Iran’s Anti-Semitism

by Majid Rafizadeh

This week, Iran is hosting its second annual Holocaust Cartoon Competition, even as some politicians and world leaders continue to argue that Iran is becoming a stabilizing force because it is re-joining the international community, by implementing the nuclear agreement and integrating into the global financial system.

The exhibition of Holocaust cartoons will open on May 14. Iran’s Holocaust Cartoon Competition reflects the Iranian regimes’ attempts to expand its efforts to promote anti-Semitism beyond the borders of its nation.

As Iran’s revenues are rising, thanks to the lifting of sanctions, the prize for the best Holocaust cartoon was lifted, as well. Iran is now offering $50,000 for the best Holocaust cartoon, more than quadruple last year’s prize, which was $12,000. According to Iran’s semi-official IRNA news agency, the conference is expected to draw participants from more than 50 countries.

The Iranian regime seems to be using global legitimacy, granted to its leaders by many Western politicians through the nuclear agreement and business deals, to promote the core pillars of its Islamic revolution, opposing the US and rejecting Israel’s right to exist, as well as its fundamental ideals.

In addition, it is worth noting that these kinds of global conferences, which work to deny the historical fact of the Holocaust, are aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy, as well as its right to exist. One of Iran’s major foreign policy and ideological objectives, which rests on the religious teachings of Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei, is the struggle against Israel.

For more than 35 years, the Iranian regime has been trying to delegitimize Israel through both soft and hard power. Iran promotes its anti-Semitic and anti-Israel narrative through schools, social media, television, and non-stop political rhetoric. Its narrative has attracted an audience in the Middle East, as well as in the West.

The Iranian government claims that it has nothing to do with sponsoring such a conference and that it does not endorse such an event. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif explained last week to the New Yorker, in response to this news: “It is not Iran. It is an NGO that is not controlled by the Iranian government. Nor is it endorsed by the Iranian government.”

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