Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is outraged at Iran for staging a holocaust-themed cartoon contest. Netanyahu claims that the cartoon contest mocks the deaths of six million jews that lost their lives to the Nazi’s during WWII. He went on to claim that Iran is planning for a second holocaust for the people of Israel.
Netanyahu claims that the recently approved Iran Nuclear deal was designed to threaten Israel and its people. Iran has a history of backing armed groups and often claims that Israel should be “wiped off the map”. Netanyahu states that there is a fundamental flaw in Iran’s values that makes them a danger to Israelis. He said that Iran:
“It denies the Holocaust, it mocks the Holocaust and it is also preparing another Holocaust,”
Denial of the holocaust is common in the Middle East. Many people believe it was nothing but a pretext for the creation of Israel and that reports of the death and destruction that occured during the Holocaust are highly exaggerated.
The holocaust-themed cartoon contest that sparked the controversy is not sponsored by the governement but has received support from many Iranian officials. Former President of Iran, and vehement holocaust denier, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sponsored a similar contest in 2006.
Despite evidence of similar contests being supported in the past, contest organizer Masuod Shojai Tabatabaei claims that the purpose of the contest is no to deny the holocaust but to highlight the hypocrisy and double-standard of the western world when it comes to freedom of expression. He takes a tit-for-tat approach and cites the Charlie Hebdo attacks as an example of this double-standard. He states that if depictions of the prophet Muhammad by the writers and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo are acceptable then cartoons featuring the holocaust should also be acceptable.