Iran to Hold Second Holocaust Cartoon Contest

Purpose of the competition is to show Western double-standards toward freedom of expression; winner to get $12,000.

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Iran plans to hold its second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest in May, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The secretariat of the contest, Shojayee Tabatabayee, told Fars last week that 839 works had been submitted by 312 artists. Of those, 104 artists are Iranian while 208 hail from other countries such as Indonesia, Brazil, France, Turkey and China.

According to Fars, Tabatabayee said the purpose of the competition is to "display the West's double standard behavior towards freedom of expression as it allows sacrilege of Islamic sanctities but prevents research on the Holocaust due to the Zionist regime's steadfast opposition."

The first contest, held in 2006, included images of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wearing an SS uniform and an observant Jew depicted as a vampire drinking from a container of "Palestinian blood" among others.

The winner of that competition, according to the Washington Post, was drawn by a Moroccan, and "depicted Israel setting up a separation barrier around the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem; a black-and-white rendering of a concentration camp covers the wall."

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, criticized the planned event earlier this year.

"It ridicules one of the darkest events in human history, and it cheapens the death of millions of Jews who were murdered," he said in a statement in February. "The horrors of the Holocaust are still fresh in the collective memory."

The deadline for entries was April 1. The winner will receive a cash prize of $12,000.