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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said Holocaust deniers would not be permitted to repeat a genocide against Jews.

Speaking at the official Yom Hashoah Holocaust remembrance ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Netanyahu also criticized the president of Switzerland for meeting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday.

Netanyahu called Ahmadinejad a Holocaust denier who wants to perpetrate another massacre of Jews.

"We will not allow the Holocaust deniers to carry out another Holocaust against the Jewish people. This is the supreme duty of the state of Israel. This is my supreme duty as prime minister of Israel," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu called the Durban II conference, at which Ahmadinejad spoke Monday, "a demonstration of hatred for Israel," adding that "the world sounds a weak voice against those who advocate erasing Israel."

Earlier, President Shimon Peres denounced Ahmadinejad, likening him to World War II-era dictators for his strong rhetoric against Israel.

"It is hard to fathom why despots such as Hitler the Nazi, Stalin the Bolshevik and Ahmadinejad the Persian chose the Jews as the main target for their hatred, their madness and their violence," Peres said in a speech comemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"Perhaps they targeted the Jewish people because of its spiritual power - a nation poor in material possessions, but rich in values - for he who is infected with megalomania fears the power of the spirit."

"The Jews did not worship idols or authority, and their God gave mankind its conscience," the president said. "We were the first to believe that every person is created in God's image, and we were commanded to sanctify life and prevent murder and discrimination.

Ahmadinejad created a stir

on Monday during his appearance before a UN-sponsored anti-racism conference in Geneva. The Iranian leader denounced Israel as a "criminal and racist" entity, prompting dozens of Western diplomats to leave the hall.

Ahmadinejad's speech was roundly condemned by Western leaders and diplomats.

The president slammed the Durban II anti-racism conference, which is being boycotted by Israel and key Western states for fear that it will be used as a platform to single out Israel for criticism.

"The conference opening today in Geneva constitutes an acceptance of racism, rather than the fight against it, and its main speaker is Ahmadinejad, who calls for the annihilation of Israel and denies the Holocaust," Peres said.

Peres slammed Israel's detractors for the anti-Semitic overtones that emanate from their criticism of Jerusalem's policy.

"Criticism of the Jewish State is also tinged with chilling anti-Semitism," Peres said. "Among those who collaborated with the Nazis, and those who stood by and let the Holocaust happen, there are those who criticize the one state that rose to grant refuge to Holocaust survivors. The one state that will prevent another Holocaust."

"The gas has dissipated, but the poison remains," Peres said. "There are still Holocaust deniers and hot-headed skinheads in the world, those who bear the sort of visceral hatred that leads to racist murder."