- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2006


LOS ANGELES — An international Jewish human rights group again urged Germany yesterday to bar Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from attending soccer’s World Cup finals after the Islamist leader repeated his doubts about the Holocaust.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which made a similar appeal last month, repeated the request after Mr. Ahmadinejad questioned the Holocaust’s existence in an interview with a German magazine.

“I know this is difficult for the Germans; they have economic relations to think of,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“But it is unfair for the victims of the Holocaust and their families to pay the bill once again,” he said.

“Whether they say it publicly or privately, they should tell Ahmadinejad that he is unwelcome to attend the World Cup and that his presence there would be an affront to the millions of Jews and non-Jews who perished in the Holocaust,” Mr. Hier said.

In the interview with Der Spiegel that hits newsstands today, Mr. Ahmadinejad said: “I will only accept something as an absolute truth if I am fully convinced.”

He also repeated his calls for Jews to leave Israel and return to Europe.

“If the Holocaust happened, then Europe should suffer the consequences and not let Palestine pay the price. If nothing happened, then the Jews should go back to where they came from,” he said.

Mr. Ahmadinejad has said that he does not plan to attend the sport’s premier world tournament.

Germany has criminal laws against Holocaust denial.

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