World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said Friday that he was “disgusted” by the fact that Iran was once again staging a global competition showcasing cartoons denying and mocking the Holocaust, adding that the Iranian government was insulting the international community by portraying itself as moderate while allowing such a display to be carried out under its name.
“The Iranian government is making a mockery of itself and of the international community by allowing this Holocaust denial cartoon competition to be held under its auspices,” Lauder said. “Iran is constantly trying to convince the world that it has softened its edge and is ready to become a moderate member of the international community. The current government repeatedly distances itself from former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s desire to ‘wipe Israel off the map,’ saying that it has turned over a new leaf and poses no danger to the world.”
“This same Iranian government wants the world to believe that it would not use nuclear capabilities against Israel or the West,” Lauder continued. “But how is the world to believe such claims when the Islamic Republic continues to abet such disgusting and degrading forms of anti-Semitism and historical revisionism? This competition is nothing less than an insult to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and a slap in the face to the gestures of the international community.”
The International Holocaust Cartoon Competition, being held for the third year in a row, opens Saturday and runs through May 30 and includes 150 submissions from 50 artists around the world.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif told the New Yorker in a recent interview that the government was completely unaffiliated with the competition and in no way condoned it. However, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum recently revealed that the organizations holding the competition, the Owj Media & Cultural Institute and the Sarsheshmeh Cultural Center, are directly linked to and funded by organs of the Iranian government, including the Revolutionary Guards.
“It has always been clear who runs Iran: the fundamentalist radicals seeking Israel’s destruction,” Lauder said. “The fact that Iran is once again providing a platform for this competition proves that it has still not changed its colors and if given the chance, could still be as dangerous as ever.”