Toronto – A decision by Toronto’s city council to ban an exhibit comparing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with those of Adolf Hitler has drawn fire from Canadian Jewish groups.
The traveling four-part exhibit, of which the Ahmadinejad presentation makes up one part, has been banned by an ad-hoc committee within the council for being too controversial and inflammatory.
“The exhibit talks about the Holocaust cartoon contest and [Holocaust denial] conferences [Ahmadinejad] has held and his statements against the Jewish people,” explained Avi Benlolo, president of the Toronto-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.
“If this was Toronto in 1933 and we had an exhibit on Hitler and his danger to the Jews, that exhibit would be denied” based on the city’s criteria, Benlolo believes.
“It is a shocking exhibit, but it’s the reality. This guy is threatening to wipe Israel off the map, which is tantamount to genocide.”
B’nai B’rith Canada’s Frank Dimant called the city’s decision “flawed,” since Ahmadinejad “has repeatedly engaged in incitement to genocide against the Jewish people, all the while aggressively pursuing a nuclear build-up. The comparison to Adolf Hitler, with his genocidal agenda of annihilating the Jewish people, is an obvious one.”
The exhibit “speaks to the importance of learning history’s lessons,” said Dimant, adding that he was hopeful the city council would reverse its decision.
The Toronto municipality’s response could not be obtained by press time.