DECEMBER 15, 2006JERUSALEM -- Yad Vashem hosted an event to counter Iran’s Holocaust denial conference.

Forty foreign diplomats gathered Thursday in Jerusalem for a symposium titled “Holocaust Denial: Paving the Way to Genocide.”

Participants called for the international community to take action against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called the Nazi genocide a myth and hosted international Holocaust deniers in Tehran this week.

“Holocaust denial in Muslim countries is imbedded in radical Islam, and one has to understand that context if one wants to deal with denial and with the new genocidal threat posed by the Iranian regime,” Yehuda Bauer, academic adviser to Yad Vashem, told the conference.

Avner Shalev, chairman of Yad Vashem’s directorate, said the institution was translating material on its Web site into Arabic and Farsi, and producing an Arabic-language audio guide for its museum.

Meanwhile, Neturei Karta, a fervently Orthodox, anti-Zionist fringe sect defended its decision to attend a Holocaust denial conference in Iran.

Ilan Deutch, a spokesman for the group, said in an interview that members of the group went to the controversial Tehran parley this week as part of its efforts to “prove” that the Holocaust has been misused to build political support for Israel.

Asked on Israel Radio how he could rub shoulders with those who say the Holocaust was fabricated or exaggerated, Deutch said, “For the sake of saving Jews from Zionism, you have to do these things sometimes.”

According to Deutch, Neturei Karta believes Jews would be better off without a homeland, living as minorities around the world.

He resisted calls by the interviewer to apologize to Holocaust survivors for Neturei Karta’s attendance at the event, whose host, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has described the Nazi genocide as a myth and called for the destruction of Israel.



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