Publishing Holocaust cartoons may be educational

Article du 10/02/06
Par Shirli Sitbon

The French Yad Vashem committee has said plans by a magazine to publish Holocaust caricatures “could be educational if done properly”.

However, a spokesman for the French Holocaust memorial organisation said the magazine, Charlie Hebdo, would be prosecuted if the cartoons are offensive.

Charlie Hebdo, the magazine that published the twelve Danish Muhammad cartoons on Wednesday, is preparing a special issue on the Iranian Holocaust cartoon competition.

Criticised by French president Jacques Chirac for being “provocative” when publishing the drawings of prophet Muhammad, the magazine stressed its goal in the new issue is to fight Holocaust denial and show the difference between the Danish cartoons portraying prophet Muhammad and the Iranian revisionist caricatures.

“We’ll go through with this project only if we manage to do it properly with the necessary explanations around the drawings.” said Philippe Val in a press conference on Wednesday.
Leftist Liberation newspaper denounced Charlie Hebdo’s new initiative on Thursday,

Val said he considers it as “a caricature of a caricature” because could be perceived as “a parallel between the cartoons of prophet Muhammad and the ones denying the Shoah.”

Wait and see

French Yad Vashem Committee President Richard Prasquier is waiting to see the issue with the Holocaust cartoons before criticising it.

When surrounded by the proper explanations this kind of publication can be educational,” Richard Prasquier told EJP. “It can demonstrate why these drawings are so vile.”

He added: “I believe that Charlie Hebdo, if it does publish the cartoons, will provide in this issue solid criticism,” Prasquier added. “If it doesn’t, it will have to fall into the Gayssot law on Holocaust denial.”

The French Yad Vashem chairman said that publishing the cartoons of prophet Muhammad was “stupid and shocking” but he added that “religion, God and his prophets can take care of themselves. There are still out there some Holocaust survivors and orphans that are still alive and suffered terribly. They have been destroyed and had to learn how to survive and rebuild themselves.”

The contest launched by the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri doesn’t surprise the Jewish community.

“The Iranian president already said the Holocaust was a myth. You can’t go any further in lying,” Prasquier told EJP.

“This is a danger to the whole world. When the Arab world realises the gravity and importance of Ahmadinejad’s stance, a big step forward would be accomplished.”

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