Complaints laid after 'hate speech' calling Israel 'cancer', denying Holocaust

The Israel Institute of New Zealand made a complaint about Iranian diplomat Hormoz Gharemani.
The Israel Institute of New Zealand made a complaint about Iranian diplomat Hormoz Gharemani. Photo credit: YouTube

Official complaints have been laid over comments made by Iranian diplomats at an Auckland mosque event, which include calling Israel a "cancer" and calling the Holocaust a "conspiracy".

The Israel Institute of New Zealand has laid a complaint to the Human Rights Commission and Foreign Minister Winston Peters after video surfaced online of the speech.

Israel Institute of New Zealand director Professor Paul Moon says New Zealand cannot allow the incident to go unchallenged.

Mr Moon said at the event diplomats from Iran used "very strong language" and were "talking about Jewish conspiracies, describing Israel as a cancer that needs to be removed, denying the holocaust".  

He said the event began with Iranian diplomat Hormoz Ghahremani talking about terrorism in the Middle East, and his speech then turned to "accusations that there was some sort of Zionist conspiracy behind what was going on, that somehow the Jews were responsible for terrorism in the Middle East".

Mr Moon said another speaker, Sayed Taghi Derhami, called Israel a "cancerous tumour" and said it has to be "surgically removed" and Iranian cleric Sheik Shafie denied the Holocaust.

A video of the speeches, which were made in June at a mosque in Pakuranga, was posted online by the Islamic Ahlulbayt Foundation of New Zealand but it has since been removed.

Sayed Taghi Derhami and Hojatoleslam Shafie speaking at the event.
Sayed Taghi Derhami and Hojatoleslam Shafie speaking at the event. Photo credit: YouTube

Mr Moon says it's troubling that such views are being expressed in New Zealand, and said the Government should be concerned that a diplomat was involved in the comments.

He wants to see the people involved in the comments issue an apology, and to say: "We were wrong to speak in these racist terms, we were wrong to speak about the destruction of a country, it's wrong of us to deny the Holocaust, all of these things are inappropriate for New Zealand and we shouldn't have said them."

Mr Ghahremani told Newshub his speech was criticising Tel Aviv's policies, "mainly settlement policy and acts of violence committed against the Palestinians".

"At the end of the speech I thanked New Zealand Government for playing an active role in cosponsoring and approving of the UN Security Council resolution 2334 to oppose  and condemn the illegal settlement policy of the Israeli regime in the occupied Palestine," he said.

"Iranian Jews are represented in Iranian Parliament. Our opposition to Tel Aviv has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Historically, Iran has always had good relations with Jews and has always assisted them."

He said he was not present during the other speeches, and did not wish to comment on them.

Newshub.