Iran's president questions Holocaust

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Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday expressed doubt that the Holocaust occurred and suggested Israel be moved to Europe.

His comments, reported by Iran's official IRNA news agency from a news conference he gave in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, follow his call in October for Israel to be "wiped off the map", which sparked widespread international condemnation.

"Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

"Although we don't accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem?" he said.

"If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe -- like in Germany, Austria or other countries -- to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it."

Historians say six million Jews were killed in the Nazi Holocaust. Ahmadinejad's remarks drew swift rebukes from Israel and Washington.

Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said in Tel Aviv that Ahmadinejad was voicing "the consensus that exists in many circles in the Arab world that the Jewish people ... do not have the right to establish a Jewish, democratic state in their ancestral homeland".

"Just to remind Mr. Ahmadinejad, we've been here long before his ancestors were here," Gissin said. "Therefore, we have a birthright to be here in the land of our forefathers and to live here. Thank God we have the capability to deter and to prevent such a statement from becoming a reality."

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Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

President Majmound Ahmadnejad is reported to have suggested that if it is true that Europeans intentionally killed millions of Jews that Europeans themselves--he mentions Germanay and Austria--should offer "parts of Europe" to the Jewish people for a homeland. The implication is that if Europeans intentionally killed millions of Jews, and regreted it, that they should give up some of their own land to the Jews, not that of Arabs, who were not implicated in the alleged slaughter and who did not really want to hand over their own land to people from another continent.

This is so sensible a point of view that non-academics cannot understand why it was not discussed seriously by Europeans or their allies at the close of the war, or any time since.