(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
The Government of Israel strongly condemns the shameless initiative taken by the Iranian Government to convene an international conference for the denial of the Holocaust, the so-called "International Conference Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision."
The Holocaust has been ridiculed in Iran by a "Holocaust Caricatures Contest" and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who continuously calls for the destruction of Israel, has compared Auschwitz to Israel, thus falsifying past and present.
The statements and acts by the Iranian president are clearly counter-factual and stand in stark contradiction to history, as endorsed unanimously by the international community. By denying or questioning the Holocaust, the most extreme form of genocide to date, he is challenging the essence of the notion of universal human rights, which was developed by the international community after - and because of - the Holocaust, the Shoah.
His further statements regarding his wish for the destruction of the State of Israel, a member-state of the UN, should be seen as threatening another genocide. Such positions, which contravene the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the General Assembly on December 9th 1948, endanger civilization and demand universal rejection.
As Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated: "The memory of the Holocaust is essential to the entire international community, and not only to Israel and the Jewish people. By denying the Holocaust, the president of Iran seeks to create legitimacy for his declared intention to destroy Israel and to spread his extremist doctrine, which contravene the values of the free world. The world must unite in clear word and deed in order to give true meaning to the words "never again."
United Nations leaders condemn Holocaust denial parley
Statement by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura (12-Dec-2006)
Transmitting the past without alteration or omission
In the face of the attempts to rewrite history that are currently at work, I can but recall in the most emphatic manner that it is our moral duty to analyse the past and to pass it on without falsification, alteration or omission. Any attempt to call into question or to deny the reality of the Holocaust or of any other crime against humanity is to be deeply regretted. UNESCO has a major role to play in this work of transmission, which is of especial importance to the younger generations.
The inscription of the Auschwitz site on the World Heritage List is a particularly striking example of this duty to respect history and memory. I was able to gauge this personally when I visited the site in April 2001, a moment that will for ever be engraved in my mind.
I fully share the conviction of the United Nations secretary-general, who recently denounced all attempts to cast doubt on the reality of the Holocaust, which he qualifies as “a unique and undeniable horror.” That is why UNESCO welcomed the adoption by the UN General Assembly, almost a year ago, of a resolution proclaiming 27 January, the day of the liberation of the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz, as “International Day of Remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust,” in order to remember the crimes of the past and to prevent future acts of genocide.
Above and beyond the need for such acts of remembrance, with which UNESCO readily associates itself, it is the daily business of this organization, throughout the entire gamut of its activities and programs, to promote quality education, values education, dialogue and tolerance, the respect of differences, and the wealth of cultural diversity. This is an onerous responsibility that is placed upon us, and it is a sadly topical one, but our full mobilization must remain constant.
UN secretary-general deplores any conference that would question reality of Holocaust (7 Dec 2006)
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan came out strongly today against any effort to question or deny the Holocaust, after reports that Iran would host a conference next week to discuss the scale and nature of the Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews – already dismissed as a myth by its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“The secretary-general personally believes that any attempt to cast doubt on the reality of this unique and undeniable horror must be firmly resisted by all people of goodwill and of whatever faith,” Annan's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told the daily UN news briefing.
“The secretary-general would deeply deplore any conference whose purpose is to question or deny the reality of the Holocaust. Only a year ago the General Assembly passed a resolution which ‘rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full or part,’” Dujarric added.
He noted that Annan spoke to Ahmadinejad about the issue when he met with him in Teheran, Iran’s capital, in September. Annan also voiced “shock” last year when the Iranian leader was first reported to have made the remarks and to have called for Israel to be wiped off the map.
In his statement today, Dujarric recalled that the General Assembly resolution designated 27 January as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and he stressed that Israel is a full UN member and its rights need to be fully respected, just like those of all the other 191 member states.