The chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday denounced Iran’s “genocidal threats” against Israel and warned that the fight against Holocaust deniers “is far from over.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican, said the United States must confront anti-Semitism, especially from those who claim the Nazis never killed millions of Jews during World War II.
“The fight against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial is far from over,” she said.
“These efforts are needed now more than ever, as the Iranian regime draws ever closer to having nuclear weapons that it seeks in order to make good on its genocidal threats to wipe Israel off the map and to achieve a world without America and a world without Zionism.”
Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen was one of several human rights advocates who reviewed anti-Semitism in the Middle East and in Sudan at a Capitol briefing organized by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and the Lantos Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial Archives, named for the late Rep. Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to have served in Congress.
MEMRI, which translates Middle East news reports, released a 15-minute video archive of TV programming at the briefing that showed anti-Semitic comments from television personalities, government officials, academics and clerics in the past year.
In the clips, individuals from more than half a dozen countries claimed: that Jews were descended from apes and pigs, that they slaughtered gentiles to provide blood for the Passover tradition, that the Germans ought to be praised for having killed Jews, and that Jews are naturally racist and bloodthirsty.
Hannah Rosenthal, the State Department’s Special envoy to combat anti-Semitism, said the TV clips are echoed in her interactions with government leaders and educators, who both deny the Holocaust and continue to teach anti-Semitism.
“No government should produce materials that are intolerant of members of any religion, any racial group, any ethnic group, or should teach intolerance of any kind in its educational curriculum,” she said. “If you don’t learn the history, you can’t learn the lessons of history.”
An even more “bone-chilling” aspect of recent public statements is the glorification of the Holocaust, she said.
One MEMRI clip showed Wiam Wahhab, a former Lebanese Cabinet minister, discussing the World Cup in 2010, saying, “I like the Germans because they hate the Jews and burned them.”
House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, released a letter comparing MEMRI to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s efforts after liberating the Ohrdruf concentration camp near Weimar, Germany.
“Eisenhower ordered all available American troops to go and witness the horrors he’d just seen. He also forced German citizens and officials from nearby towns to do the same,” Mr. Boehner said in the letter.
“He understood that there must be a record, first-hand evidence and incontrovertible answers to those who would deny the Holocaust.”
MEMRI President Yigal Carmon said the protests of the Arab Spring provide some hope for a new Middle East.
“The mindset is changing,” Mr. Carmon said. “The fragmentation in the Arab World is not giving way to hate against external elements, particularly the Jews, … but rather a greater focus on the real problems: oppressive regimes, lack of freedoms and disregard of human rights.”