Iran's Holocaust Cartoons: The Latest in Holocaust Denial
The larger objective was to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist, something Iranian leaders have perpetuated since the 1979 Islamic revolution, primarily by refusing to recognize the Jewish state by referring to it only as “the Zionist regime.”
The latest cartoon site launch is an offshoot of an Iranian Holocaust denial cartoon contest that was held in 2006 as a cynical offset response to controversy stirred up by the 2005 Danish daily Jyllands-Posten “Mohammed” cartoon series.
The Iranian contest winners hailed from Morocco, Brazil, and France and they were awarded $12,000.00 and $8,000.00 for their depictions.
Beyond cartoon sites and allegations, does Holocaust denial coming from a Wild West -- or East, in this case -- state present a threat to Jews or minority populations at large?
Historian and author Deborah Lipstadt would probably nod vigorously. When she first decided to write about the phenomenon of Holocaust denial in the late 80s her colleagues advised against it, saying deniers were a fringe group of loonies.
Today, Lipstadt’s concerns, expressed in her authoritative work Denying the Holocaust -- The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, are almost prophetic.
In a 2006 interview, Lipstadt said:
There is a unique power possessed by the person who can say: "This is my story. This is what happened to me." But the tyranny of time guarantees that we will only have those voices for a few more years. ... One might have expected that there would be a recognition of the fact that the active denial so prevalent in the Arab/Muslim world makes those who express these views look silly at best and nefarious at worst. This has not happened.
Harmless cartoons? Dangerous descent? Preferably the former. But protest and outcry must continue to prevail loudly in order to prevent the latter.