Hundreds of people from Iran and around the world have submitted art for a “Holocaust cartoon contest,” an official from the competition said Monday.
Secretary Masud Shojaei-Tabatabaii told Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency that 839 works had been submitted to the Second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest, a cynical sequel to a much derided 2006 competition making light of the slaughter of 6 million Jews in Europe during World War II.
Organizers putting on the contest say it is designed to highlight the world’s double standard in defending caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, whose depiction is taboo in Islam.
The works are also meant to question why Palestinians are “oppressed in compensation” for the Holocaust and warn of other Holocausts, including Gaza, according to a website for the contest.
A second caricature section carries the “theme” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Adolf Hitler, according to the website.
Shojaei-Tabatabaii said 312 artists had submitted works to the contest, including 104 from Iran and 208 from a smattering of other countries, including France, Turkey and Brazil.
The contest was announced in January in response to international support for French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo following an attack on the magazine’s offices by Islamists apparently incensed by the magazine’s depiction of Mohammed.
Israel asked the UN to condemn the contest, saying it contributed to an atmosphere of anti-Semitism.
“The contest legitimizes Holocaust denial and encourages those who deny the Shoah to continue with their incitement,” Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, wrote in a letter in February.
UNESCO head Irina Bokova later spoke out against the contest, according to the World Jewish Congress.
The deadline for entries was April 1. The winner will receive a cash prize of $12,000, with those in second and third place taking home $8,000 and $5,000 respectively, according to the website.
Top works from the upcoming competition will be displayed at the Palestine Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran and several other locations throughout the Iranian capital.
The competition is the second iteration of an earlier Holocaust cartoon contest in 2006 launched after Danish newspaper Jyllands-Postens published cartoons depicting Mohammed.
The winner of the previous contest, Abdellah Derkaoui of Morocco, drew an Israeli crane erecting a wall around the Dome of the Rock. The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp is featured on the wall.
That contest was condemned by the US State Department, as well as then-UN secretary general Kofi Annan, officials in Israel and the anti-Defamation league.
Iran has held a number of events questioning the Holocaust in the past, including a conference intended to prove the Shoah as exaggerated.