American’s entry in Iran Holocaust cartoon contest

More than 200 people from around the world have submitted entries in an Iranian newspaper’s contest for cartoons designed to mock Israel and the Holocaust.

Most of the contestants are Iranian, but at least six Americans have submitted cartoons, including Mike Flugennock, whose entry asks: “What has Ariel Sharon learned from the Holocaust?” The answer: “Humiliation, tyranny, brutality and murder.”

Flugennock insisted his submission isn’t anti-Semitic because it only criticizes Israeli policy, the Scotsman newspaper reported.

The Iranian newspaper Hamshahri, one of the nation’s top five, conceived the contest as a response to the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten’s solicitation of cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet Muhammad, which evoked a violent reaction around the Muslim world.

In February, Farid Mortazavi, Hamshahri’s graphics editor said the paper intended to turn the tables on the assertion offensive material can be published in the name of free speech.

Entry in Iran Holocaust cartoon contest

“The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let’s see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons,” he said.

Offering a $12,000 first prize, Hamshahri has received about 700 cartoons from 200 artists from 35 countries, the Scotsman reported. The best 12 artists will be rewarded, the same number of cartoons that appeared in the Danish newspaper.

Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted an international furor in November when he publicly declared the Holocaust a “myth” and called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Then in December, he suggested European nations should give up some of their territory if they believed the World War II-era Holocaust took place, noting, “certain European countries would have the world go with their stand that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and have passed laws punishing anyone who says anything to the contrary.”

Ahmadinejad also has dismissed the free-speech arguments used by the few European papers that published the Muhammad cartoons.

“If your newspapers are free why do not they publish anything about the innocence of the Palestinians and protest against the crimes committed by the Zionists?” he said, according the Mehr news agency.

In Iran’s contest, a Holocaust cartoon submitted by an Iranian reflects Ahmadinejad’s view. The entry by Firouzeh Mozafari shows nine Jewish men continuously entering a gas chamber that shows a counter reading “5,999,999,” implying Jews have inflated the number of Holocaust victims, the Scotsman reported.

A group of Israelis has responded in turn to the Iranian newspaper, announcing their own anti-Semitic cartoons contest.

Eyal Zusman, actor and playwright, and Amitai Sandy, graphic artist and publisher of Dimona Comix Publishing in Tel-Aviv, said they have “followed the unfolding of the ‘Muhammad cartoon-gate’ events in amazement, until finally they came up with the right answer to all this insanity – and so they announced today the launch of a new anti-Semitic cartoons contest – this time drawn by Jews themselves!”

“We’ll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published!” said Sandy “No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!”

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