Iran paper plans Holocaust cartoons
Monday 06 February 2006, 20:00 Makka Time, 17:00 GMT
Iran's largest selling newspaper has announced it is holding a contest on cartoons of the Holocaust in response to the publishing in European papers of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
"It will be an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust," Farid Mortazavi, the graphics editor for Hamshahri newspaper, which is published by Tehran's conservative-run municipality, said on Monday.
He said the plan was to turn the tables on the assertion that newspapers can print offensive material in the name of freedom of expression.
"The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let's see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons," he asserted.
Iran's fiercely anti-Israeli regime is supportive of so-called Holocaust revisionist historians, who maintain the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe's Jews as well as other groups during World War II has been either invented or exaggerated.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's hardline president, prompted international anger when he dismissed the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe's Jews as a "myth" used to justify the creation of Israel.
Mortazavi said Tuesday's edition of the paper will invite cartoonists to enter the
competition, with "private individuals"
offering gold coins to the best 12 artists - the same number of cartoons that appeared in the conservative Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
Last week the Iranian Foreign Ministry also invited Tony Blair, the British prime minister, to Tehran to take part in a planned conference on the Holocaust, even though the idea has been branded by Blair as "shocking, ridiculous, stupid".
Blair also said Ahmadinejad "should come and see the evidence of the Holocaust himself in the countries of Europe", to which Iran responded by saying it was willing to send a team of "independent investigators". - AFP
Areas where Cartoon controversy is causing unrest
Iran accuses Israel of 'exploiting' past Jewish suffering
By Amiram Barkat and Shlomo Shamir
European leaders marked the first International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, which was the 61st anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. The ceremony was overshadowed by Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, denying the Holocaust and threatening Israel
Last week Iran accused the "Zionist regime" of "routinely attempting to exploit the suffering of the Jewish people in the past as a cover for its crimes being perpetrated today against Palestinians in the occupied territories."
An official document sent by Iran's UN mission to the president of the General Assembly, Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson, lists these crimes as "Massacre, demolition of houses, properties and farmlands as well as acts of state terrorism."
Iran urges the international community to "take strong action against such atrocious crimes of the Zionist regime and not allow it to manipulate humanitarian sentiments to pursue its illegitimate goals." The document, which is unsigned, is dated January 23.
The events of the first International Holocaust Remembrance Day consisted of ceremonies an several death camp sites and special parliament sessions. Groups of schoolchildren in France, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands visited sites and exhibitions about the Holocaust.
Germany's parliament commemorated the Nazis' victims and the president of the German parliament, Norbert Lammert, said Iranian President Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust in recent weeks shows "how much not only we Germans need to keep its memory alive. With dismay we have had to note that today, even presidents insist on describing the Holocaust as a fairy tale." Lammert said the need to commemorate the millions of Jews and others murdered by the Nazis will not diminish with time.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday the fate of the victims of the Holocaust should remind the world to be vigilant against racism and keep in check the "bigots" denying the extermination of the Jews during World War II.
"The fate of the victims of the Holocaust should be a warning for all of us that we live in a world where ... you have modernism mixed with barbarism and we should be vigilant in trying to ensure that what happened is never repeated," Annan told reporters after meeting with Holocaust survivors in Zurich.
Annan said the bigots deny that "the unique experience of the Holocaust occurred and that should be countered. You start with humiliations, you start with racism, you demean the other and before you know it has moved on to incredible levels."
The commemoration comes just four days after Iran said it would follow through with plans to organize a conference on what it terms the "scientific evidence" for the Holocaust. The planned conference, which has drawn condemnation from Western leaders, is yet another step in hard-line President Ahmadinejad's public campaign against Israel.
Without mentioning Iran by name, Annan said in a statement, "We must reject their false claims whenever, wherever and by whomever they are made."
Last year, the UN General Assembly commemorated the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps with a special session, a stark change for a body that was often reluctant to address the extermination of the Jews during World War II.
The central commemoration for Holocaust victims in Poland was held at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz laid a wreath at the foot of the main memorial for some 1.5 million people who died in the camp, saying "the Holocaust is a crime that tarnishes human history. Let it be a warning today and for the future. One cannot submit to ideologies that justify the possibility of trampling on human dignity," Marcinkiewicz said. Marcinkiewicz was accompanied by the Israeli ambassador to Poland, camp survivors and representatives of the Jewish community. In a symbolic gesture to the million Jewish Poles who were murdered in the Holocaust, a light rail carriage that operated in the Warsaw Ghetto before its annihilation, drove through Warsaw bearing a Star of David.
