The Israeli government used the potent, emotionally-charged platform of Auschwitz concentration camp Tuesday to rebut President Ahmadinejad’s latest tirade against the Jewish state.

Standing under the notorious wrought-iron gateway to the camp with its cynical slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes Free), the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Silvan Shalom, said Iran was advocating no less than the Nazi-style elimination of the Jews.

“What Iran is trying to do right now is not far away at all from what Hitler did to the Jewish people just 65 years ago,“ said Shalom.

Ahmadinejad provoked outrage at an anti-racism conference in Geneva Monday when he called Israel “the most cruel and racist regime.” European Union delegates walked out; the governments of the US, Israel, Poland and Germany — aware that Ahmadinejad has a long record of criticising Israel — had stayed away. In the past, the Iranian President has advocated wiping Israel off the map and has described the Holocaust as a “myth.”

“Yesterday in Geneva and today here in Auschwitz shows us unfortunately... the the world has to fight back against those enemies of peace, those enemies of living one with the other,” said Shalom. Over one million Jews were killed in the SS-run Auschwitz camp and some six million were killed in the Holocaust overall.

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