U.N. Adopts Holocaust Denial Resolution
Friday, January 26, 2007; 7:31 PM
UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution Friday condemning the denial of the Holocaust, with only Iran rejecting it as an attempt by the United States and Israel to exploit the atrocity for their political interests.
The resolution, introduced by the United States and approved by consensus, "condemns without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust."
It did not single out any country, but Israel and the United States both suggested that Iran should take note, especially after it provoked widespread anger last month by holding a conference casting doubt on the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II.
At the 192-member General Assembly, Iran stood by its stance that the Holocaust should be closely examined to determine its scope.
"The seriousness and sincerity of this endeavor would be indeed undermined by rendering political judgments on such events and closing the door to any inquiry on their characteristics, scope and extent," said Iranian delegate Hossein Gharibi.
The United States and Israel said Iran's position deepened its isolation. Last month, the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran for defying demands to freeze uranium enrichment.
They also warned that Iran's stance on the Holocaust _ and its president's past assertions that Israel should be "wiped off the map" _ should be viewed in light of its nuclear defiance. The U.S. and Israel accuse Iran of seeking to create nuclear weapons, while Tehran insists its program has only peaceful purposes.
"While the nations of the world gather here to affirm the historicity of the Holocaust with the intent of never again allowing genocide, a member of this assembly is acquiring the capabilities of carrying out its own," said Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman. "The president of Iran is in fact saying, 'There really was no Holocaust, but just in case, we shall finish the job.'"
Alejandro Wolff, the acting U.S. permanent representative to the U.N., said "Iran stands alone in shame" for rejecting a resolution that was approved by consensus and sponsored by 104 countries.
The resolution's adoption came on the eve of U.N.'s International Day of Commemoration in memory of victims of the Holocaust on Jan. 27.
Gharibi accused the United States and Israel of pushing the resolution "to pursue their narrow political interests through all means" and said Iran dissociated itself "from this entire hypocritical political exercise."
"The Israeli regime has routinely attempted to exploit the sufferings of the Jewish people in the past as a cover for the crimes it has perpetrated over the past six decades against Palestinians," he said.
He was not alone in criticizing Israel.
Venezuela, while supporting the resolution, said Israel's "excesses under the pretext of legitimate defense has led to a new holocaust against the Palestinian people." The South American country, whose President Hugo Chavez is harshly critical of U.S. foreign policy, extended that comparison to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
"The deaths of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were also a holocaust and therefore we should remember them," said Venezuelan delegate Marco Palavicini. "Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis are victims of the invasion in the name of democracy. They too are victims of a holocaust."
Egypt, meanwhile, urged people worldwide to combat "the rising tide of Islamophobia in many parts of the world" as they remember the victims of the Holocaust.
Indonesia echoed that appeal, recalling the uproar in many Muslim countries over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in European nations last year. Indonesia suggested that the same moral standards that inspire abhorrence of Holocaust denial should apply to the publication of such cartoons.