Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond. (AP/Scott Heppell) (AP/Scott Heppell)
Alex Salmond

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond was accused of “breathtaking pomposity” on Friday for rebuking Israeli Knesset member Michael Oren over his denouncement of the Iranian president, who was visiting France during International Holocaust Memorial Day.

“How can Europe honor the memory of the Holocaust, and on the exact same day host the leader of the Iranian regime, which denies that the Holocaust actually happened?” challenged Israeli MK Michael Oren, also former Israeli ambassador to the US, during last Wednesday morning’s commemoration ceremony at the European Parliament.

Salmond, who represents UK voters at the European Parliament, said there was a “time and place for international politics,” and that the “solemn” Holocaust memorial ceremony was not one of them.

Iran has a history of belittling and outright denying the events of the Holocaust. The country hosted a Holocaust cartoon competition in 2015 around the time of the UN-designated Holocaust Remembrance Day, and is sponsoring another one in June this year.

In addition, a website associated with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a video asking whether the Holocaust “is a reality or not,” according to the Daily Telegraph.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was visiting Europe to sign major business deals in Italy and France, among other countries, after international sanctions were lifted. Other Twitter users also criticized Salmond for lecturing an Israeli MK on the proper conduct at a ceremony marking Holocaust memorial day.


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