Russia's Jewish leaders, rights activists and officials commemorated the Holocaust on Friday, calling for stepping up the fight against extremism and anti-Semitism. Russia's chief rabbi, Berl Lazar, said a remembrance prayer at a commemoration event at the Moscow Writers' House, urging leaders worldwide to do more to promote tolerance.
Lazar lamented that extremist sentiments were gaining popularity around the world, including in Russia, where a knife attack earlier this month on worshipers at a Moscow synagogue left eight people wounded.
In Prague, Auschwitz survivor Felix Kolmer urged people to look ahead as well as back. "Let's not forget that memories of our suffering have to be also a point of departure for creating a better future," said Kolmer, 83.
Brazilian President Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Friday said the world must remember the Holocaust with "indignation" to keep from repeating the tragedy.
"The shadow of this tragedy extends itself over all of mankind, which must commit itself to never forget one of the most tragic episodes in history," Silva said.
The Brazilian president addressed some 300 people in a ceremony at the Sao Paulo Jewish Congregation's synagogue. "We, our children, our children's children and all future generations must remember the Holocaust with indignation and prevent this heinous crime from repeating itself ever again.
A Northwestern University professor known for denying the Holocaust happened has publicly sided with Iran's hard-line president, who has been on a campaign against Israel. Engineering professor Arthur Butz said Friday that he agrees with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks calling the Holocaust a "myth." Butz said his comments supporting the president recently were published by the English-language Tehran Times and Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency.
Butz, a tenured professor whose views have been known in the United States for years, is being promoted by Iranian news sources as one of the world scholars who support Ahmadinejad's views on the Holocaust. "I congratulate him on becoming the first head of state to speak out clearly on these issues and regret only that it was not a Western head of state," Butz said in a Mehr news report. He posted the same comments on his Northwestern-provided Web site.
Jewish leaders expressed fear that support from a United States educator could add credibility to Ahmadinejad's comments about Israel and the Holocaust.
"Butz's most recent invective demonstrates the power of hate to rally extremists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers out from under their rocks throughout the world," said Richard Hirschhaut, executive director of the Holocaust Foundation of Illinois.
A report published Wednesday by Mehr said Butz was interviewed Dec. 26 "in the wake of the international uproar that arose" after Ahmadinejad questioned the Nazi killing of 6 million Jews and called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." Iran also recently announced plans for a conference to examine evidence of the Holocaust.
Butz did not comment in the Iranian press or on his Web site about Ahmadinejad's views on the destruction of Israel. Butz told the Tribune Friday that his comments supporting Ahmadinejad were first published in December in the Tehran Times after he e-mailed a statement to an Iranian journalist. He said the reporter asked him more questions by e-mail, and his response was published this week by the news agency. Butz said he spoke to the Iranian press because "sometimes I just talk about the things I'm interested in."
Butz said in the Mehr report that the Holocaust didn't happen, that it is a "deliberately contrived falsehood" and that its promulgation was motivated by the desire to create a Jewish state in the Middle East. "I continue to maintain those three theses, which have become core features of what is called `Holocaust revisionism.' Apart from some nuances of wording, the three theses were repeated by President Ahmadinejad. Therefore, there can be no question that I endorse his remarks in those respects," Butz wrote.
Since 1996, Butz has posted his views about the Holocaust on his Northwestern-affiliated Web site, including information from his 1976 book The Hoax of the 20th Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry.
Northwestern University spokesman Al Cubbage emphasized that the university does not agree with Butz. "As certainly has been made clear on many occasions, Northwestern University as an institution obviously does not endorse or agree with the personal opinions of professor Butz," Cubbage said. "At the same time, however, the university does believe that its faculty members are entitled to express their own personal opinions."
Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune
Northwestern University Associate Professor Arthur Butz recently issued a statement commending Iranian President Ahmadinejad's assertion that the Holocaust never happened. Butz is a Holocaust denier who has made similar assertions previously. His latest statement, like his earlier writings and pronouncements, is a contemptible insult to all decent and feeling people. While I hope everyone understands that Butz's opinions are his own and in no way represent the views of the University or me personally, his reprehensible opinions on this issue are an embarrassment to Northwestern.
