Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has revoked the prestigious Medal of the City of Paris awarded to Mahmoud Abbas in 2015, according to an open letter she wrote to the Palestinian Authority president.
In the letter, obtained by Israeli and French media, Hidalgo wrote that she is revoking Abbas’s medal, known in French as La médaille Grand Vermeil de Paris, due to his recent comments in which he expressed a “clear desire to deny the genocide to which the Jewish populations of Europe were victims at the hands of the Nazi regime.”
Les propos antisémites tenus par Mahmoud Abbas sont intolérables. Je les condamne avec la plus grande fermeté. Mes pensées et mon soutien vont à la communauté juive à Paris, comme partout dans le monde, alors qu’elle s’apprête à célébrer la nouvelle année.— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) September 6, 2023
Abbas claimed that Ashkenazi Jews stem from Europe, not the Middle East, and were murdered during the Holocaust due to hatred against them for their historic role as money lenders.
Paris mayor: Abbas' antisemitic comments contrary to our values
According to Hidalgo, Abbas’s comments “are contrary to our universal values and the historical truth of the Holocaust, so you can no longer claim... the highest distinction of Paris.”
“I condemn your comments in the strongest possible terms; no cause can justify revisionism and negationism. As you know, the Holocaust is part of the history of Paris,” she wrote to Abbas on Thursday.
“In our city, during World War II, tens of thousands of children, women and men of the Jewish faith were rounded up, deported and then exterminated in death camps.”
Hidalgo did stress, however, that Paris remains a “partner” of Bethlehem, Jericho, and Jenin, and that cooperation between the French capital and Palestinian cities, which “contributes to the peace process in the Middle East” will continue.
Abbas received the medal, which also made him an honorary citizen of the city in 2015 in “recognition of his actions towards finding peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” the city of Paris said at the time.