< html > News From The Associated Press
 LATEST NEWS
 Top Stories
 U.S.
  Severe Weather
  Bird Flu
 World
  Castro
  Mideast Crisis
  Iraq
 Business
 Personal Finance
 Technology
 Sports
  Sports Columns
  NASCAR
  Baseball
  College Hoops
  NBA
  NHL
  Tennis
  Golf
 Entertainment
 Health
 Science
 Politics
 Washington
 Offbeat
 Podcasts
 Blogs
 Weather
 Raw News
 NEWS SEARCH
 
 Archive Search
 SPECIAL SECTIONS
 Multimedia Gallery
 AP Video Network
 Today
 in History
 Corrections
May 15, 9:58 AM EDT

Israeli leader: Iran mocks WWII Holocaust, prepares another


Interactives
Iran's power structure
Iran's recent political history
Depth of Field: Covering the Iran elections
Protesters in Iran challenge police
Iran elections
Iran's protests: Then and now
Latest Iran News
Hard-line cleric voted leader of Iran's Assembly of Experts

Iran and India sign port deal, other economic agreements

Official: Iran to try to 'speed up' held Lebanese man's case

Wild US election fascinates, worries Iran after nuclear deal

Supporters: Iran human rights activist gets 10-year sentence

PHOTO GALLERY
AP Photo

Latest Iran Photos

Multimedia
Assault on Gaza: Mapping the attacks
Gaza assault takes its toll on children
A closer look at Hamas
Latest News
Israeli watchdog report slams Netanyahu over travel expenses

French premier pushes Mideast initiative with Palestinians

In tough times, most Palestinians view government as corrupt

The Latest: UN says 50,000 civilians in Fallujah at risk

Netanyahu proclaims support for peace, despite French rebuff

PHOTO GALLERY
AP Photo

Conflict in the Middle East

Latest News
Leaders of 4 countries discuss settling Ukraine conflict

Russia protests US reconnaissance flight over Sea of Japan

Russian military shows off its elite aerobatic flying teams

Russia arrests 4 people suspected of ties to Islamic State

Russia says it beefed up its military in southwest

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 six 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 that it not just 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.

The denial or questioning of the genocide is widespread in the Middle East, where many regard it as a pretext Israel used for its creation and to excuse its actions toward the Palestinians.

"Holocaust means mass killing," said contest organizer Masuod Shojai Tabatabaei. "We are witnessing the biggest killings by the Zionist regime in Gaza and Palestine."

He said the purpose of the Tehran event was not to deny the Holocaust but rather to criticize alleged Western double standards regarding free expression - and particularly as a response to depictions of the Prophet Muhammad by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and others. The exhibit featured some 150 works from 50 countries, with many portraying Israel as using the Holocaust to distract from the suffering of the Palestinians. Others depicted Palestinian prisoners standing behind concentration camp-style barbed wire fences, Netanyahu likened to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and a Jerusalem mosque behind a gate bearing the motto "Arbeit Macht Frei" that appeared at the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

The contest was organized by non-governmental bodies with strong support from Iran's hard-liners. A previous contest in 2006 got a boost from then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-liner who referred to the Holocaust as a "myth" and repeatedly predicted Israel's demise.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.