Danon, US Jewry say Abbas’ ‘antisemitic’ speech reveals his true feelings

In a letter sent to the United Nations Security Council, Danon demanded that the executive body condemn the 82-year-old Arab leader for his “hateful” remarks.

May 2, 2018 21:55
4 minute read.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon speaks at the UNGA

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon speaks at the UNGA. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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NEW YORK - Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday for employing antisemitic rhetoric in a recent speech delivered in Ramallah. In a letter sent to the United Nations Security Council, Danon demanded that the executive body condemn the 82-year-old Arab leader for his “hateful” remarks made a rare session of the Palestinian National Council on Monday. “Such a hateful diatribe against a people who have undergone thousands of years of intolerable persecution, is completely unacceptable,” Danon wrote.

“I call on all leaders of good faith to condemn these repeated hateful remarks and demand a full and sincere apology from Mr. Abbas. The Security Council must not stand idly by in the face of this incitement and apparent denial of Israel’s right to exist,” Danon added. In a long-winded speech delivered in Ramallah, Abbas suggested that the Holocaust was not a result of antisemitism, but Jewish “social behavior, [charging] interest, and financial matters.”

In response to another incendiary remark made by Abbas, who stated in his speech that “Those who sought a Jewish state weren’t Jews,” Ambassador Danon wrote that “This claim was a dangerous attempt by the Chairman to rewrite history and claim that the Zionist movement was a result of a European conspiracy, rather than the millennia-old realization of the Jewish people’s prayers to return to our historic homeland in the Land of Israel.”

“For there to be true progress towards peace in our region, the Palestinians will need leaders who are committed to promoting hope and seeking a better future, rather than peddling in hate and inciting bigotry. We hope that this day comes soon,” Danon’s letter concluded.

Abbas’ remarks made on April 30 swiftly engendered repudiations from the US Jewish community, who said the speech revealed the Arab leader’s true antisemitic sentiments. “Laden with ahistorical and pseudo-academic assertions, the Palestinian President’s latest diatribe reflects once again the depth and persistency of the anti-Semitic attitudes he harbors,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. “With public speeches like these, it is not surprising that under Abbas’ leadership, the Palestinian Authority has failed to renounce and combat Palestinian anti-Semitic incitement, including narratives that Jews are to blame for the Holocaust and other anti-Semitic persecution, and which deny or diminish the millennial Jewish presence in and connection to the Land of Israel.”

Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, sharply denounced Abbas’ so-called “history lesson” to the Palestinian National Council this week, declaring: “No leader - Arab, Western, or other - should ever question the origins of the Holocaust. The Nazi genocide, history's most shocking crime against humanity, was pure evil. And anyone who suggests otherwise should be ashamed and must apologize." The WJC President added: “Abbas’ address was nothing short of a repugnant litany of propaganda and conspiracies dripping of sheer anti-Semitic incitement and vile. We urge the international community to hear these remarks for what they are, and to denounce them in the strongest possible terms, rather than allowing itself to be lured into the Palestinian leader’s façade of intentions. This kind of anti-Semitism will encourage only further violence and hatred, not peace.”

Meanwhile, StandWithUS CEO Roz Rothstein told the Jerusalem Post that "This overtly anti-Semitic tirade by Mahmoud Abbas is yet another reminder that at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an extensive history of refusal by Palestinian leaders to accept the three millennia of continuous Jewish links to their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel.” “Peace between Israelis Palestinians will come about only when Palestinian leaders stop engaging in anti-Semitism, end their bigoted incitement to violence, stop paying terrorists for murdering Israelis, and accept the rights of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral home," the Israel education organization added. International institutions also issued stinging rebukes of Abbas, with the European Union’s External Action Service condemning the Palestinian leader for his use of “unacceptable remarks concerning the origins of the Holocaust and Israel’s legitimacy.”

“Such rhetoric will only play into the hands of those who do not want a two-state solution, which President Abbas has repeatedly advocated.”

The EEAS added: “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 trivialize the Holocaust.”

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN's Special Coordinator for the Middle East, expressed disgust and disappointment in a statement released on Wednesday, saying Abbas’ speech "repeated some of the most contemptuous anti-Semitic slurs, including the suggestion that the social behavior of Jews was the cause for the Holocaust." Mladenov continued by saying "such statements are unacceptable, deeply disturbing and do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or peace in the Middle East. Denying the historic and religious connection of the Jewish people to the land and their holy sites in Jerusalem stands in contrast to reality.

"The Holocaust did not occur in a vacuum, it was the result of thousands of years of persecution. This is why attempts to rewrite, downplay or deny it are dangerous. Leaders have an obligation to confront anti-Semitism everywhere and always, not perpetuate the conspiracy theories that fuel it.”

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