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Reactions to the Holocaust Conference

Ahmadinejad said Israel will one day be "wiped out", drawing applause from conference participants

Iranian President Ahmadinejad

Addressing participants in the International Conference on 'The Holocaust, Global Vision' in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said those who have rendered support to the Zionist regime should be aware that the lifetime of Israel will be soon over. 'The same way the ground was paved for the creation of such a regime, the Zionist regime will be dismantled by its supporters' he stressed.

EU Presidency Statement on the Iranian Conference on the Holocaust: 'The Presidency of the European Union is deeply concerned about the Conference on the Holocaust, which was held in Tehran on 11-12 December 2006. The Presidency regards the holding of the conference as detrimental to efforts aimed at furthering the dialogue among civilisations, cultures and religions.'

'The Presidency condemns in the strongest of terms any politically or racially motivated attempts and the use of pseudo-scholarship to deny or question the Holocaust and is disturbed by the continuous efforts of the Iranian government to question or trivialize the undeniable historical facts of the Holocaust and its horrors.'

'The Presidency urges the Iranian government to strengthen its fight against racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism and to eliminate all forms of discrimination and other human rights violations against persons belonging to minorities.'

Tony Blair

British Prime-Minister Tony Blair has launched a powerful attack on Iran, accusing the regime in Tehran of posing a "major strategic threat" to the stability of the Middle East. The Prime Minister said he found it "shocking beyond belief" that the Iranians had organised a conference questioning whether the Nazis had really killed six million Jews in the Holocaust.

At the same time, he accused the hardline Islamic regime of doing its best to cause the "maximum problems" in the wider region - including Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. "Maybe I feel too strongly about these things, but I think it is such a symbol of extremism and hatred towards people of another religion, I find it just unbelievable really," he said.

The Vatikan issued the following statement: "The Shoah (holocaust) was a great tragedy before which we cannot remain indifferent. The memory of those horrible events must remain as a warning for people's consciences".

Reactions in Israel

FM Tzipi Livni

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni: "Ahmadinejad is falsifying and disgracing the Jewish past. The problem is that this conference is being dignified by a handful of people. This is a disgrace," said Livni. "The Iranian problem is not just a problem for the State of Israel, it's a problem for anyone who values democracy and the free world."

Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik: "We have to send a clear and urgent message that such behavior can no longer be tolerated by the family of nations."

Yitzhak Herzog

Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog (Labor): "If Ahmadinejad were invited to visit the crematoriums, take part in the March of the Living and visit all the museums and sites worldwide dedicated to honoring the memory of the Jews who were slaughtered in the Holocaust, he might understand that denying the Holocaust was a mistake. He should meet the survivors who have numbers tattooed on their wrists. All over the world, the survivors' words, their writings, should be passed on from father to son and in every classroom," he said. "For the first time since World War II, a member of the United Nations has called for the extermination of another member. That says it all."

MK Yisrael Katz (Likud) called Ahmadinejad "the evil of our time. Ahmadinejad supports all the terror organizations that are fighting Israel. By denying the Holocaust he persecutes not only the living Zionist state, but the Jewish dead."

Katz also urged the government not to allow Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to return to the PA following Haniyeh's four-day visit to Iran. "It would be best if Haniyeh, who has joined the murderous path of Iran, were banished from the PA. If Haniyeh were kept away from the PA, Katz argued, an opportunity would be created for more moderate Palestinian elements to step into power and reach a long-term agreement with Israel."

Several of the Arab MKs told the Knesset that they were unhappy to see the conference take place and that they were ashamed of their fellow Arabs for taking part in the conference.

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