US Ambassador to Israel decries Abbas speech as 'a new low'

Ambassador David M. Friedman, Trump's envoy Jason Greenblatt and others responded sharply to Mahmoud Abbas's Monday speech on Israel and the Jews.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's antisemitic speech from April 30, 2018. (Reuters)
The United States Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman responded sharply to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's caustic speech delivered to a meeting of the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah on Monday.
Abbas claimed that European Jews had been massacred over the centuries because of their "social behavior related to interests and banks," a common antisemitic trope, and repeated the widely disavowed theory that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from the medieval Khazar converts to Judaism, and not ancient Hebrews, among other statements.
Writing on Twitter, Friedman castigated Abbas's speech as a "new low," and said his remarks show that Israel is not responsible for the continued failure of American-led efforts to secure a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump's special envoy to the peace process, also condemned the speech.
Israeli politicians reacted strongly as well.
"The Holocaust-denying Abu Mazen revealed in Arabic what he hides in English: that he is the head of those inciting against the existence of the Jewish State in the Land of Israel," said Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.
"Someone who continually claims that the Jewish State is a colonialist enterprise, spreads hatred and works to prevent peace in the Middle East can certainly not be a partner for peace, but instead a force that makes it more unattainable," she said.
"Instead of distorting history, it would be better for Abu Mazen to learn its lessons and, for a change, to try to influence it for the better," said Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuli.
"His ugly attempts to explain and justify the European Holocaust because of Jews' avarice are truly an updated, nasty, and poisonous version of the antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion," Shmuli said.