There is no question that the Holocaust is a well-documented historical fact. The University has a professorship in Holocaust Studies endowed by the Holocaust Educational Foundation. Northwestern offers courses in Holocaust Studies and organizes conferences of academic scholars who teach in areas relating to the Holocaust. In addition, Northwestern hosts a summer Institute for Holocaust and Jewish Civilization. And most recently, a fellowship in the political science department has been established in my name by the Holocaust Educational Foundation. In short, Northwestern University has contributed significantly to the scholarly research of the Holocaust and remains committed to doing so.
Butz is a tenured associate professor in electrical engineering. Like all faculty members, he is entitled to express his personal views, including on his personal web pages, as long as he does not represent such opinions as the views of the University. Butz has made clear that his opinions are his own and at no time has he discussed those views in class or made them part of his class curriculum. Therefore, we cannot take action based on the content of what Butz says regarding the Holocaust - however odious it may be - without undermining the vital principle of intellectual freedom that all academic institutions serve to protect.
Media Contact: Alan Cubbage at 847-491-4886,firstname.lastname@example.org
A Northwestern professor's support for the Iranian president's denial of the Holocaust is angering students and faculty across the university.
McCormick Prof. Arthur Butz recently backed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in comments published by several Iranian news agencies. Calling the Holocaust a myth, Ahmadinejad said Israel should no longer exist as a country. The remarks are causing global controversy.
“I congratulate him on becoming the first head of state to speak out clearly on these issues and regret only that it was not a Western head of state,” Butz said. His comments were reprinted in Saturday's Chicago Tribune.
Butz's statements circulated campus through student listservs, includes ones through Hillel Cultural Life and Shephard Residential College. One widespread e-mail asked students to sign a petition calling for the university to take action and prevent Butz from causing future embarrassment. Butz did not return phone calls or e-mails asking for his comment.
In a statement released Monday, University President Henry Bienen said the university cannot take action against the tenured professor because Butz has kept his views out of the classroom and unaffiliated with the school.
“We cannot take action based on the content of what Butz says regarding the Holocaust - however odious it may be - without undermining the vital principle of intellectual freedom that all academic institutions serve to protect,” Bienen wrote.
Stuart Loren, a Weinberg sophomore, created the petition against Butz on Saturday after reading the professor's statements in the Tribune. The petition has about 200 signatures.
“The importance of the petition is not so much whether he is fired or not, but to make a loud response from the Jewish community and the university as a whole,” said Adam Dorsky, a Communication freshman who signed the petition.
Loren said he hopes the petition will encourage NU to clarify its standard of conduct for faculty and make wiser decisions when giving tenure to professors. “Northwestern should not serve as a forum or haven for the spread of hatred or historical inaccuracy,” Loren said.
Butz' stance is nothing new. In 1976, just two years receiving his tenure, he published book denying the Holocaust titled The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. Since, his views have been published through various articles and speeches. His latest statements have reverberated beyond NU's campus. Since Saturday, Loren has received e-mails from NU parents, alumni and a Holocaust survivor.
“I think we're forming a respectful and civilized platform to hold a dialogue on,” Loren said. “I'm glad people are being respectful.”
For many, the appropriate limits of free speech remain the salient issue. Some, like Chabad House Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, define the professor's message as “hate speech.”
“The pain and hurt associated with this is beyond words,” Klein said. “I just want to sit down and cry every time I think about it.”
Rabbi Josh Feigelson from the Fiedler Hillel Center has also issued a response condemning Butz' comments.
Aside from signing the petition, some Jewish students in McCormick also refuse to take courses that Butz teaches. “I would never take a class with him; it would be very uncomfortable to take a class with someone who denies the Holocaust,” said Alex Thaler, a McCormick
Students have taken action against Butz roughly every five years since he first published his book, said Prof. Peter Hayes, chairman of NU's German department. Hayes, who teaches History of the Holocaust, describes Butz as “a crank and a fool.” “I just hope people will not overreact to this,” Hayes said. “He loves the attention and why should we give it to him? This is how he publicizes his crazy views and we should just treat them with the contempt they deserve.”
A community forum on Holocaust denial will take place tonight at 8 p.m. in room 212 of the Fiedler Hillel Center.
