‘Fawning’ over Holocaust deniers

Julie Bishop with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran last year.

LABOR MP Michael Danby has stepped up his criticism of the government’s stance on Iran, after the country’s Supreme Leader uploaded a video that questioned whether the Holocaust took place.

Posted on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the short film, titled Are The Dark Ages Over?, includes the line “it is not clear whether the core of this matter [the Holocaust] is a reality or not”.

In addition, the video’s narrator laments that “no-one in European countries dares to speak about the Holocaust … Speaking about the Holocaust and expressing doubts about it is considered to be a great sin.”

The video, which also describes Israel as “the fake Zionist regime”, features images of notorious Holocaust deniers Roger Garaudy, Robert Faurisson and David Irving.

It is not the first time Khamenei has questioned the historical legitimacy of the Holocaust.

He reportedly said in 2014, “The Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain, and if it has happened, it’s uncertain how it has happened.”

Danby, who has spearheaded a campaign for a parliamentary debate on the government’s softening policy towards Iran since the signing of the P5+1 nuclear deal last year, accused Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of “fawning over the Iranian regime”.

He told The AJN, “Outrageous Holocaust denial is typical of the anti-Semitic nature of the Iranian regime the Foreign Minister is working so closely with.”

Deputy Leader of the Opposition and shadow foreign affairs minister Tanya Plibersek, meanwhile, labelled Khamenei’s remarks “abhorrent”, adding, “Labor and I condemn them in the strongest possible terms.”

The sentiment was echoed by Bishop, who told The AJN that she considers the video “false, deeply offensive and distasteful”.

“I condemn comments from any quarter denying the Holocaust or fabricating doubt about this most horrific and harrowing event,” she said.

“I call on Iran to end this provocative and irresponsible pattern of commentary about the Holocaust.”

The AJN put Danby’s charges of “fawning” to the Foreign Minister, but she had not responded by press time.

Khamenei’s video comes on the back of the announcement that Iran’s municipal authorities are sponsoring a cartoon contest that calls for illustrations that satirise the Holocaust.

ELENORE LEVI