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September 19, 2022 10:11 am

IDF Chief of Staff Denounces Iranian President Raisi’s Holocaust Denial During Visit to Auschwitz

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avatar by Sharon Wrobel

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi with an army delegation at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Photo: IDF Spokespersons Unit

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi on Monday took aim at Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s remarks in a US television interview calling into question the veracity of the Holocaust.

“You don’t need to be a historian or a researcher to understand the horrors of the Holocaust – you need to be a human being,” said Kohavi at a ceremony during a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. “We now toured the gas chambers, we saw the crematoria, even the building stones scream out the Jewish genocide.”

Kohavi’s comments come after Iran’s president — in keeping with the Islamic Republic’s long-standing promotion of Holocaust denial —  questioned whether the Holocaust occurred and labeled Israel a “false regime.” In an interview with CBS’s “6o Minutes,” Raisi stated: “Historical events should be investigated by researchers and historians. There are some signs that it happened. If so, they should allow it to be investigated and researched.”

Kohavi countered that “anyone who lies and denies this painful and substantial historical truth is a liar and will surely be a liar in the future.”

“This is yet another reminder that we cannot allow people who express these sentiments to retain any kind of power to develop weapons of mass destruction,” Kohavi urged.

Other Israeli senior officials also responded to Raisi’s remarks. Israel’s President Isaac Herzog posted a picture of a Holocaust survivor with a prisoner number tattooed on her arm addressed directly to Iran’s president: “Mr Raisi, on my desk in Jerusalem there is one photograph. The numbers speak for themselves.”

Israel Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Raisi’s comments were “shocking” and called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “deny that denier a world stage to spread antisemitism and hatred.”

“The UN will reach a new low if they give the Butcher of Tehran a platform,” Erdan declared.

Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan tweeted that “there are signs that President Raisi is a despicable antisemite,” and described his words as “absurd, delusional, dangerous and worthy of all condemnation.”

Kohavi arrived in Poland on Sunday for a three-day official visit as the guest of the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, General Rajmund Andrzejczak. Kohavi will later travel to France for meetings with senior officials and to strengthen cooperation against the Iranian nuclear threat.

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