WASHINGTON ó Switzerland's foreign minister proposed in December that her government host a conference on varying perspectives on the Holocaust. The participants would include the Jewish state of Israel, and the country whose president has denied the attempted genocide ever happened, Iran.
The details of the plan emerged this week in the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche, which claimed to obtain minutes from a meeting between Micheline Calmy-Rey and Iran's deputy foreign minister on December 21. The Iranians had just made world headlines after hosting a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran that featured neo-Nazis and ex-Klansmen, such as David Duke.
Die Weltwoche reported in the piece that Ms. Calmy-Rey said through a spokesman that she had told her Iranian interlocutor she believed the Holocaust was a historical fact.
The statement did not satisfy the New York-based Anti-Defamation League. Yesterday, its national director, Abraham Foxman, who is a survivor of the Holocaust, said the Swiss government owed his fellow survivors an apology.
"We are outraged that the Swiss government could have pitched the idea of a seminar on the Holocaust to, of all countries, Iran," he said.