© 2006 The Daily Northwestern – http://www.dailynorthwestern.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2006/02/07/43e83f82c9735
Letters to the Editor, February 07, 2006. Butz has no place at NU
This weekend, two Danish embassies in Syria and Lebanon were burned to the ground because of extremists who continue to be offended by a series of cartoons which ran in a Danish newspaper depicting the Prophet Mohammed, which violated Islamic law. The events of the past week have forced us to take a close look at the most basic American right of freedom of speech.
Enter Professor Arthur Butz. I've never met Professor Butz, but I have heard of him, as I'm sure many Northwestern students have. In an article published Friday in the Chicago Tribune, Professor Butz acknowledged that he agrees with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - who may or may not have kidnapped Americans in 1979 - that the Holocaust did not take place.
Professor Butz congratulated President Ahmadinejad on becoming the first head of state to speak out clearly on these issues and posted it all on his Web site, which is provided by NU.
NU should not support this type of racist
ideology on its property, virtual or otherwise. Even though every American
deserves his or her right to free speech,
including Professor Butz, that person should not be using the institution to which I pay tuition as an instrument to propagate anti-Semitic philosophy.
-Todd Lewis, Weinberg junior
Fredrick Töben comments on the following: The one way street of 'hate speech'. Consider these two sentences: Some, like Chabad House Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, define the professor's message as “hate speech.” “The pain and hurt associated with this is beyond words,” Klein said. “I just want to sit down and cry every time I think about it".
1. Does Rabbi Klein not realize that he is accusing Germans of having committed a terrible atrocity, something that is just as hurtful. This is the reason why the matter must not be resolved in courts of law but in open enquiry.
2. Anyone who propagates the Holocaust as a true story is propagating German hatred. Am I to accept, without question, such an allegation and consider my father to be a mass murderer? That’s being stupid and totally submissive to an evil thought-structure set on destroying the German mind. The use of the concepts ‘racist’ and ‘antisemite’ is a mere indicator the accuser has no argument to offer and can only rely on verbal abuse and on legal persecution.
3. The fact that a number of Revisionists are in prison indicates the Holocaust story will not stand up to open enquiry.
4. Prof Peter Heyes says Prof Butz is “a crank and a fool”.; that indicates Hayes is a moral and intellectual bankrupt who is floundering and out of his depth within an academic environment.
5. In any enquiry Revisionists worry about Truth as a guiding principle while fools, such as Prof Hayes, play to the gallery and worry what others think of him. He is the manipulator and trickster par excellence!
6. Truth is the bedrock of our civilization and remains our guiding light.
Jyllands-Posten, the Danish paper that first published the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, has ignited a firestorm akin to that during the Salman Rushdie affair. It's Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, had in the past rejected Jesus cartoons saying: "I don't think Jyllands-Posten's readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry." The paper's culture editor, Flemming Rose, said in an interview: "This is about the question of integration and how compatible is the religion of Islam with a modern secular society." It is not. It is about civil society.
"Islam," said HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, in a speech some years ago, "is part of our past and present, in all fields of human endeavour. It has helped to create modern Europe. It is part of our own inheritance, not a thing apart."
In India - the country with third largest Muslim population, the Muslim Emperor Akbar [1542-1605], according to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, laid the foundations of a secular state. Christian Europe then was just entering the period known as the Reformation, and had expelled its Jews and Muslims, or forced them to convert to Christianity. Islam is compatible with a modern secular society. The West's double standards and hypocrisy are what fuel Muslim anger. For example:
* On March 6, 2001 the European Court of Justice ruled that "the European Union can lawfully suppress political criticism of its institutions and of leading figures, sweeping aside English Common Law and 50 years of European precedents on civil liberties."
* A challenge in 1990 to the publication of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses on the grounds that it contained "a blasphemous libel concerning Almighty God (Allah) the Supreme Deity common to all the major religions of the world" was rejected because Britain's blasphemy law was restricted to "scurrilous vilification of the Christian religion."
* A Paris court on February 27, 1998, fined French philosopher Roger Garaudy $40,000 for statements made in his 1996 book "The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics." The European Court of Human Rights declared inadmissible his appeal lodged in the case of Garaudy v. France.
* Ernst Zündel, Germar Rudolf and David Irving are serving time in jail in Europe for their views about the holocaust. Why doesn't the press support Zündel's, Rudolf's, Irving's, or Garaudy's right to free speech?
