Iran opens conference questioning the Holocaust

Iran opens conference questioning the Holocaust

By Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran opened a conference on Monday to examine the Holocaust and question whether Nazi Germany used gas chambers to kill Jews, drawing condemnation in the West and criticism from Iran's Jewish community.

Jewish rabbis were present at the government-sponsored event "Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision" alongside academics from Europe, where some countries have made it a crime to deny the Nazi killing of 6 million Jews from 1933 to 1945.

"The aim of this conference is not to deny or confirm the Holocaust," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in a welcome address. "Its main aim is to create an opportunity for thinkers who cannot express their views freely in Europe about the Holocaust."

The event, which Iran has said will question whether gas chambers were actually used against the Jews, has drawn widespread criticism from Holocaust survivors, Jewish organizations, human rights groups and Western governments.

Sessions at the two-day conference, held at the Foreign Ministry's Institute for Political and International Studies, were to include "Holocaust: Aftermath and Exploitation" and "Demography: Denial or Confirmation?"

The conference was inspired by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who since coming to power in August 2005 has sparked international condemnation with comments referring to the Holocaust as a "myth" and calling Israel a "tumor."

Among the participants was U.S. academic David Duke, a former Louisiana Republican Representative. He praised Iran for hosting the event.

"There must be freedom of speech, it is scandalous that the Holocaust cannot be discussed freely," Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader told Reuters. "It makes people turn a blind eye to Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people."


French writer Georges Thiel, who has been convicted in France for spreading revisionist theories about the mass extermination of Jews, said the Holocaust was "an enormous lie."

"Jewish people have been persecuted, that is true, they have been deported, that is true, but there was no machinery of murder in any camp -- no gas chambers," he said.

Participants included about half a dozen Jews from Europe and the United States clad in long black coats and black hats, some wearing badges depicting the Israeli flag crossed out. One wore a badge saying: "A Jew, not a Zionist."

"We came here to put the Orthodox Jewish viewpoint," said British Rabbi Ahron Cohen. "We certainly say there was a Holocaust ... But in no way can it be used as a justification for perpetrating unjust acts against the Palestinians."

The conference has upset Iran's 25,000-strong Jewish community, said Moris Motamed, the sole Jewish representative in Iran's parliament.

"Denying it (the Holocaust) is a huge insult," he told Reuters. "By holding this conference, they (the government) are continuing to insult the Jewish community."

Many ordinary Iranians admitted to embarrassment about the event, which follows Iran's decision to hold a competition for cartoons about the Holocaust in October.

A former senior government official, who declined to be named, said that hosting the conference was unwise given diplomatic pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.
"Such conferences should not be held," he said.
(additional reporting by Edmund Blair)

You got a link?

EDIT - I found it (external - login to view)
Iran is acting like a ten year old. Just when the brat needs a slap dad is too busy fighting with the neighbours.
Has anyone noticed that the President of Iran is following a recommendation by the Koran ?

Before you smite your enemies, you give them a chance to mend their ways.

Hence the letters to the European Union, to Germany, to the UN, and a couple to the
POTUS, President of the United States, and to Blair of Britain.

The pyschological rationale is also very appealing to those who believe in this religious recommendation.
It is so nice to be righteous, to say you tried to give them a chance.
Last edited by jimmoyer; Dec 11th, 2006 at 11:53 AM..
He's taking Iran back into the dark ages, like all the radical nut jobs are doing. He's crazy, a scary crazy. Will the Jewish people ever see true peace with evil like him alive, NO.
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