Palestinian Media Watch
anti-Israel cartoon

The Islamic Republic’s anti-Semitic contest pushing Holocaust denial has a new twist: demonizing Gulf Arab states for making peace with Israel.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

Iran is reviving its Holocaust cartoon contest and adding a new twist, urging contestants to make cartoons about Gulf Arab “traitors” who make peace with Israel.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) noted that last month Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Tehran for promoting an anti-Semitic libel about 9/11 as well as for announcing it will host another Holocaust cartoon contest, the last one being four years ago.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s personal website hosted one of the organizers of the last contest, Masoud Shojaei-Tabatabai, who announced that contributions to the contest would soon be accepted.

Shojaei-Tabatabaei said this year’s competition will emphasize Iran’s objection to the French magazine Charlie Hebdo being permitted to publish materials insulting the founder of Islam, Muhammad, while European revisionists who deny the Holocaust are subject to penalties.

According to Shojaei-Tabatabaei, the cartoon contests are “a weapon” for Iran because “we challenge the Holocaust debate [and] they go crazy.”

This year Iran changed the name of the contest from “The Atonement of the Holocaust” to “Palestine is Not Alone.” With a December deadline for submissions, a judging panel of “several international figures” will pick winners for animated cartoons, political cartoon caricatures and posters.

After President Trump announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will sign a peace agreement with Israel, Iran said it objected to the peace deal and that the Emirates “will be engulfed in Zionist fire.”

The contest announcement called for artists to “focus specifically on painting as traitors those nations such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain that make peace with Israel.”

The annual contest falls under a government department that reports to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

At the press conference announcing the contest, Shojaei-Tabatabai specifically mentioned the Holocaust, emphasizing the perceived hypocrisy of France permitting Charlie Hebdo to “insult” Islam while France criminalizes Holocaust denial.

Another official, Mohamad Mahdi Daman, said the contest is part of a broader “cultural and artistic war against the evil regime of Israel.”

With Holocaust denial figuring prominently in the organizer’s remarks, the ADL said it expects this year’s contest will again invoke anti-Semitic libels related to the Holocaust and challenge its historical veracity, providing “a platform for the international propagation of numerous forms of egregious hatred against Jews.”