* It has been reported that Jyllands-Posten's Rose traveled to Philadelphiain
October 2004 to visit Daniel Pipes, whose web site Campus Watch works to undermine free speech. President George W. Bush nominated Pipes to the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Would a U.S. president invite Zündel, Rudolf, Irving, or Garaudy to dinner at the White House as then President Clinton invited Salman Rushdie?"
We understand that changes to the Patriot Act sought by President Bush would make illegal at certain gatherings signs that have not been previously approved.
Violent demonstrations are not the path Prophet Muhammad would have chosen, but they are understandable. Muslims are fed up with the double standards, the constant attacks on Islam, and their virtual exclusion from mainstream debate.
Civil society requires more than merely observing the law. Language acceptable in a book or tabloid is not necessarily acceptable from society's leaders - be it from the head of state, or in a major newspaper.
"All freedoms, including the freedom of speech, come with responsibility. Having the right to cause offense does not make it right to do so," said Terry Davis, the head of Europe's leading human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe.
About the author: Enver Masud is the founder and CEO of The Wisdom Fund http://www.twf.org, and the recipient of the 2002 Gold Award from the Human Rights Foundation for his book The War on Islam. Mr. Masud has worked as an engineering management consultant for the World Bank, EBRD and USAID in Albania, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Latvia, Pakistan, Russia, Tanzania. He has BS and MS degrees from the University of Oklahoma, a BS from St. Stephens College in New Delhi, India.
MANNHEIM (dpa) Nach einem im November geplatzten Prozess soll Ernst Zündel von Donnerstag, 9.Februar, an erneut wegen Volksverhetzung, Beleidigung und Verunglimpfung des Andenkens Verstorbener vor dem Landgericht Mannheim stehen.
Die Schriften tragen Titel wie "Sein Kampf für Deutschland" und "Germania-Rundbriefe". Der 66-jährige Rechtsextremist, der als einer der aktivsten Holocaust-Leugner gilt, soll in den einschlägigen Publikationen und über seine Internet-Homepage "Zundelsite" weltweit den Massenmord an den Juden im Nationalsozialismus abgestritten haben.
Gemeinsam mit seiner amerikanischen Frau soll Zündel nach Darstellung der Staatsanwaltschaft von Kanada und den USA aus nazistische und antisemitische Propaganda betrieben haben. In seinen Botschaften habe er "in pseudo-wissenschaftlicher Art den Nationalsozialismus vom Makel des Judenmordes entlasten wollen und das von nationalsozialistischen Machthabern geplante Vernichtungsschicksal der Juden geleugnet". Auf rund 20 Seiten zitiert die Anklage aus Zündels Veröffentlichungen - etwa, dass der Holocaust darin als ein "Lügenmonstrum" bezeichnet werde.
Vor drei Monaten hatte das Gericht der Anwältin des Angeklagten das Mandat als Pflichtverteidigerin entzogen und damit das Verfahren auf Eis gelegt - ein neuer Verteidiger müsse sich schließlich erst einarbeiten. Die Abberufung hatte der Vorsitzende Richter Ulrich Meinerzhagen mit einem Antrag der Rechtsanwältin auf Einstellung des Verfahrens begründet, in dem sie selbst zum Hass gegen Juden aufgestachelt habe. Gegen die Juristin hat die Staatsanwaltschaft ein Ermittlungsverfahren wegen des Verdachts der Volksverhetzung eingeleitet, wie ein Sprecher berichtet.
Bei der Neuauflage des Prozesses ist die Anwältin nun als Wahlverteidigerin dabei. Zwei weitere Wahlverteidiger - darunter der wegen Volksverhetzung verurteilte Hamburger Anwalt Jürgen Rieger - sowie drei Pflichtverteidiger sind ebenfalls an Zündels Seite. Ob auch der frühere NPD-Anwalt Horst Mahler in das Geschehen eingreift, will die Anwältin vor Prozessbeginn nicht sagen. Im ersten Verfahren hatte der Richter Mahler als juristische Hilfskraft nicht zugelassen, weil gegen ihn ein vorläufiges Berufsverbot besteht.
Der im Schwarzwald geborene Zündel war dem Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz Baden-Württemberg zufolge 1958 nach Kanada ausgewandert, um sich dem Wehrdienst zu entziehen.
