Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein voiced strong condemnation on Wednesday, January 13, against an Iranian competition featuring the best caricature drawing depicting the Holocaust. The winner of the competition will receive a large cash prize.
Addressing the Knesset, Edelstein told members that the Jewish people could not remain silent in the face of such a flagrant example of anti-Semitism which he said recalled the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
“We are witnessing, unfortunately, a serious and repetitive phenomenon of anti-Semitism across the world. In these days it has been declared in Tehran that an international competition will take place on the theme of cartoons depicting Holocaust denial and mockery,” he said.
Edelstein urged members of the Knesset to join in a viral campaign publicly decrying the competition on the annual International Holocaust Memorial Day which takes place on January 27.
In an effort to whip up international opposition to the competition, Edelstein sent a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon in which he expressed his “outrage” and implored him to use his position to denounce event.
“There are no words strong enough to describe the contempt and profound disdain of the State of Israel, the Israeli people and many others the world over, to Iran’s insistent Holocaust denial, continued under Rouhani’s regime despite its false facade of tolerance toward the Iranian as well as World Jewry,” Edelstein told the UN Secretary General.
Comparing Rouhani to his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who repeatedly called for Israel’s eradication, Edelstein evoked the Holocaust as a reminder to the Secretary General that 70 years after a third of the world’s Jewish population were murdered, Rouhani “does not even attempt to conceal Iran’s attempt to eliminate the State of Israel.”
Edelstein praised the decision taken by the UN in 2005 to adopt a resolution establishing the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
He also requested that the Secretary General publicly condemn the competition.
“I ask that you exert your moral authority through public condemnation of the Iranian policy by addressing this matter directly with Iran as well,” he wrote.
The first such contest was announced by an editor of the Tehran Hamshahri newspaper, Farid Mortazavi. It was launched in response to twelve cartoons published in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten in 2005, most of which depicted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad causing anger in much of the Muslim world.
This is the third time that such a competition has been held in Iran in recent years.