Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Holocaust Denial Cartoons Undermine Confidence in Iran Talks

The fact that Iran’s leaders continue to threaten Israel with destruction and perhaps set in motion a second Holocaust while all the while denying the reality of the first one is a conundrum that observers of Tehran have never quite figured out. But even while their negotiators have been successfully stalling Western diplomatic efforts to force them to drop their nuclear ambitions, the Islamist state is still promoting Holocaust denial. Israel’s Channel 2 News reports (via the Times of Israel) that Iran’s state run television is honoring Yom HaShoah by broadcasting cartoons that depict the Holocaust as a fraud. The cartoons (which are available for viewing on memri.org) shows figures dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews fabricating stories about the Holocaust in order to make money and to dispossess the Palestinians.

The cartoons are important not just because they are offensive, but because they reflect the mindset of the Iranian government. Anyone who thinks the ayatollahs can be trusted with a nuclear weapon or with even a peaceful nuclear energy program — which may be the “compromise” that Tehran will agree to in order to allow the West to back away from a confrontation over the issue — needs to understand that the hatred for Jews and Israel is integral to the ideology of the regime and its ultimate goals.

The purpose of the cartoons and other forms of anti-Semitic propaganda promoted by Iran is to demonize Jews and to justify their destruction. Iran is not Nazi Germany, but Iran’s efforts to portray Jews as subhuman creatures who sucked money from Europe and land from the Arabs are strikingly similarly to the propaganda that was used to prepare the way for the Holocaust.

Iran’s defenders, such as German Nobel laureate and SS veteran Gunter Grass, depict it as an innocent victim of potential Israeli aggression. But he and other European detractors of Israel who pose as advocates of “human rights” seem remarkably indifferent to the fact that Tehran has become, along with other Muslim capitals, one of the leading exporters of vile anti-Semitic propaganda to the West. The more one learns about the way Iran’s government promotes Jew-hatred the less convincing arguments that claim the ayatollahs are not interested in a war of annihilation against Israel and the Jews sound.

The idea that Iran is a reasonable country that can be enticed by rational arguments to back away from the nuclear abyss is one that doesn’t take into account the ferocity of the regime’s Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. While one would hope that President Obama’s window of diplomacy would be used to force the ayatollahs to give up their weapons program, confidence in Tehran’s willingness to give up its hope for nukes is only possible so long as one ignores the essential nature of the regime.