JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Iran Sunday for staging a Holocaust-themed cartoon contest that mocked the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews during World War II and said the Islamic Republic was busy planning for another one.
Iran has long backed armed groups committed to Israel’s destruction and its leaders have called for it to be wiped off the map. Israel fears that Iran’s nuclear program is designed to threaten its very existence. But Netanyahu said it was more than Iran’s belligerent policies that Israel opposed, but its values.
“It denies the Holocaust, it mocks the Holocaust and it is also preparing another Holocaust,” Netanyahu said at his weekly Cabinet meeting. “I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this.”
State Department spokesman Mark Toner, traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry in Saudi Arabia, said the United States was concerned the contest could “be used as a platform for Holocaust denial and revisionism and egregiously anti-Semitic speech, as it has in the past.”
“Such offensive speech should be condemned by the authorities and civil society leaders rather than encouraged. We denounce any Holocaust denial and trivialization as inflammatory and abhorrent. It is insulting to the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust,” Toner said.