Jewish organizations broadly condemned Iran’s Supreme Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei for questioning “the reality” of the Holocaust on Friday.
Originally in speech to thousands of pilgrims at the Shiite holy shrine of the 8th Imam, Hazrat Ali Ibn Moussa al-Reza, on the occasion of the Persian New Year, the Supreme Leader then broadcast his thoughts on the Holocaust to the world in his English-language Twitter account.
Khamenei wrote, “#Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it has happened, it’s uncertain how it has happened.”
The Conference of Presidents, representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern, condemned Khamenei’s comments. In a statement, Chairman Robert G. Sugarman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, said, “This once again shows the true nature of Khamenei’s extremist ideology.”
“The escalating persecution in Iran of various minority groups and the sharp increase in the number of executions reflect his racism and bigoted views which extend to Holocaust denial. The moderate façade presented by President [Hassan] Rouhani should not obscure the true nature and direction of the regime which are found in the Supreme Leader’s words and actions,” they said.
Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham H. Foxman said, “It is no accident that Iran’s Supreme Leader chose his major national address of the year to question if the Holocaust happened.”
“His message is that despite the ongoing nuclear negotiations, Iran is holding strong to its radical ideology, including denial of the Holocaust, and other extremist anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views as well as their ongoing support for world terror as evidenced by the recent Israeli seizure of Iranian weapons destined for the Gaza Strip,” he said.
“Once again, the injection of Holocaust denial by an Iranian leader shows the world how such deep seated hatred exists at the helm in Iran,” Foxman said. “We have seen the Ayatollah spew his vehement animosity toward Jews before on other national occasions in Iran and these statements once again show the bigotry and hypocrisy of this regime.”
The Ayatollah used his Twitter account in December to promote anti-Semitic author Roger Garaudy, whose books have been banned by French courts as hate speech. On December 16, the anniversary of Garaudy’s most notable trial, the Ayatollah tweeted a picture from the author’s Facebook page, showing a portrait of the bespectacled older man in a three-piece suit, in front of a quote from Khamenei, himself, from 1998: “The Zionists are just like the Nazis.”