Iran names winner in Holocaust contest

Teheran regime's attitude is paving way for genocide, Yad Vashem warns.

Yad Vashem on Thursday lambasted Iran's embrace of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, and urged the rest of the world to "take seriously" the Islamic Republic's provocations and genocidal threats. The remarks by Israel's Holocaust center came a day after Iran announced the winner of its Holocaust cartoon exhibition, which has been widely condemned. The winner, Abdollah Derkaoui of Morocco, received $12,000 for his work depicting an Israeli crane piling large cement blocks on the security barrier, and gradually obscuring Jerusalem's Al-Aksa Mosque. A picture of the Auschwitz concentration camp appears on the wall. "That the contest was held in Iran, a country whose leader has made Holocaust denial his mantra while brazenly calling for genocide and simultaneously pursuing nuclear capabilities, demonstrates yet again the need for the world to take these provocations seriously," a Yad Vashem representative said. "The contest is nothing more than a platform for hate." "The exhibit not only is horrific propaganda that supports Holocaust denial, it also paves the road to justifying genocide of the Jews in Israel," said chairman of the Yad Vashem Council and Holocaust survivor Yosef (Tommy) Lapid. The cartoon fair was initiated by Iran "as a test of Western tolerance" in response to last year's caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper, which sparked worldwide Muslim outrage and a wave of violence. "Palestinians have been victims of a deceptive history by Zionists," Iran's Culture Minister Hossein Saffar Harandi was quoted as saying by the Kayhan conservative daily on Thursday. "The cartoonists expressed their hate against oppressors and their love toward (Palestinian) victims in their works," the culture minister said. The joint second-place winner in the contest, a French artist named A. Chard, who shared a $8,000 prize with Brazilian Carlos Latuff, depicted the Nazi gas chambers as a myth. The exhibition, which opened in August, included more than 200 cartoons from around the world. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called the Holocaust a "myth," and said that Israel should be wiped off the map. AP contributed to this report.