Yad Vashem worried by Iranian Holocaust denial

By DPA

Haaretz

Tevet 12, 2006

Yad Vashem said yesterday it viewed with "growing concern" what it termed Iran's continued Holocaust denial, and called on the international community to act "to prevent genocidal intentions from becoming genocidal capabilities".

"Reports that the Association of Islamic-Journalists of Iran is convening an international conference of Holocaust deniers to `examine in depth this myth' illustrate how deeply entrenched Holocaust denial is in radical Islamic circles," Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said in a statement.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a series of remarks starting in October, has denied the occurence and extent of the Holocaust several times, at one point calling the Nazi genocide of Europe's Jews a "fairy tale." He said that if Europeans were responsible for the Jews' massacre, then they should relocate the Jewish state to their continent.

"Iran has embraced such charlatans as David Irving, who was found by a British court to be an `anti-Semite' and `racist' whose `falsification of the record was deliberate,' as well as Robert Faurisson and Roger Garaudy," Shalev said.

"These sham historians - totally discredited in the West - find a responsive audience in Iran, where senior officials have called the factual events of the Holocaust a `matter of opinion'," he continued.

Shalev said the United Nations and most of the world have recognized the importance of Holocaust remembrance as "a safeguard against the breakdown of the basic human values that underpin our civilization".

"The dismissal of the veracity of the Holocaust and its legacy represents a clear rejection of those values," he said.