fuel Holo­caust denial on uni­ver­sity cam­puses by plac­ing essay-length ads in more than 350 stu­dent news­pa­pers. Smith’s efforts set off heated First Amend­ment debates nationwide.committee-for-open-debate-on-the-holocaust-codoh-logo

In his homage to Smith, Holo­caust denier Arthur Butz, a pro­fes­sor of elec­tri­cal engi­neer­ing at North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity and author of “The Hoax of the Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury,” wrote of CODOH: “I call it a great suc­cess, because [Smith’s] kitchen-table oper­a­tion has grown into the prin­ci­pal cen­ter of revi­sion­ism, pub­lish­ing, post­ing or link­ing to arti­cles in sev­eral lan­guages and pro­vid­ing out­lets for peo­ple who make wor­thy con­tri­bu­tions… Con­grat­u­la­tions and R.I.P., Bradley, for a life that made a difference!”

Holo­caust denier Ger­mar Rudolf, a long­time Smith col­lab­o­ra­tor, added these words of praise: “Bradley’s legacy is mon­u­men­tal. Among revi­sion­ists, there are few who have achieved as much as he has… He almost single-handedly made his own nation lis­ten to the revi­sion­ist mes­sage, in spite of all estab­lish­ment attempts to silence him.”

Smith’s impact reached beyond his peers to every­day “revi­sion­ists.” On the day after his death, an anony­mous com­menter posted con­do­lences on the CODOH web­site:  “Though I never knew him per­son­ally, I have read a bit of his work… May he rest well know­ing that he lived a accom­plished life fight­ing the wicked goliath that sends waves of prop­a­ga­tion far…”

In recent years, Smith seemed deter­mined to con­tinue his work – and shore up his hate­ful legacy. In March 2015, he announced the cre­ation of a new Holo­caust denial web­site, A Light on Cam­pus, which fea­tures the tagline: “As a stu­dent, with regards to the Holo­caust nar­ra­tive, you are being directed by aca­d­e­mic taboo rather than intel­lec­tual free­dom and a free press. Do you want to con­tinue to sup­port this taboo, or con­front it?”

Even in the week lead­ing up to his death, Smith was mak­ing noise: On Feb­ru­ary 10, 2016, Jew­ish stu­dents at the Uni­ver­sity of Ver­mont received an email ques­tion­ing the record keep­ing at Auschwitz and claim­ing that one of the camp’s cre­ma­to­ri­ums was con­structed after World War II. The mes­sage was signed by Bradley Smith.

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December 28, 2015 1

Iran: While We Weren’t Looking

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This blog orig­i­nally appeared on Medium

Khamenei - Social Media Image

It’s been nearly two months since the so-called “adop­tion day” when Iran offi­cially began the process of scal­ing back its cen­trifuges and retro­fitting some its nuclear infra­struc­ture as part of the agree­ment with the world pow­ers to restrict its nuclear weapons pro­gram. Some have touted the agree­ment as a sign of Iran seek­ing to soften its poli­cies and join the world community.

Yet, for all of the fan­fare over the sum­mer about the con­se­quences of the Iran deal, it seems like lit­tle atten­tion has been paid to other Iran­ian poli­cies. Alas, with the world’s focus on the imme­di­ate dan­ger of the rad­i­cal extrem­ism ema­nat­ing from the Islamic State, Iran­ian actions in recent months have affirmed the regime’s unchanged agenda — pro­mot­ing illib­eral poli­cies that pro­foundly con­flict with our core val­ues and those of nearly every other mem­ber of the fam­ily of nations.

In recent weeks, some actu­ally have sug­gested that Wash­ing­ton “sep­a­rate its Iran pol­icy from Israel.” This is lit­tle more than a smoke­screen to divert atten­tion. Despite the impas­sioned rhetoric of some regime sup­port­ers, it’s not about Israel. It’s about the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran, a regime that con­tin­ues its author­i­tar­ian rule at home and one that enforces poli­cies over­seas that chal­lenge the core prin­ci­ples that cen­ter our country:

Dou­bling Down on Human Rights Vio­la­tions: Two years into the term of “reformist” Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani, the Islamic Repub­lic remains one of the world’s lead­ing human rights vio­la­tors. If any­thing, Iran has stepped up its abuses in recent months.

