Iran defended pro-Nazi remarks from Danish director Lars von Trier, after the Cannes film festival banned the controversial film producer from attending. Although von Trier recanted his remarks several times, Iranian Deputy Culture Minster for Cinematic Affairs Javad Shamaqdari attacked the "fascist behavior" which violated "freedom of speech."
"I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out that I was really a Nazi, you know, because my family was German – Hartmann, which also gave me some pleasure," Lars Von Trier said at a press conference for the film festival. "What can I say? I understand Hitler… I think I understand the man. He's not what you would call a good guy, but yeah I understand much about him and I sympathize with him a little bit."
He also claimed that he was "very much for Jews, but no, not too much because Israel is a pain in the ass."
Shamaqdari's response attacked the "dark stain on its history," left by banning von Trier from participating in the event. "After 64 years, it is sad to see the traces of fascist behavior in the Cannes organizers' decision to expel one of the acclaimed European filmmakers," Shamaqdari wrote in a letter published by Iranian news sites. "Perhaps it is necessary to provide a new definition of freedom of speech for encyclopedias. Otherwise, the behavior Cannes exhibited toward Von Trier by forcing him to apologize several times causes everybody to recall the churches' medieval treatment of Galileo."
Iran frequently skirts the line between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, in addition to regular calls by Iranian political leaders for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Les productions de la Plume, a French company belonging to Holocaust denying director Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, and Iran's Haft Aseman Cinematic Company (HACC) have recently inked a contract to make a film adaptation of a play entitled "The Anti-Semite," said Iran's Tehran Times on Monday. The movie, which is based on "anti-Zionist" views, will show how "Zionists" in 1714 contributed to slavery in Europe. Zionism was not founded as a movement until the late 19th century.