Jewish and Persian Connections Mission

In response to statements emanating from the Middle East regarding nuclear threat to both the Jewish and Persian peoples, we seek to project an alternative voice on Jewish- Persian relations that disseminates knowledge about the historical and cultural ties between these two peoples, fosters friendship and openings for creative exchange, and contributes to the identity of adults and children of mixed Jewish and Persian ancestry.

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a) Relationships between Persians and Jews
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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Dissent in Iran over Holocaust conference

International Herald Tribune. Nazila Fathi. February 26, 2007

TEHRAN: A group of Iranian academics, writers and artists has issued a statement to denounce the Holocaust conference held in Tehran in December, calling it a move that endangered peace and hurt the reputations of Iranian academics.

The Iranian government organized a two-day gathering in December, billed it as a legitimate conference on the historical record and invited notorious Holocaust deniers and white supremacists from around the world. Among those from the United States was a former Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke.

The Foreign Ministry held the event after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed several times that the Holocaust was a myth and was invented by Zionists to justify the establishment of Israel.

The statement criticizing the conference was signed by 23 academics, writers and translators, many of whom live outside Iran. It was sent to The New York Times and circulated on the Internet last week. It argued that the gathering lacked academic credentials and was held for propaganda purposes.

The statement said that the conference harmed the academic image of Iranian universities and provided a pretext for warmongers in the region. It added that the gathering perpetuated the immoral stance of Holocaust denial, a position that "seriously endangers" the "peaceful cohabitation of human beings."

"The extensive material evidence, the confessions made in the Nuremberg trials and other trials that took place after the war and the testimonies of the survivors established the veracity of the accounts beyond any doubt," the statement said.

"The accuracy of the accounts has been acknowledged by many academic, political and religious authorities, including the Catholic Church."

The statement added that "talking inconsiderately" about the Holocaust can only be described as rubbing salt into a historical wound. "Those who perpetuate the discourse on Holocaust denial ignore the feelings of the people directly affected by this event," it said.

The statement also argued that denying the Holocaust would not help the Palestinian cause.

"No matter what political position we adopt regarding the creation of Israel and its further expansion, the historical evidence for the Holocaust remains intact," it said.

"The Palestinians, like all other nations, have a right to enjoy their livelihood in their own independent state. This right has nothing to do with the denial or acknowledgment of the Holocaust," the statement added.

Given the risk of harassment and repression for those who criticize the government, dissent to the conference has been slow to build. But reformist politicians and some members of Parliament have voiced their outrage over the consequences of holding the event.

Akbar Alami, the parliamentary representative from the northwestern city of Tabriz, asked Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to appear in Parliament in January to explain the ministry's plans for decreasing tensions with the West and accused Ahmadinejad's foreign policy of being reckless.

"Why did we have to bring up the issue of the Holocaust, which belongs to 60 years ago," Alami asked the foreign minister.

Mehdi Karoubi, a politician who was once a speaker of Parliament, criticized the conference last week, saying it had led to a resolution in the United Nations that reflected badly on Iran.

"Have we ever asked how questioning the Holocaust has harmed us and what prices we had to pay for it?" he said in a speech at Tehran University last week, the ILNA Labor press agency reported.

The United Nations reacted to the Tehran conference by adopting a resolution without a vote that rejected any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event.