Governments and leaders across the globe are voicing outrage over recent “horrifying” remarks concerning Jews and Adolf Hitler expressed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The comments of the long-serving Abbas — who has remained president for 18 years despite a four-year term limit — were part of a speech he delivered in which he claimed Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was not an antisemite, and that the Jews of Europe during his era were not killed due to their Jewish identity, but due to their “role in society,” including “usury.”
Abbas’ remarks to the leadership of his supposedly “moderate” Fatah party were reported on Sunday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: Hitler Fought the European Jews Because of Their Usury, Money Dealings, It Was Not about Antisemitism; Jews from Arab Countries Did Not Want to Emigrate, But Were Forced to Do So by Israel #Antisemitism @PalestinePMO pic.twitter.com/k75UmycuyM
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) September 6, 2023
According to MEMRI, Abbas insisted that claims Hitler “killed the Jews for being Jews,” and that “Europe hated the Jews because they were Jews” are “not true.”
“It was clearly explained that [the Europeans] fought [the Jews] because of their social role, and not their religion,” he declared.
Furthermore, he claimed, “several authors” wrote about the subject.
“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,” he stated.
“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.
Abbas went on to defend Hitler against the universally held view that he was “antisemitic.”
“Everybody knows that during World War I, Hitler was a sergeant [who] said he fought the Jews because they were dealing with usury and money,” he stated. “In his view, they were engaged in sabotage, and this is why he hated them.”
“We just want to make this point clear,” he added. “This was not about Semitism and antisemitism.”
In addition, Abbas argued that Eastern European Jews were not even “Semites,” and thus Hitler could not have been antisemitic — though the term “antisemite” was actually invented specifically to refer to European Jews in racial, instead of religious, terms.
In response, U.S. antisemitism envoy Deborah Lipstadt stated she is “appalled” by Abbas’ “hateful, antisemitic remarks at a recent Fatah meeting.”
“The speech maligned the Jewish people, distorted the Holocaust, and misrepresented the tragic exodus of Jews from Arab countries,” she added. “I condemn these statements and urge an immediate apology.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman replied to Lipstadt, arguing that an apology was meaningless.
“Unfortunately he has said this many times before,” he said. “No point in demanding an apology — he really believes this!”
According to Friedman, “what might work” instead, would be to “stop giving him hundreds of millions of dollars and stop treating him as a legitimate leader of his people.”
“It may not bring peace but at least it brings dignity,” he wrote.
In a statement, the foreign affairs spokesman for the EU, one of the major donors to the Palestinian Authority, offered a rare rebuke of Abbas, claiming his speech “contained false and grossly misleading remarks about Jews and anti-Semitism.”
“Such historical distortions are inflammatory, deeply offensive, can only serve to exacerbate tensions in the region and serve no-one’s interests. They play into the hands of those who do not want a two-state solution, which President Abbas has repeatedly advocated for,” the statement reads.
“Moreover, they trivialize Holocaust and thereby fuel anti-Semitism and are an insult to the millions of victims of the Holocaust and their families,” it continues.
The statement concluded by vowing that the EU “remains committed to combating antisemitism and racism in all its forms and will continue to strongly oppose any attempt to condone, justify or trivialise the Holocaust.”
Similarly, German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert called Abbas’ remarks 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,” he said.
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.
— Steffen Seibert (@GerAmbTLV) September 6, 2023
The French consulate in Jerusalem stated that France “shares the emotion aroused by the publication of a video relaying the remarks made by President Abbas on 26 August.”
“We condemn them and consider them totally unacceptable,” the statement read.
La France partage l’émotion suscitée par la publication d’une vidéo relayant les propos tenus par le président Abbas le 26 août dernier. Nous les condamnons et considérons qu’ils sont totalement inacceptables.
Déclaration complète ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/7XyNuycm5T
— France à Jérusalem 🇷 🇺 (@FranceJerusalem) September 7, 2023
Ellen Germain, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues at the U.S. Department of State, called Abbas statements “horrifying examples of #Holocaust distortion and efforts to rewrite the history of WWII and the Holocaust.”
