WASHINGTON — In early May, organizers in Tehran will stage the Second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest.

An exhibition will feature some of the 839 pieces submitted by artists from more than 50 countries, reports Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency. Its stated goal is to provoke Western sensibilities – particularly as a response to satirical cartoons of the prophet Muhammad published in European outlets. The “contest and exhibition intends to display the West’s double standard behavior towards freedom of expression as it allows sacrilege of Islamic sanctities,” Fars reports.

The first such contest, held in 2006, featured motifs of Holocaust denial and aired grievances over Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The victorious cartoon 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.

A prompt for this year’s contest, organized by the Tehran-based House of Cartoons and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Complex, asks:

“If the West says that freedom of speech has no borders then why don’t they let historians and experts properly research the Holocaust?”

In February, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, panned the event.

“It ridicules one of the darkest events in human history, and it cheapens the death of millions of Jews who were murdered,” he said.


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