Monday, January 1, 2007

Three weeks ago, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted a conference in Tehran to promote the cause of Holocaust denial. Sixty-seven persons from 30 countries attended the International Conference on Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision,” which had two main aims: to deny that the Holocaust ordered by German dictator Adolf Hitler killed 6 million Jews, or as a fallback position, to minimize Nazism’s human toll; and to deny the international legitimacy of Israel. Participants included former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke; and some of Europe’s most prominent Holocaust deniers, including French Professor Robert Faurisson, who has questioned whether Nazi gas chambers really existed. At the conference hall, there were pictures, CDs and posters, all of them dealing with some aspect of Holocaust denial. These included pictures of Holocaust survivors liberated from Nazi death camps; the pictures were falsely labeled as photographs of typhus patients who had been quarantined to prevent the spread of the disease. (Visit

A recurring theme at the Tehran conference was the connection between Holocaust denial and the destruction of Israel. “Just as the Soviet Union was erased from [the map of] the world, so will the Zionist entity soon disappear,” Mr. Ahmadinejad told conferees. Iranian Foreign Minister Mamuchehr Mottaki declared that “an official study of the Holocaust will also lead to the nature of the Zionist regime’s existence being questioned.” Mr. Duke, who denied that gas chambers were used to kill Jews, said “the Zionists have used the Holocaust as a weapon” to conceal Israeli crimes.

Conference participants agreed to establish an international institution to study the Holocaust, and appointed Mohammad Ali Ramin, an adviser to Mr. Ahmadinejad, as general secretary. Mr. Ramin says that, throughout history, Jews have “inflicted the most damage on the human race,” and that some Jews have engaged “in plotting against other nations and ethnic groups to cause malice, cruelty and wickedness.” Mr. Ramin has also suggested that the Holocaust was a myth concocted by the United States and Great Britain to weaken Germany by falsely depicting it as a “human-burning nation.”

Such statements, while disturbing enough in and of themselves, must be viewed in the larger context of Iranian support for terrorist groups targeting Israel, along with the fact that Mr. Ahmadinejad has missiles capable of reaching Israel and is working to develop nuclear weapons. When you add it all up, the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists argues persuasively in a new report issued in conjunction with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Mr. Ahmadinejad is actively attempting to incite genocide against Israel. In its report, which is endorsed by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, the association notes that all too often, the civilized world, when confronted with leaders bent on mass murder, “has consistently delayed action until after thousands or even millions were already slain.” In Rwanda, for example, the 1994 massacre of 800,000 Tutsi tribesmen was proceeded by years of propaganda incitement against them by the Hutu majority and reports that death squads were being formed. In Bosnia, there was ample warning that Serb President Slobodan Milosevic was prepared to slaughter his neighbors, but the world refused to act until 200,000 Bosnians were killed. With Tehran determined to acquire nuclear weapons, the failure to act could be far more costly this time.

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