“We must call out such lies and distortions whenever we see or hear them,” she stated. “The truth matters.”
Recent statements by PA President Abbas are horrifying examples of #Holocaust distortion and efforts to rewrite the history of WWII and the Holocaust. We must call out such lies and distortions whenever we see or hear them. The truth matters. #ProtectTheFacts https://t.co/qcJiad7hE4
— Ellen Germain (@StateSEHI) September 7, 2023
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, noted that roughly two years ago, the UN adopted a resolution he initiated to “combat Holocaust denial and distortion.”
“Yet shamefully, in two weeks, President Abbas, a man who publicly blames the Jews for the Holocaust – the ultimate form of Holocaust denial – will take the stage in the very same room this resolution was adopted,” he wrote.
“What a disgrace! Where is the outcry?! Where are the UN condemnations?! Where is the media?! The hypocrisy and double standards truly know no bounds. Abbas’ dangerous hate and lies must be condemned!” he added.
Nearly two years ago the UN adopted a resolution I initiated to combat Holocaust denial and distortion. Yet shamefully, in two weeks, President Abbas, a man who publicly blames the Jews for the Holocaust – the ultimate form of Holocaust denial – will take the stage in the very… pic.twitter.com/pbxdK2h9YL
— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) September 6, 2023
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum issued a statement “strongly” condemning Abbas’ remarks, claiming they “extend his record of distorting the Holocaust and promoting antisemitism.”
“As violent antisemitism is on the rise,” the Museum called on “all leaders and citizens” to “condemn these statements.”
Remarks from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blaming the Jews for the Holocaust extend his record of distorting the Holocaust and promoting antisemitism. As violent antisemitism is on the rise, all leaders and citizens should condemn these statements. https://t.co/e2Aspi81Nr
— US Holocaust Museum (@HolocaustMuseum) September 7, 2023
Dani Dayan, Chairman of Yad Vashem — Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, called the Palestinian Authority Chairman’s statements “not only an example of Holocaust denial & distortion, [but] they use deeply entrenched antisemitic stereotypes.”
“These reprehensible remarks must be unequivocally condemned by global leaders,” he insisted. “We can’t stay silent.”
PA Chairman’s statement is not only an example of Holocaust denial & distortion, they use deeply entrenched antisemitic stereotypes. These reprehensible remarks must be unequivocally condemned by global leaders. We can’t stay silent.
— Dani Dayan (@AmbDaniDayan) September 6, 2023
The American Jewish Committee noted that Abbas’s “doctoral dissertation blaming Jews for the Holocaust was dredged up again in his latest unhinged antisemitic rant.”
“He defended Hitler’s motivation in murdering six million Jews. Now he says Jews are responsible for all the turmoil in the Middle East,” wrote the Jewish advocacy group. “This type of ‘leadership’ only breeds violence, not progress.”
“World leaders committed to peace in that region must stop giving Abbas a free pass, and condemn his hateful rhetoric,” it added.
Palestinian president Abbas’s doctoral dissertation blaming Jews for the Holocaust was dredged up again in his latest unhinged antisemitic rant.
He defended Hitler’s motivation in murdering six million Jews.
Now he says Jews are responsible for all the turmoil in the Middle… https://t.co/Kgu6e7fTOv
— American Jewish Committee (@AJCGlobal) September 6, 2023
The Palestinian leader has a long history of Holocaust denial, dating back to his doctoral thesis, which disputed the number of Jews killed by the Nazis.
Here is a compilation of just some of the Holocaust-related comments made by Mahmoud Abbas since 2018. We’ve included mention of his ‘apologies’ where applicable. Nothing has changed since Abbas published his PhD dissertation in 1982 (“The Connection between the Nazis and the… https://t.co/UwWOKNISND pic.twitter.com/JoUNysskQE
— The Israel Files (@theisraelfiles) September 7, 2023
He has previously apologized for remarks similar to his most recent ones.
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