Iran hosts anti-Israel cartoon contest

An Iranian man looks at an anti-Nazi cartoon showing late German dictator Hilter at the second international exhibition of drawing and cartoons on the Holocaust in Tehran on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 14 May 2016

Iran hosts anti-Israel cartoon contest

TEHRAN: A contest of anti-Israeli cartoons opened Saturday in the Iranian capital, with many entries deriding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s Middle East policies.
The exhibition, totaling 150 entries from 50 countries, was launched on the eve of the Palestinian commemoration of “nakba,” which means catastrophe in Arabic, marking the 1948 creation of Israel.
The Iranian government has distanced itself from the contest, which Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said was organized by a non-governmental organization without any support from the authorities.
Several cartoons on display poke fun at Netanyahu, with one depicting the Israeli prime minister as a member of Daesh and holding a sabre in his hand.
Another shows a map of the Middle East with a coffin bearing the word “Holocaust” flattening Palestinians in place of what should be the country of Israel.
“We are not seeking to confirm or deny the Holocaust,” said organizer Massoud Shojaie Tabatabaie, himself a cartoonist.
He said the exhibition was a rebuttal to the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which was attacked last year.
The best cartoon will be awarded $12,000, said Tabatabaie. An earlier edition of the exhibition was held in 2006. He said the contest was being organized by a non-government organization “that is not controlled by the Iranian government. Nor is it endorsed by the Iranian government.”
Asked why Iran has allowed the exhibition to go ahead, Zarif said: “Why does the US have the Ku Klux Klan?
“Is the government of the United States responsible for the fact that there are racially hateful organizations in the US? Don’t consider Iran a monolith. The Iranian government does not support, nor does it organize, any cartoon festival of the nature that you’re talking about.”

Egyptian president uses UN address to call for peace in Libya

Updated 7 min 2 sec ago

Egyptian president uses UN address to call for peace in Libya

  • In speech to 75th General Assembly, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi again warns that Egypt will intervene if forces in the country cross ‘red lines’

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi told the UN on Tuesday that the crisis in Libya continues to have repercussions for neighboring nations and is affecting international stability.

In a recorded speech to the organization’s 75th General Assembly, he said that Egypt remains determined to support the Libyan people in their efforts to rid their nation of terrorist groups and militias, and end interference by regional powers that have deployed foreign fighters in the country.

He reiterated that if previously stated “red lines” are crossed by forces aligned with the Government of National Accord in Tripoli advancing on Sirte and nearby Al-Jufra, Egypt will intervene in defense of its own national security and the safety of its people.

El-Sisi renewed his call for both sides in the conflict to return to the negotiating table to find a political solution that can bring the peace, security and stability the Libyan people deserve. He added that Egypt continues to support UN-led efforts to reach a political settlement based on the 2015 agreement signed in Skhirat, Morocco, and this year’s Berlin conference and Cairo Declaration. The declaration, announced on June 6, is a joint political initiative designed to end the conflict, restore order and establish a consensus government.

Ambassador Mohammed Badr El-Din, a former assistant minister of foreign affairs, said that El-Sisi’s speech covered all the main issues currently dominating Egyptian foreign policy and national security, and highlighted the importance of international cooperation to confront the problems and, in particular, hold accountable those who violate international law.

“(The president) talked about the issue of countries that support terrorism and facilitate the movement of terrorists to conflict areas, especially to Libya and Syria,” said El-Din.

He added that the situation in Libya is one of the greatest concerns for Egypt, and that some countries, led by Turkey, are threatening international peace and security by supporting terrorists and deploying Daesh elements in conflict zones in the region.

“Egypt has surpassed the parties that are allied with the terrorist forces,” said El-Din. “It is no secret from the world that there are elements of ISIS who were transferred from Syria to Libya, and thus President El-Sisi repeated and clarified this position,” he added, using another name for the terror group Daesh.

He added that El-Sisi in his speech also confirmed Egypt’s stance on the Palestinian issue and support for a just resolution, and highlighted the importance of reaching political solutions in Syria and Yemen that preserve their territorial integrity.

Salah Hasaballah, a spokesman for the House of Representatives, noted that El-Sisi had expressed his regret that the international community continues to turn a blind eye to the support provided to terrorists by a handful of countries, through the provision of funds and weapons, by offering safe havens and media and political platforms, and even transporting terrorist fighters to conflict zones, especially Libya and Syria.

He also called on the international community to embrace El-Sisi’s vision for a solution to the Palestinian issue, and commit to working to achieve peace and establish a Palestinian homeland.