Abbas apologizes for comments decried as anti-Semitic

  • Abbas apologizes for comments decried as anti-Semitic

Abbas apologizes for comments decried as anti-Semitic

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has offered an apology after he was criticized for anti-Semitism in a speech where he implied that historic persecution of European Jews had been prompted by their conduct, not by their religion.

Abbas, speaking in front of the Palestinian National Council in the West Bank on Monday, delved into several other anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and accused Zionists of cooperating with Adolf Hitler to establish the modern state of Israel.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Abbas of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, calling on the global community to condemn him.

"Likewise, we condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms, and confirm our commitment to the two-state solution, and to live side by side in peace and security", he said.

The United Nations envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, on Wednesday accused Abbas of repeating "contemptuous anti-Semitic slurs".

Abbas, who has always been accused of Holocaust denial for his doctoral thesis claiming secret ties between Zionists and the Nazis, also condemned the Holocaust "as the most heinous crime in history".

His remarks before Palestinian lawmakers in Ramallah on Monday sparked widespread condemnation and reignited accusations that Abbas is a Holocaust denier. On Monday, he said, "Their narrative about coming to this country because of their longing for Zion, or whatever-we're exhausted of hearing this".

It enshrines the status of Israel as a national homeland for the Jewish people, saying that the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their homeland is the exclusive right of the Jewish people.

In a rambling speech to hundreds of Palestinian officials, the 82-year-old said for centuries Jews in Europe were "subjected to a massacre every 10 to 15 years". "But why did this happen?" They say any peace talks with Israel would have to be brokered by impartial parties, something they do not believe the current leadership in Washington to be.

The "proof" that it was not because they were Jews, he asserted, "is that there were Jews in Arab countries. I challenge you [to find] even one indecent act against Jews in over 1,400 years - because they were Jews in Arab lands".

During a speech to the European Parliament in 2016, he accused rabbis in Israel of calling for their government to poison the water used by Palestinians, echoing a libel that led to the mass killings of Jews in medieval times. "In other words, it is possible that the number of Jewish victims reached six million, but at the same time it is possible that the figure is much smaller - below one million".