The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on Germany to sue a former Iranian official who said the “Zionist project” should be canceled. Shimon Samuels, the center’s director for international relations, in a letter sent Wednesday to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany should launch “criminal proceedings against Mohammad Javad Larijani for his violation of German law against offending the memory of the Holocaust.”
Larijani, Iran’s ex-foreign minister, made the comments last week in Berlin at the Third Transatlantic Conference, which was supported in part with German federal funding. He reportedly also said that “denial of the Holocaust in the Muslim world has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. And [Iranian] President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has never denied the Holocaust.” The Central Council of Jews in Germany said earlier this week that the German government’s failure to respond to Larijani’s remarks raises questions about the depth of German solidarity with Israel. In his letter to Steinmeier, Samuels noted that “apparently, such positions were endorsed by representatives of Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia without condemnation from any of the German participants, which included the Social Democratic Party’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Protestant Church, the State of Hessen and the Federal Ministries of Finance and of Foreign Affairs.” The conference focused on issues of missile defense. It was was presented by the Peace Research Institute-Frankfurt and hosted by the Berlin Representation of the State of Hessen.
According to the institute’s Web site, the event was sponsored by the German government and the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation.
The Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin, an association of academics, journalists, members of Jewish organizations and Iranians in exile demanded Thursday that the German government reveal and fire those officials who financed the conference and invited Larijani.