(CNSNews.com) – Iran, the country that brought the world Holocaust cartoons and “Down with America” awards, has a new offering – an art and media festival with the theme of the coming destruction of Israel.
To be held in Tehran in April, the first “International Hourglass Festival” is inviting entries including posters, cartoons, websites, mobile apps, games, animated graphics and other cyber-related products from around the world, all pertaining to Israel’s demise.
Organizers said this week they plan to work with 2,400 anti-Israel non-governmental organizations in Europe, North America, Latin America and East Asia “to promote the festival across the world.”
The festival’s logo features an hourglass, with a Star of David in the top crumbling into pieces below, along with the label, “-25 years.”
This refers to a September 2015 speech by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in which he predicted that Israel would no longer exist in 25 years’ time.
The festival’s website says the event is being convened to collect and display “anti-Zionism productions” by supporters of justice, monotheists and Muslims around the world.
The goal is “to disclose the beastly and anti-human rights measures of Zionist occupier regime and its supporters, particularly the U.S. and damned Wahhabism [a reference to Saudi Arabia].”
According to the festival’s “executive secretary,” Mehdi Ghomi, subject categories will include “Israel, a fake, racist and colonialist regime,” “Israel, a cancerous tumor” and “Why down with Israel?”
Ghomi said category winners will win $1,800 each and the overall winner $2,700. The closing ceremony would be held on “International Quds Day,” which falls this year on June 8.
(The annual event on the last Friday of Ramadan was inaugurated by the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to provide an opportunity for protestors to demonstrate their opposition to Israel’s existence.)
The festival is being sponsored by the “Seraj cyberspace organization,” a digital media entity that is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ notorious Basij militia.
The festival launch event Tuesday was addressed by Hossein Amir Abdollahian, an aide to the speaker of the Iranian parliament, who spoke of Iran’s efforts to counter its enemies (“the ominous Tel Aviv-Riyadh-Washington triangle.”)
According to a report published by the Mehr news agency, he said the festival “is a symbol of the imminent collapse of the Zionist regime of Israel, as predicted by the leader of Iran’s Islamic revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.”
Asked about Iran’s plans to realize the victory of Palestinians over Israel, Abdollahian said all Islamic states must play a role.
“He said he cannot publicize the Islamic Republic’s plan to realize the Leader’s prediction that the Israeli regime will collapse within 25 years, but it will definitely happen,” the report said.
‘Haman lives again in Tehran’
In a speech in Tehran on September 9, 2015, Khamenei, in comments directed at Israel, said, “You will not see the next 25 years, and by the grace of Allah no such thing as the Zionist regime will exist in the region.”
In December 2016, he repeated the claim, while hosting the leader of a Palestinian terrorist group.
“As I have said before, the Zionist regime will not exist in the next 25 years, on the condition of a public and unified struggle by Palestinians and Muslims,” Khamenei told Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdullah.
“Despite continued attempts by the supporters of the Zionist regime to create crises and make the Palestinian issue fade into oblivion, the holy land will be liberated thanks to the resistance and striving of Palestinian groups.”
Last August, the claim was echoed by the incoming commander of the Iranian army, Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi.
Reacting to news of the “Hourglass Festival,” Israel’s ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon, tweeted, “Should we be bothered or surprised only by Iran or also by those who will be willing to participate in this outrageous farce?”
Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren referenced the Jewish holiday of Purim, which began at sundown on Wednesday,
“Haman lives again in Tehran!” he tweeted. “The Iranian regime will hold an ‘Hourglass Festival’ counting down the days to Israel’s destruction. But, as in Shushan, the Jews will prevail. The world must tear off Iran’s disguise and expose its genocidal face.”
(Purim commemorates the Jews’ salvation from a genocidal plot lead by Haman, a vizier in the royal court in Shushan in 4th century BC Persia, as recounted in the biblical book of Esther.)
In 2006, an Iranian newspaper sponsored a cartoon competition with a Holocaust theme, reportedly in response to the Danish Mohammed cartoon controversy.
In 2015 a second Holocaust-themed cartoon contest was held, and in 2016 a third, this time with sponsors including the IRGC and Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
In 2014-15, Iran held a cartoon competition entitled “Down With America,” with subject themes including Islamophobia, Iranophobia and Global Zionism.
Separately, several “Down with USA” award competitions have been held, for photographs, caricatures and posters. According to the website, sponsors include the IRGC/Basij-affiliated Seraj cyberspace organization and the state-owned Tasnim news agency.