An anti-Semitic cartoon by Iranian illustrator Mahmod Mohammad Tabrizi won first prize in the inaugural "International Wall Street Downfall Cartoon Festival on July 9, 2012. The winning entry shows three ostensibly religious Jews worshipping the New York Stock Exchange, the hub of the U.S. financial world, depicted as Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of the holiest sites of Judaism. Tabrizi was awarded five thousand Euros, the festival’s statue, and a letter of appreciation.
The festival was co-sponsored by Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency in an attempt to show solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement and "help people in the United States take their message out to the world."
The contest’s jury panel consisted of seven judges including four from Iran, and one each from Turkey, Poland, and Romania. The panel had selected 99 art works in the first phase and then the jury selected the top ten winners from a total pool of nearly 1,600 cartoons from around the world, including entries from the United States, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia, and China.
Tehran has cited the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, which hit its peak last autumn, in its war of words with the United States and the West in general.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director described the contest as: "Once again, Iran takes the prize for promoting anti-Semitism.” "The winning cartoon takes the most sacred site in Judaism and perverts it into a shrine of greed. It is offensive on so many levels."
Mr. Foxman continued: "Here's the anti-Semitic notion of Jews and their love for money, the canard that Jews 'control' Wall Street, and a cynical perversion of the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. This contest not only puts virulent anti-Semitism on a pedestal, but in posting the images online and involving judges from other countries, helps promote classical anti-Semitic notions before a global audience of potentially millions."
Iran held an earlier cartoon contest on the Holocaust in 2006 in which the first prize was awarded to a Moroccan artist Derkaoui Abdellah for his illustration depicting Israel's security wall with a picture of the Auschwitz concentration camp on it. The co-sponsor of the Holocaust contest, Iranian newspaper Hamshahri, claimed that the event was held in order to test the Western world’s capacity for tolerance.