In a written question tabled this month on the Iranian regime’s acts of Holocaust denial, CFI Parliamentary Chairman, Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles asked the the Foreign Secretary: “what discussions he has had with representatives of the Iranian government on respecting UN resolutions on Holocaust denial”.
This week, a Holocaust denial cartoon contest was announced by Iran to be held in June 2016, with the competition’s grand prize increasing this year from £8,300 to £34,500. The contest, named the 11th Tehran International Cartoon Biennial, is organised by the Tehran municipal authority and calls for cartoonists worldwide to send in works denying and satirising the Holocaust.
Minister of the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood MP responded to Sir Eric’s question, stating: “We take very seriously any activities aimed at casting doubt on the occurrence of the Holocaust, wherever they occur in the world. We have made clear our concerns about Iran’s policies towards Israel and the Holocaust on many occasions, and most recently we raised our concerns over an alleged proposal to hold a competition in Iran for Holocaust-related cartoons”.
Israeli officials have urged the UN to condemn the event, including Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon.
Organisers say the competition is designed to highlight the world’s double standard in defending caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, whose depiction is forbidden in Islam.
The event is scheduled for June 2016 is expected to draw submissions from artists from some 50 countries, Iran’s semi-official IRNA news agency reported in December.
In last year’s competition, partially a response to the controversial depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, 839 works were submitted for consideration. The winning drawing of 2015 was of an Israeli crane erecting a wall around the Dome of the Rock. The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp is featured on the wall in the cartoon, by Abdellah Derkaoui of Morocco.