Iranian News Agency is Megaphone for Notorious Holocaust Deniers
New York, NY, February 14, 2006 … Over the last three months an Iranian news agency has provided an open platform to Western Holocaust deniers, in effect aiding the Iranian government's efforts to promote anti-Semitism and to cast doubt on the historical truth of the Holocaust.
The semi-official Mehr News Agency, whose articles are made available on the Internet in Farsi, Arabic and English and widely circulated throughout the Muslim and Arab world, has featured interviews with some of the world's most active and notorious Holocaust deniers, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which works to expose the activities and rhetoric of Holocaust deniers.
The interviews have come as the Iranian government led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has dramatically stepped up its efforts to promote Holocaust denial both in words and actions.
"It is no coincidence that at a time when the leaders Iran are placing a new emphasis on promoting Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, an Iranian news agency is serving as the megaphone to some of the West's most notorious Holocaust deniers," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "In giving legitimacy to Western deniers, Iran is becoming the new flashpoint for Holocaust denial in the Middle East by promoting this anti-Semitic conspiracy."
The interviews come at a time when Iranian leaders have placed Holocaust denial at center stage, with high-level government officials openly promoting conspiracy theories about the Holocaust, claiming that it was a "myth" invented by Jews. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has recently announced plans to hold an international conference to "assess" the Holocaust. And in the wake of the Mohammad cartoon controversy in Europe, Hamshahri, one of Iran's top five daily newspapers, announced a contest soliciting tasteless and offensive Holocaust cartoons and asking, "What is the Limit of Western Freedom of Expression?"
Since November 2005, the Mehr News Agency has featured interviews with the following Holocaust deniers (excerpts).
- Arthur Butz, a professor of electrical engineering and author of the 1977 book, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. He told Mehr News, "The alleged slaughter of millions of Jews by the Germans during World War II did not happen" (January 25, 2006).
Michael A. Hoffman II, an Idaho-based Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist. Hoffman termed the Holocaust, "a religious cult masquerading as history" and "a means for Judaizing the West" (January 24, 2006).
- Fredrick Toben, a German-born Holocaust denier who lives in Australia and who has been convicted in Germany of inciting racial hatred. Toben stated in his interview, "Auschwitz was a transit camp." (December 28, 2005)
- Paul Fromm, a far-right activist and Holocaust denier from Canada who has championed the cause of Ernst Zundel, a fellow denier and pro-Nazi ideologue. Fromm seasoned his comments on the Holocaust "story" with traditional stereotypes about Jewish control of the media and government (December 24, 2005).
- Mark Weber, Director of the California-based Institute for Historical Review, an organization that promotes Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. Weber called Holocaust remembrance "a one-sided campaign designed to further Zionist interests" (December 11, 2005).
- Robert Faurisson, 76, of France, a retired professor of French literature and a Holocaust denier since the late 1970s. Faurisson portrayed the Holocaust as the basis for U.S. and allied military operations in the Middle East. "The more those in the West believe in the 'Holocaust,' the more Muslims they will kill and cause to be killed in Palestine, in Afghanistan, in Iraq or elsewhere" (November 9, 2005).
Holocaust denial is essentially an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory of vast proportions, a revision of old anti-Jewish charges updated for the 21st century. It posits that for their own selfish purposes Jews have created a monstrous tale of their own destruction, and deliberately inflicted the hoax on virtually the entire world. Holocaust denial is undergirded by the belief that Jews and their agents forged documents, fabricated evidence, corrupted the media and co-opted governments into supporting their claims of a genocide that never really happened.
While finding few supporters in the West, Holocaust deniers have in recent years attempted to bring their anti-Semitic campaign to a new audience in the Muslim and Arab world, where they have found fertile ground in long festering anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attitudes. In 2001, ADL published Holocaust Denial in the Middle East: The Latest Anti-Israel Propaganda Theme, explaining this trend.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.