The Iranian regime’s genocidal antisemitism continues to be off the human rights radar screen on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
By Benjamin Weinthal, JNS
European governments again this year marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27. But critics of the glaring lack of action by many of those same governments to combat the Iranian regime’s Holocaust denial and genocidal antisemitism see the memorial events as packed with self-righteous hypocrisy.
The Iranian menace was front and center in Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s speech to the European Parliament the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“I speak first and foremost of the Iranian regime, which not only publicly calls for the complete annihilation of my country but is also murdering its own countrymen and women, who are demanding liberty and human and civil rights, stoking wars throughout the Middle East, playing an active and lethal role in the war in Ukraine, and developing weapons of mass destruction on the way to dramatically threatening the stability of the entire globe,” he said.
That Iranian threat was nowhere to be found, however, in European declarations on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Rewind to 2018: Yigal Carmon, the co-founder and president of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), penned a biting article titled “Germany is far removed from its dark past, but its Iran policy is sordid.”
The Federal Republic of Germany’s largely pro-Tehran policy has not dramatically changed since Carmon wrote his article.
In it he noted that “If any country in the world could be expected to be extremely cautious about aligning with anyone calling for Israel’s annihilation, it would be Germany, regardless of any extenuating circumstances—economic, political or otherwise. The Bundesrepublik should have distanced itself from any substantial tie with the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose murderous regime is threatening to annihilate Israel.”
Carmon termed Berlin’s Iran policy “shameful and immoral.”
Booming trade relationship
There has been no shortage of examples since to illustrate Germany’s continued loyalty to Iran’s clerical regime, ranging from their booming trade relationship of over $1 billion in 2022 to the city of Hamburg allowing the Islamic Republic to run the Islamic Center of Hamburg—an institution that celebrates the late Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps terrorist Qasem Soleimani.
German banks and the European-Iranian trade bank in Hamburg continue to process payments between Iranian and German companies for dual-use items, which can be used for both military and civilian purposes.
A day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the German Foreign Ministry issued a boilerplate statement condemning the terrorist attack that killed seven people outside of a synagogue in Jerusalem without mentioning that the perpetrator was Palestinian. The links between German government-funded Palestinian NGOs and Palestinian terrorist organizations are well documented. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of the Green party has shown no appetite to confront the massive industry of German government funding of NGOs that stoke hatred of Israel.
Take the example of the Palestinian NGO Al-Haq, an entity designated as a terrorist organization by Israel’s government. Germany has pumped money into the coffers of Al Haq and won’t reveal the amount of a single grant.
Al-Haq is controlled by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The U.S. and the E.U. have both proscribed the PFLP as a terrorist organization. The PFLP coordinates its terrorist activities with Iran’s regime.
Rabbi Yishai Fleisher, the spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, told JNS that the German government “outsources” its antisemitism.
Meanwhile, the E.U. delegation to the U.N. and other international organizations in Geneva issued a bland statement for International Holocaust Remembrance Day about ensuring that “the message of ‘Never Again’ reverberates throughout future generations.” Iran’s clerical regime—the top state-sponsor of Holocaust denial and antisemitism—was absent from the E.U. statement.
France’s Foreign Ministry issued a bizarre statement about “this international day dedicated to the remembrance of genocides and the prevention of crimes against humanity,” and then went on to say that “France commemorates the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp 78 years ago and the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.”
Paris seems to want to merge other genocides into that commemorated on the 27th of January—thus, it can be argued, playing down the destruction of European Jewry.
No mention of Jews
Germany’s Federal Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Ferda Ataman went even further and did not cite Jews at all in her press release for Holocaust Remembrance Day. “Germany finally shows respect to the queer victims of National Socialism” with respect to International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Ataman said. The mainstream German media did not report on Ataman’s omission.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told JNS on Friday: “Today is January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest killing grounds of Jews in history. It is incomprehensible that an official in a democracy making a statement about the importance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day would choose to omit reference first and foremost to the 6 million Jewish victims of the Final Solution. For such a statement to be made by a German official is beyond the pale.”
Dr. Charles Asher Small, executive director of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), told JNS, “It seems that many Western political leaders, intellectuals and journalists of the media of record condemn the antisemitism of the Shoah. They erect monuments and make public declarations condemning the antisemitism of decades ago.”
These proclamations are used to demonstrate the moral purity of the children and grandchildren of the perpetrators, Small said.
The role of other forms of Islamic-animated antisemitism that deny the Holocaust and stoke antisemitism was also not on the agenda.
Small said, “There is a deadening silence when it comes to the antisemitism of today. Western governments and universities accept funds and do business with the Iranian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood and nations like Qatar that call for the extermination of the State of Israel and the Jewish people based on an ideology of hate and anti-democratic principles. It is time to take contemporary hate as seriously as the hate of many decades ago.”
Iran’s regime continues to remain off the human rights radar screen on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. For many veteran observers of Europe, that is business as usual.