Anti-Semites and radical anti-Zionists from the United States and Europe have converged on Tehran for the so-called “New Horizon Conference” – a three-day jamboree dedicated to libelous conspiracy theories about the influence of the “Zionist Lobby.”
Among those attending are the French-Cameroonian provocateur and comedian, Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the originator of the anti-Semitic “quenelle” gesture. Also present are Medea Benjamin of the left-wing American organization CodePink, which supports the elimination of the State of Israel, and Thierry Meyssan, the French author of a book claiming that the 9/11 atrocities were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by the US government.
The conference, which is being hosted by the Iranian regime, is the latest in a series of similar events over the last decade. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, notorious for his Holocaust-denying rhetoric, staged the original “World Without Zionism” conference in 2005; the current conference indicates that the trend of hosting and promoting anti-Semites from across the globe is continuing under Ahmadinejad’s successor, Hasan Rouhani, who is often described as a “moderate.”
The Anti-Defamation League reported that the conference “was opened with remarks by the personal adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mohsen Ghomi, who boasted that the conference itself is ‘the biggest threat to Zionists,’ and that ‘American officials are puppets of the Zionist lobby who are taking advantage of American ignorance.’ Anti-Israel journalist Garth Porter said during his presentation on Monday that the Mossad and CIA are responsible for manufacturing the nuclear crisis with Iran.”
The ADL also noted the presence of a number of American anti-Semites at the event, including Ken O’Keefe, a former US marine and a regular contributor to Press TV, the English-language mouthpiece of Tehran’s ruling mullahs, and Wayne Madsen, another anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist.
One conference session, entitled “The Mechanisms of Action of the Israeli Lobby and their Effects in Western Capitals,” purported to examine the activities of the “Israel Lobby” in no less than twelve countries, from Poland to Brazil. Among the speakers at this session was the German extremist Manuel Ochsenreiter. The editor of the extreme right-wing monthly “Zuerst!,” Ochsenreiter’s website proudly displays photos of him paying respects at the shrine to Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, as well as meeting with an official of the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Beirut. Ochsenreiter was invited to Muslim Iran despite his close ties with Serb extremists responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia during the 1992-95 war.
“Ochsenreiter also represents the typical ‘New Right’ outlook of today’s right-wing extremism, which means he hides his extremist views behind more mainstream themes,” Clemens Heni, the director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, told The Algemeiner in an email. “Being proud of Germany, including Nazi Germany, is the essence of this ideology.”
British Jews expressed concerns about the presence at the conference of The Rev Stephen Sizer, a Church of England cleric with a long record of promoting anti-Semitic individuals and organizations through his website. Writing on the blog of the Community Security Trust, the communal body in charge of security for Jewish institutions in the UK, Dave Rich questioned whether Sizer was serious about “honouring the spirit of [the] Conciliation Agreement” – brokered in 2012 by the Church of England in response to complaints from the Jewish Board of Deputies about Sizer’s activities – “in good faith.”
Rich also noted the presence at the conference of Ahmed Rami, a former Moroccan army officer who runs the violently anti-Semitic “Radio Islam” website from Sweden.
“Rami has a conviction for antisemitism in Sweden and his Radio Islam website includes the full text of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, plus extensive Holocaust Denial material. It is impossible to miss the antisemitism on the Radio Islam website: the first four articles listed on the homepage are ‘The Jewish hand behind Internet;’ ‘Judaism – Jewish religion and racism;’ ‘The Jews behind Islamophobia;’ and ‘Al Jazeera English – under Jewish infiltration,'” Rich wrote.