Politicians and diplomats representing the United States, European Union, United Nations, and Israel have condemned recent remarks made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday at the first meeting of the Palestinian National Council in more than twenty years, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
In the course of a speech that Abbas called a “history lesson” in front of the first council meeting since 1996, the Palestinian leader said that anti-Semitism in Europe — including the Holocaust — was not based on religion but rather on the “social behavior” of Jews, including money lending. He also contrasted the treatment of Jews in Europe to the treatment of Jews in Arab lands, claiming that in Arab lands Jews didn’t suffer “even one incident … in over 1,400 years — because they were Jews.”
He also explicitly denied the Jewish connection to the land of Israel, calling the Jewish presence in Israel a “colonialist enterprise aimed at planting a foreign body in this region.” He also claimed that the Jews who founded the modern state of Israel were not really Jews.
“Abu Mazen has reached a new low in attributing the cause of massacres of Jewish people over the years to their ‘social behavior relating to interest and banks,” David Friedman, the United States Ambassador to Israel said on Twitter, using the Palestinian leader’s nickname. “To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don’t have peace, think again.”
“The speech Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered on 30 April contained unacceptable remarks concerning the origins of the Holocaust and Israel’s legitimacy,” read a statement released by the European Union’s External Action Service.
The statement continued, “The Holocaust and World War Two have defined Europe’s modern history like no other event. Holocaust education remains central to building up resilience against all forms of hatred in our societies. Antisemitism is not only a threat for Jews but a fundamental menace to our open and liberal societies. The European Union remains committed to combat any form of anti-Semitism and any attempt to condone, justify or grossly trivialise the Holocaust.”
The UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov tweeted, “It is unacceptable & deeply disturbing that Abu Mazen has voiced some of the most contemptuous #antisemitic slurs. Leaders must confront #antisemitism, not perpetuate its conspiracy theories. Denying the Jewish connection to the land & its holy sites stands in contrast to reality.”
Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the United States and currently Deputy Minister for Diplomacy, commented, “Mahmoud Abbas says money-lending Jews provoked Holocaust, denied any Jewish connection to the Land of Israel, and again called the Jewish state a European colonial project. Now there’s a peace partner.”
I can’t believe what I am hearing. Abu Mazen on PA TV basically saying Hitler facilitated building Israel. pic.twitter.com/2BlU2QUsRt
— Ghanem Nuseibeh (@gnuseibeh) April 30, 2018
This isn’t the first time Abbas has been criticized for engaging in anti-Semitic rhetoric.
In June 2016 the ADL condemned Abbas for using language in a speech before the European Parliament that is “reminiscent of age-old anti-Semitic stereotypes.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the Palestinian leadership for ongoing violence in October 2015 saying that they were engaging in “wild and mendacious incitement.” A month earlier Abbas had said that the Palestinians would not allow the Jews to defile the holy places in Jerusalem with their “filthy feet.”
In a conference call organized by The Israel Project, Dr. Edy Cohen, an expert on the Arab world and the writings of Abbas, said that he was “not surprised” by Abbas’s comments, and observed that the Palestinian leader is fascinated by Nazi propaganda. Cohen added, “He has always been a Holocaust denier and will always remain a Holocaust denier.”
In Abbas’ doctoral dissertation on the Holocaust — which was analyzed by Cohen in May 2016 issue of The Tower Magazine — the now-Palestinian premier wrote that “the number of Jewish victims is supposed to be six million. But it was likely much smaller, perhaps less than a million.” He added that “it is in the interest of the Zionist movement to exaggerate the numbers of those tragically killed in the war for the sake of the [political] profits it received from making the number as large as possible.”
He also claimed that Zionists saw Jewish persecution as “something desirable” and that Zionists gave “a green light … to every racist in the world, first and foremost Hitler and the Nazis, to do whatever they wanted to the Jews, as long as it ensured immigration to Palestine.”
“The Zionist movement was not satisfied with all this, but also secretly undertook widespread incitement against Jews located in lands under Nazi occupation in order to provoke the Nazi authorities into taking revenge on them and expanding the mass extermination actions,” Abbas charged.
There is no credible scholarship that supports Abbas’ claims.
A complete recording of the conference call with Cohen is embedded below.
[Photo: pal tv / YouTube ]