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Monday, March 26, 2012

German public television airs uncritical Ahmadinejad Holocaust denial interview

German public television ZDF (Second German Television) broadcast an uncritical, 42-minute interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which the Iranian denied the Holocaust. For those of you who speak German, you can find the full interview here - thus far I have been unable to find a translation. But here's a summary.
The Holocaust is “a lie of Israel” that allows the Jewish state to hurt the Palestinians, Ahmadinejad said in the ZDF interview broadcasted last week.

Claus Kleber, a brand name journalist for ZDF, a tax-payer funded, public station, aired the 45-minute interview on the popular news channel.

Dieter Graumann, head of Germany’s 105,000 member Jewish community, told the Bild am Sonntag paper that ZDF provided Ahmadinejad a platform to spread his “poison.”

“I am very disappointed that a respected German journalist, and on top of that, a public station, allowed the most brazen remarks from notorious Holocaust denier Ahmadinejad to remain unchallenged,” Graumann said.

Cleber said he did not contradict Ahmadinejad because he did not want to give him the opportunity to “fully spread his rubbish,” according to a statement cited in the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel.

Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany, but Iranian diplomats and politicians have denied the Shoah at state-funded events in Germany.

German authorities chose not to purse violations of the country’s Holocaust denial law in 2008 against senior Iranian politician Mohammad Larijani for denying the Holocaust at a German Foreign Ministry event in Berlin. A year later, his brother, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, issued statements containing elements of Holocaust denial at the annual Munich Security Conference, saying his country has “different perspectives on the Holocaust.”

While Germany enforces its anti-Holocaust denial law against neo-Nazis, the authorities fail to apply it to Iranian officials.

German-Iranian scholar Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh told the mass circulation Bild in Sunday’s article that the ZDF interview was “careless.”

“Ahmadinejad was able to present himself as a quite friendly head of state who presented Iran as the victim of an indiscriminate use of Israeli state power. The interview was celebrated as a great success in Iran and an unbelievable prize win for Ahmadinejad, and this was made possible by a broadcast from our publicly funded television!” he said.

Wahdat-Hagh, who has written extensively about human-rights violations in Iran and Islamic-animated anti-Semitism, is the author of a new book, The Islamist Totalitarianism.
The fact that Ahmadinejad and the Iranian leadership are far less isolated than they ought to be is the ultimate proof that anti-Semitism is alive and well in the world today.

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