Activists and watch­dog groups report a harsh crack­down since Sep­tem­ber, with the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard arrest­ing dozens of activists, artists, car­toon­ists and jour­nal­ists. Notable among these are the deten­tion of 170 “man­agers of groups active in mobile social net­works” in Ghazvin, accord­ing to the Iran­ian Fars News Agency, and the arrest of admin­is­tra­tors of groups on a mes­sag­ing app for spread­ing “immoral content.”

Iran is one of the most dan­ger­ous coun­tries in the world if you are an LGBTQ per­son. In Octo­ber, Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards arrested 17 peo­ple at a birth­day party, say­ing they were “a net­work of homo­sex­u­als and Satanists.”

And, while crit­ics rightly have decried ISIS’ per­se­cu­tion of reli­gious minori­ties, there is wide­spread reli­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion in Iran — includ­ing ban­ning wor­ship and fre­quent arrests. In Novem­ber, accord­ing to reports, more than a dozen Chris­tians in Varamin were arrested for the “crime” of attend­ing church ser­vices on a Sunday.

The Baha’i World News Ser­vice reported 20 Baha’i Ira­ni­ans were arrested in three cities across Iran in recent weeks for no dis­cernible rea­son. The Shi­ite theoc­racy holds par­tic­u­lar con­tempt for Sunni Mus­lims. Many human rights observers are mon­i­tor­ing the high-profile case of Shahram Ahmadi, a Sunni pris­oner of con­science who cur­rently lan­guishes on death row in Iran sim­ply because of how he prays.

Beyond reli­gious per­se­cu­tion, a U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly human rights com­mit­tee res­o­lu­tion passed in mid-November con­demned Iran for its “alarm­ing high fre­quency of, and increase in the carrying-out of the death penalty….”

While ISIS has been derided for their bru­tal hap­haz­ard exe­cu­tions, Iran has sys­tem­atized the use of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment as a tool of the state against its per­ceived ene­mies, and has done so in com­plete dis­re­gard of inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized norms. This includes wide­spread exe­cu­tions “under­taken with­out noti­fi­ca­tion to the prisoner’s fam­ily mem­bers or legal coun­sel.” Accord­ing to Amnesty Inter­na­tional, Iran’s “stag­ger­ing exe­cu­tion spree” in 2015 could reach 1,000 exe­cu­tions by the end of the year.

Anti-Jewish and “Anti-Zionist” Pro­pa­ganda: Fan­tas­ti­cal anti-Israel and anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries have been a main­stay in the state-run Iran­ian media since the Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion in 1979. Offi­cial sources reg­u­larly issue explicit and implicit threats against the Jew­ish State. Almost too fre­quent to men­tion, there are some notable new addi­tions to the canon of hatred:

Just days after the attacks in Paris, Iran’s Fars News Agency pub­lished a so-called report titled, “Paris Bomb­ings — Fin­ger­prints of the Zion­ists Are Found Again” that made a series of bizarre unsub­stan­ti­ated accu­sa­tions, includ­ing that “After the ter­ror­ist attacks in Paris, it was once again con­firmed that French Jews were informed that the tragedy would hap­pen. Just as it hap­pened in the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks 14 years ago, when Jews work­ing in the Twin Tow­ers did not attend to work.” To add to this fic­tion, the account added that “Zion­ist offi­cials wanted to exploit [the attacks] to achieve their spe­cific goals,” albeit no fac­tual basis was pro­vided to explain this anti-Semitic con­spir­acy theory.

Iran con­sis­tently uses war-mongering rhetoric in its cam­paign against the Jew­ish state. Iran has accused Israel of cre­at­ing ISIS, despite the clear lunacy of such a sug­ges­tion. It is trou­bling to even repeat such a mon­strous fic­tion, but also seems ironic in light of the fact that arguably the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran has ben­e­fited more than any other gov­ern­ment in the world from the dis­tract­ing capa­bil­i­ties of ISIS. In this year’s annual com­mem­o­ra­tion of the anniver­sary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment launched a new pub­lic rela­tions cam­paign that declared: “Israel will be destroyed within 25 years.” This came on the heels of the Supreme Leader’s repeated use of social media to threaten Israel with destruc­tion, includ­ing his announce­ment in Novem­ber 2014 of a new “9-point plan to destroy Israel.”

