If Israel – and the rest of the world – needed any more proof that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is unfit to lead the Palestinian Authority, and is certainly not a partner in any kind of effort toward a two-state solution, then his statements, which came to light on Wednesday, should put any doubt to rest.
Speaking last month at his Fatah party’s conference, Abbas expanded on a number of antisemitic claims that he has made previously, including that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jews slaughtered because of their “social role” as moneylenders, not because of his enmity toward Jews and Judaism.
“They say that Hitler killed the Jews because they were Jews and that Europe hated the Jews because they were Jews. Not true. It was clearly explained that [the Europeans] fought [the Jews] because of their social role, and not their religion,” Abbas said, according to a translation of his speech by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which was published on Wednesday.
“Several authors wrote about this. Even Karl Marx said this was not true. He said that the enmity was not directed at Judaism as a religion but to Judaism for its social role. The [Europeans] fought against these people because of their role in society, which had to do with usury, money, and so on and so forth,” he added, delving further into that fallacy.
“Everybody knows that during World War I, Hitler was a sergeant. He said that he fought the Jews because they were dealing with usury and money. In his view, they were engaged in sabotage, and this is why he hated them… This was not about semitism and antisemitism.”
He also said that Ashkenazi Jews are not descended from ancient Israelites but rather from an ancient Turkish people known as the Khazars, who – according to a discredited theory – converted to Judaism en masse.
“The truth that we should clarify to the world is that European Jews are not Semites,” Abbas said “They have nothing to do with Semitism. So when we hear them talk about Semitism and antisemitism, the Ashkenazi Jews, at least, are not Semites.”
The Palestinians deserve to hear the historical truth
Steffen Seibert, the German ambassador to Israel, was quick to respond to Abbas’s outrageous claims.
“The recent statement of President Abbas on Jews and the Holocaust is an insult to the memory of millions of murdered men, women, and children. The Palestinians deserve to hear the historical truth from their leader, not such distortions,” Seibert tweeted.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, also rightfully slammed Abbas’s statements, tweeting that “this is the true face of Palestinian leadership. Just as Abbas blames the Jews for the Holocaust, he also blames the Jews for all the Middle East’s issues. While he spreads this pure antisemitism, he also pays Palestinian terrorists for murdering Israelis and publicly commends Palestinian terrorism.”
“The world must wake up and hold Abbas and his Palestinian Authority accountable for the hatred they spew and the ensuing bloodshed it causes. There must be zero tolerance for Palestinian incitement and terror,” Erdan added.
Abbas’s statements were unfortunately nothing new. In May, he accused Israel of lying like Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. And last year, sitting alongside Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Germany at a press conference, he accused Israel of perpetrating “50 holocausts,” drawing the German leader’s condemnation.
His views were developed as a young man when he wrote a lie-riddled doctoral thesis with the title, “The Relationship Between Zionists and Nazis.”
Given his detachment from reality on this subject and his advanced age, how can Abbas possibly be considered a clear-headed thinker or leader when it comes to the critical issues that fuel the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Abbas has been in power since 2005 and has increasingly consolidated his control of the PA.
In 2018, he dissolved the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), the PA’s legislature, and during the last two decades, he has instituted reforms that have weakened the judiciary in a successful campaign to take single-handed control of the Palestinian political system.
The Palestinian people deserve better leadership that will bring them into the future, instead of dwelling on the lies and distortions of the past, in which Abbas is clearly still living.