Als sein Antrag auf Erwerb der kanadischen Staatsbürgerschaft abgelehnt wurde, gab er seinen in Toronto gegründeten Verlag 2001 auf und siedelte zu seiner Ehefrau - einer amerikanischen Rechtsextremistin - in die USA über. Dort wurde Zündel zwei Jahre später wegen Verstoßes gegen die Einwanderungsbestimmungen verhaftet und nach Kanada abgeschoben.
Als ein kanadisches Gericht seine Internet-Seite für verfassungswidrig erklärte, wurde er nach Deutschland ausgewiesen.
Der Iran plant angeblich eine internationale Holocaust-Konferenz. Die Antisemiten organisieren sich dabei auch über das Internet Von Veit Medick
Seit Wochen schwebt die Ankündigung des iranischen Regimes in der Luft, eine internationale Holocaust-Konferenz veranstalten zu wollen. Auf weitere Konkretisierungen hinsichtlich Ort und Zeit wartet man bis heute. Verschiedene Stellungnahmen des iranischen Außenamtssprechers zeigten jedoch den zu erwartenden Charakter einer solchen Zusammenkunft: Sie soll ein Tummelplatz internationaler Holocaust-Leugner, islamistischer Antisemiten und rechtsradikalen Geschichtsfälsche werden. Die populistischen, antisemitischen Ergüsse Ahmadinedschads, Israel gehöre von der Landkarte getilgt, sollen mit ihrer Hilfe eine pseudowissenschaftliche Grundlage bekommen.
Einer darf dabei nicht fehlen: Horst Mahler, einstiger Mitbegründer der RAF und heute ein rechtsextremistischer Ideologe. Mahler und andere internationale Holocaust-Revisionisten sollen angeblich auf der Teilnehmerliste der Konferenz stehen. Prompt wurde vom brandenburgischen Landesinnenministerium Mahler der Reisepass für sechs Monate entzogen, um seine Teilnahme an der Konferenz zu verhindern. Wie aber ist der Planungsstand dieser Konferenz? Die Spurensuche gestaltet sich schwierig, zeichnet aber ein Bild iranischer Antisemitismusfolklore mit internationaler Graswurzel-Verstrickung.
Der Unterstützung westlicher Revisionisten, wie dem Amerikaner Arthur Butz, dem Franzosen Robert Faurisson oder eben auch Mahler, können sich die Mullahs in Teheran ob ihrer ideologischen Übereinstimmung gewiss sein. Auf Nachfrage teilte Mahler mit, er würde „eine Einladung zwar nicht dementieren“, von einer schriftlichen Anfrage zu sprechen, sei jedoch „eine Überinterpretation“. Das Vorhaben des Iran könne er nur „wärmstens unterstützen“ und er wünsche sich von einem solchen Kongress, „ein Stück näher an den Durchbruch zur Wahrheit“ zu gelangen. Der präventive Passeinzug ärgere ihn und er werde „öffentlich fordern, dass die Maßnahme zurückgenommen wird. Mit einer Begründung die sicher nicht gefällt.“
Auf die Durchführung eines öffentlichen Kongresses will die Internationale des Antisemitismus gar nicht erst warten. Ein Austausch findet bereits statt. Seit Wochen bietet eine Reihe von iranischen Nachrichtenagenturen den „unabhängigen Historikern und Forschern aus unterschiedlichen Teilen der Erde“ Internetplattformen, auf denen sie die per E-Mail übermittelten revisionistischen Auswüchse veröffentlichen. So ist in einer Nachricht Mahlers zu lesen: „Der Holocaust ist nie geschehen. Er ist die größte Lüge der Geschichte.“ Butz - Professor für Informatik an der Northwestern University in Illinois - und andere vergessen nicht, ihre Holocaustleugnungen mit einem Lob des iranischen Präsidenten für dessen „Initiative“ zu verbinden.
Auch die unterschiedlichen Initiativen einer Reihe von dubiosen Organisationen, die in letzter Zeit neu gegründet wurden, deuten auf eine Vorbereitung des Kongresses hin. Am 23. Januar veranstaltete die „Quds News Agency“ im Verbund mit der „Iranischen Gesellschaft zur Verteidigung der Palästinensischen Nation“ ein „Seminar“ mit dem Titel „Holocaust, Fakt oder Mythos?“ zu der nach Angaben des staatlichen Fernsehens „Palästina-Experten“ des Mittleren Ostens eingeladen wurden.
