Abbas apologizes for antisemitic speech following widespread condemnations

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas expressed remorse on Friday to anyone offended by a statement he made earlier this week, in which he said Jews were massacred in Europe for their “social role related to usury and banks.” 


“If people were offended by my statement in front of the PNC, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them. I would like to assure everyone that it was not my intention to do so, and to reiterate my full respect for the Jewish faith, as well as other monotheistic faiths,” Abbas said in a statement, referring to the Palestinian National Council, a top Palestine Liberation Organization body. 


Abbas issued the statement after he was widely condemned for his remarks about his perspective of European Jewish history by the European Union’s foreign service, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, several Jewish organizations, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov and several others.


Abbas also stated the holocaust is the “most heinous crime in history” and denounced antisemitism.


“I would also like to reiterate our long held condemnation of the Holocaust, as the most heinous crime in history, and express our sympathy with its victims…Likewise, we condemn antisemitism in all its forms, and confirm our commitment to the two- state solution, and to live side by side in peace and security,” the PA president said. 


Many of the groups that condemned Abbas for his statements on his take of European Jewish history accused him of making “antisemitic” remarks. 

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