In a recently released open “Let­ter to West­ern Youth,” Iran’s Supreme Leader, Aya­tol­lah Khamenei charged that Israel’s “ter­ror­ism” is worse than the attacks in Paris. He wrote of Israel, “In today’s world, do we know of any other vio­lence on this scale and scope and for such an extended period of time?” Alas, this was not writ­ten with any hint of irony.

Finally, whether we can credit the Supreme Leader or those around him, Iran recently revived one of for­mer Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadinejad’s favorites: the Holocaust-themed car­toon con­test. The 11th ver­sion of the “event” which has attracted extrem­ists and pro­pa­gan­dists from around the world promises to fea­ture much of the same. Best of all, orga­nizer Masud Shojai-Tabatabai told an Iran­ian news ser­vice, “[This year] we are also wor­ried about the con­tem­po­rary holo­causts in which a great num­ber of women and chil­dren are being killed in Iraq, Yemen, and Syria.” It is unclear whether this was intended to be ironic since he failed to point out that Iran is at the root of these con­flicts, sow­ing unrest in Yemen and per­haps more involved than any other state actor in sus­tain­ing the bru­tal­ity and loss of life in Syria.

Ter­ror­ism: Iran’s state spon­sor­ship of ter­ror­ism is well doc­u­mented. While the world focuses on responses to ISIS and other rad­i­cal Sunni groups includ­ing Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, Iran main­tains its finan­cial and oper­a­tional sup­port for equally vio­lent ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions such as Hezbol­lah, Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen. And, although ISIS just recently has shifted its focus out­side its local the­ater of oper­a­tions, Iran long has exported ter­ror beyond its bor­ders. Its litany of crimes spans con­ti­nents from Latin Amer­ica to Europe and includes an attempted assas­si­na­tion in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Iran has also expanded to Africa: just a few weeks ago, Kenyan author­i­ties announced the arrest of two local men who were described as hav­ing “links to Iran” for plot­ting attacks against West­ern tar­gets in the country.

Anti-Americanism: Dur­ing the sum­mer, many observers mar­veled at the fact that Amer­ica and Iran seem­ingly over­came decades of dis­trust to forge a diplo­matic agree­ment. Yet, despite the accord, Iran­ian lead­er­ship con­tin­ues to rail against the “Big Satan” with­out penalty or even oppro­brium. In a recent tele­vised address, Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei inex­plic­a­bly alleged that the U.S. is try­ing to “infil­trate Iran” using sex and money.

Iran con­tin­ues to imprison Amer­i­cans with­out any legal basis for doing so. The list of cap­tives includes Wash­ing­ton Post cor­re­spon­dent Jason Reza­ian, who, accord­ing to reports in the Iran­ian media, recently was sen­tenced to a prison term of inde­ter­mi­nate length. But Reza­ian is not alone. There are five oth­er­im­pris­oned Amer­i­can cit­i­zens, includ­ing Sia­mak Namazi, a Dubai-based busi­ness­man with dual U.S. and Iran­ian cit­i­zen­ship who was detained by the author­i­ties just last month for unsub­stan­ti­ated crimes.

Beyond unpro­voked arrests and pub­lic threats, the Islamic Repub­lic employs increas­ingly sophis­ti­cated tools in its efforts to tar­get Amer­ica. U.S. offi­cials have reported a “surge” in cyber-attacks ema­nat­ing from Iran, includ­ing a series of attempted hack­ing attacks that tar­geted State Depart­ment offi­cials, the very same indi­vid­u­als with whom the Islamic Repub­lic allegedly was nego­ti­at­ing in good faith on the nuclear deal. Admit­tedly, the reported hack­ing attack of Bow­man Avenue Dam near Rye Brook, NY took place two years ago before “good faith” was the norm. But it seems an indi­ca­tor of what we can expect in the future.

We still are months away from “imple­men­ta­tion day” — the date when the IAEA must cer­tify that Iran has met the require­ments spelled out in the nuclear agree­ment before inter­na­tional sanc­tions are lifted, and world atten­tion might shift back to Iran and its behav­iors. Mean­while, com­mer­cial del­e­ga­tions blaze a trail to Tehran and ana­lysts con­tem­plate a new era for Iran and the West.

But just as the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity is com­mit­ted to mon­i­tor­ing for poten­tial vio­la­tions in the nuclear realm, the Islamic Repub­lic ongo­ing human rights vio­la­tions and its exter­nal aggres­sions must be taken into account when con­sid­er­ing the prospect of nor­mal­ized relations.

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