Published: Sat, May 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Palestinian President Abbas Apologizes For Holocaust Remarks

Palestinian President Abbas Apologizes For Holocaust Remarks

Abbas, who has faced accusations of anti-Semitism before, suggested in a rambling address to a rare meeting of the Palestinian National Council on Monday night that the Holocaust was a result of Jews' "social behavior, [charging interest], and financial matters".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called Mr. Abbas a "Holocaust denier", and the speech prompted some liberal Israelis to rule Mr. Abbas out as a partner for peace.

"For far too long European leaders have given Mahmoud Abbas the benefit of the doubt over his repeated incitement against Israel, the Jewish People and his denial of the Holocaust", Moshe Kantor, the European Jewish Congress president, said in a statement.

The comments drew criticism that Abbas perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes and ignored the deep Jewish historical connections to the Holy Land. He wrote on Twitter: "Abu Mazen is a wretched Holocaust denier, who wrote a doctorate of Holocaust denial and later also published a book on Holocaust denial".

"President Abbas has repeatedly referred to the Holocaust as the most heinous crime in history", said Erekat.

A spokesman for pro-Israel think-tank BICOM said she had not mentioned Abbas's anti-Semitic statements "despite posting a lengthy statement on Facebook about her experiences".

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The US transfer was additionally condemned by the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League.

"Yad Vashem also rebuffed Abbas' claim that a transfer agreement between the Jewish Agency and the German Nazi government, allowing some German Jews emigrating to pre-State Palestine to recover some of the money they left behind, constituted Nazi support for Zionism". "This must come to an end and he must be treated like any racist or anti-Semite and contact with him must cease until he apologizes".

The editorial concluded, "Palestinians need a leader with energy, integrity and vision, one who might have a better chance of achieving Palestinian independence and enabling both peoples to live in peace".

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said Wednesday he was "shocked" at what he described as an "attack orchestrated by Israel around the world to accuse president Abbas of anti-semitism".

Danon said in his letter: "This claim was a unsafe attempt by the Chairman to rewrite history and claim that the Zionist movement was a result of a European conspiracy". Palestinian President Abbas's comments were deeply concerning.

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