Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu lashed out at Iran on Sunday for staging a Holocaust-themed cartoon contest that mocked the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews during the second world war. The Islamic Republic was busy planning for another one, he said.
A US state department spokesman, traveling with secretary of state John Kerry in Saudi Arabia, expressed US concern about the contest, saying it should be “condemned by the authorities and civil society leaders rather than encouraged”.
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 Israel opposed not only Iran’s belligerent policies, 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 said the US was concerned the cartoon contest could “be used as a platform for Holocaust denial and revisionism and egregiously antisemitic speech, as it has in the past”.