Wiesenthal Center Praises International Holocaust Task Force for Sharp Condemnation of Ahmadinejad’s Continued Holocaust Denial

September 22, 2009


Center hopes statement will inspire a walkout during Iranian President’s UN speech on Wednesday: “The only audience that Ahmadinejad deserves is a sea of empty seats.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center praised yesterday’s statement by Ambassador Tom Vraalsen, the Norwegian Chair of the International Task Force for Holocaust Education, Research and Remembrance, which sharply condemned last Friday’s speech by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he once again denied the Holocaust and threatened Israel. In his statement, Ambassador Vraalsen said that, “Make no mistake: Holocaust denial is not merely a radical and baseless form of historical revisionism, but a form of antisemitic hate speech. It is aimed not just at Israel or Zionism but at inciting hatred against Jews everywhere. … Such statements of Holocaust denial spread malice and ignorance; they fan the flames of antisemitism and are unworthy of the leader of the Iranian people.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s Associate Dean, and Mark Weitzman, the Center’s Director of Government Affairs, said that the ITF chair’s statement was a, “vigorous and forthright denunciation of the hate speech that is flowing from the regime in Teheran. It demonstrates the commitment of the Chair and the ITF to applying the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world. We hope that it will inspire the UN delegates representing the 27 member nations of the ITF to lead the walkout when President Ahmadinejad approaches the podium tomorrow at the UN General Assembly.”
“The only audience that Ahmadinejad deserves is a sea of empty seats,” Cooper and Weitzman concluded.

On Wednesday, September 23rd at 3:00 pm, as Ahmadinejad speaks at the UN, the Simon Wiesenthal Center will convene a press conference that will include four authentic voices representing diverse Iranian religious and secular groups. The briefing will be at the Center’s New York Tolerance Center at 226 East 42nd Street, New York. For more information, call the Center's New York office, 212-370-0320.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.