‘NY Times’: Abbas must step down

The editorial was an unusual move for a paper whose editorial board has, in the past, harshly criticized Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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May 4, 2018 00:10
1 minute read.
‘NY Times’: Abbas must step down

The sun peaks over the New York Times Building in New York August 14, 2013 . (photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

The New York Times has called for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to step down, in the aftermath of his Monday night speech in Ramallah in which he charged that money lending was the reason Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

In an editorial on Thursday entitled: “Let Abbas’s Vile Words Be His Last as Palestinian Leader,” the paper charged that the Palestinian leader had fed “reprehensible antisemitic myths and conspiracy theories. Mr. Abbas’s vile speech was a new low. No doubt he feels embittered and besieged on all sides. But by succumbing to such dark, corrosive instincts he showed that it is time for him to leave office.”

The editorial was an unusual move for a paper whose editorial board has, in the past, harshly criticized Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas, the NY Times added, “shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner” for future peace talks. “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.”

The Palestinians tried unsuccessfully on Thursday to refocus the debate on the Israeli “occupation,” as condemnation of Abbas’s speech in Ramallah continued to roll in.

“Our problem is not with Judaism, but with the systematic denial of our rights committed by Israel,” said Saab Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. His words were reported by the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas condemned the speech for the second day in a row, in a meeting in Ethiopia with President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday.

Maas later tweeted, “I stressed once again that Germany firmly opposes any attempt to downplay the Holocaust.”

France stated that it “shares the emotions roused by these remarks [of] President Abbas,” its Foreign Ministry said. “We deplore them and consider them false, unfortunate and inappropriate. France reiterates its condemnation, in the strongest possible terms, of antisemitism in all its forms, and its determination to relentlessly combat this scourge.”

The Dutch Foreign Ministry said Abbas’s speech was “unacceptable.”


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