Die Website des „Vereins zur Erforschung und zum Studium des Zionismus“ führt ein längerfristiges Internet-Seminar zur Untersuchung des Holocaust durch. Neben zahlreichen Biographien israelischer Politiker findet sich auch ein Leitfaden, der teilnehmenden „Wissenschaftlern“ helfen soll, ihre Beiträge auf die gewünschten Erkenntnisse hin abzustimmen. Schriftliche Auseinandersetzungen zur „Kritik an Gerichten, wie dem Nürnberger Gericht, im Kontext der Holocaustindustrie“ sind dabei ebenso erwünscht wie Beiträge zur „Untersuchung von Qualität und Quantität der Argumente der Holocaustplaner“ oder Lösungsvorschläge zur Frage, „wie der verehrte Präsident aus seiner Isolation bezüglich der Politik des internationalen Zionismus herauskommt“. Um das Vorhaben auch international öffnen zu können, ist eine englische und arabische Version der Website bereits in Arbeit. Betrieben wird der Onlineauftritt vom „Institut für Studien theoretischer Physik und Mathematik“ der Universität Teheran, was darauf hindeutet, dass staatliche Kanäle und nicht private Initiatoren das Projekt vorantreiben.
Obwohl noch nicht feststeht, wann die geplante Holocaust-Konferenz stattfinden und ob sie überhaupt zustande kommen wird, zeigen die Vorbereitungen, mit welcher Hartnäckigkeit iranische Revisionisten ihr Ziel verfolgen, einen solchen Kongress zu ermöglichen. Gleichzeitig machen sie deutlich: Die staatlich geförderte Antisemitismus-Popkultur ist „grenzenlos“. Vor dem Hintergrund von Ahmadineschads Hasskampagnen bietet die Regierung des Iran auch westlichen Revisionisten eine aktive Plattform. Die eigentliche Konferenz wäre dabei nur die Spitze des Eisbergs. Für den iranischen Politikwissenschaftler Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh vom Berliner Büro des „Middle East Media Research Institute“ (MEMRI) sind allein die Vorläufer bereits alarmierend genug: „Soviel Zynismus können Menschen gar nicht haben – die glauben das Zeug tatsächlich“. In diesem Zusammenhang scheint auch die Effizienz von Mahlers Hausarrest fraglich. Ideologien halten sich nicht an Ausreiseverbote. Schon gar nicht in Zeiten des Internet.
A senior Hamas leader indicated Sunday in an interview to CNN's "Late Edition" that his group's landslide victory in Palestinian legislative elections changed little in its stance toward Israel.
Mahmoud Zahar reiterated that his movement would not ever recognize Israel's right to exist, nor did he reveal any willingness to negotiate. "Negotiation is not our aim; negotiation is a method," he said.
Zahar's comments came after Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said in Sunday's cabinet meeting that Hamas was, at this point, acting "responsibly," and added that he believed that the organization would soon attempt to rein in terror.
Asked if a Hamas-led Palestinian government would accept Israel's right to exist, Zahar responded, "The question should be answered first by Israel, because they are not accepting us, except as minority, not the owner of the land."
If Israel would concede to Zahar's stipulations then, Zahar said, the Palestinians would be willing to allow a 10-15 year trial ceasefire "in order to see what the real intention of Israel [was] after that."
The several conditions Zahar named included a demand that Israel change its flag. "Israel must remove the two blue stripes from its national flag," said Zahar. "The stripes on the flag are symbols of occupation. They signify Israel's borders stretching from the Euphrates River to the Nile River."
Zahar was also asked if Hamas, which America views as a terrorist organization, would renounce terrorism.
"What is the international definition of terrorism?" he responded. "When (Israeli forces) attack houses by F-16, just when they are using helicopters, when they are killing people and children and removing our agriculture system, this is terrorism."
Zahar said Hamas planned to work with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas leads the Fatah Party; he was elected to a four-year term last year and remains in power.
"We are going to cooperate with [Abbas], according to the Palestinian national interests, to help the Palestinian people to live as in a purified system, to fight against corruption," he said.
In response to US President George W. Bush's Friday statement that the United States would cut millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian government unless Hamas abolishes the militant arm of its party and stops calling for the destruction of Israel, Zahar said that Hamas expected the money, but that the aid should not be given conditionally.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
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