The denial of the Jews’ 3,000-year-old history in the Holy Land and the distortion of the Holocaust by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas this week were not new, reflecting sentiment regularly expressed in Palestinian media and education.
But when the the New York Times’ editorial board responds by calling for the ouster of Abbas, “something fundamental is shifting,” concluded an analysis published by the Times of Israel.
The New York Times board, noting Abbas told the Palestinian National Council on Monday that the genocide of Jews during the Holocaust was due to their “social behavior,” called it “a new low.”
The editorial was titled “Let Abbas’s vile words be his last as Palestinian leader.”
WND reported the man on whom Israel and the United States have depended to forge an agreement in which two states would live side-by-side in peace declared Monday that the “social behavior” of Jews, including money lending, was the true cause of the Holocaust. In a rare session of the Palestinian National Council, Abbas launched into a rambling “history lesson” aimed at disproving the Jewish connection to the land of Israel. He insisted the Ashkenazi Jews of Europe are not the descendants of the ancient Israelites and, therefore, have no “historical ties” to Israel. Abbas wrote a doctoral dissertation in 1982 while studying in the Soviet Union claiming the death toll of 6 million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust was exaggerated.
Abbas’ party, Fatah, condemned Israel for “distorting” the Palestinian leader’s remarks Monday, saying his words were “taken out of context.”
Condemnations of Abbas came not only from Germany, France, Britain, Canada and Lithuania, but also from more unlikely quarters, the Times of Israel observed, including the United Nations’ Middle East envoy, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, the main pro-Palestinian lobby group in Germany.
Even the head of UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency that Israel is leaving because of its notorious anti-Israel bias, condemned Abbas’ remarks.
In addition, liberal Jewish groups apt to defend Abbas issued strong statements of condemnation.
The lobbyist group J Street, for example, said the speech “featured absurd anti-Semitic tropes and deeply offensive comments on the history of the Jewish people and Israel.”
Americans for Peace Now called the Palestinian leader’s comments “vile.”
The Israel Policy Forum admitted Abbas wasn’t merely having a bad day.
“It is impossible to view Abbas as a viable negotiating partner when he continues to deny the right of the Jewish people to their own national movement and when he continues to insist that the basic recognition of a Jewish homeland is the original sin of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the group said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, according to a readout provided by his office, that the remarks “reveal the true reason why there is no peace.”
Palestinians ‘must come to terms’ with facts
The Times of Israel’s diplomatic correspondent Rafael Ahren wrote that the negative response to Abbas’s remarks “shows that the argument that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not merely a dispute over real estate that could be solved easily if only Israel were willing to make the required territorial concessions is gaining traction.”
“Based on the many statements issued, many international players are internalizing that for peace to prevail, the Palestinians must come to terms with the fact that Jews have millennia of history in this land and a right to sovereignty here that has nothing to do with the Holocaust,” Ahren said.
When The New York Times editorializes that Abbas, by ‘feeding reprehensible anti-Semitic myths and conspiracy theories’ has now ‘shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner,’ something fundamental has patently begun to shift,” he wrote.
In January, Ahren pointed out, the EU refused to condemn Abbas for saying Israel was “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism.”
But on Wednesday the EU denounced Abbas’ “unacceptable remarks concerning the origins of the Holocaust and Israel’s legitimacy.”
The U.S. ambassador to Israel said in a tweet Tuesday: “To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don’t have peace, think again.”
The French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy criticized the “dreadful silence in the press,” noting “it took 48 hours before a reaction to these repugnant words.”
Jordan Schachtel, an analyst for Conservative Review, tweeted that Abbas “is a symptom of the problem that is the Palestinian society at large.”
“It is easy to dismiss the problem and attach it to one man, but the reality on the ground tells us that the Palestinians are more radicalized than ever before,” he wrote.
Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, said Abbas’ insistence that there is no Jewish claim to the state of Israel “is historically inaccurate and morally reprehensible.”
“With these comments, Mr Abbas has shown his truly colors and, in doing so, can no longer claim to be a true advocate for peace,” Rosen said.
“By continuing to incite violence and Holocaust denial and support terrorism and spew anti-Semitism, the Palestinian leadership consistently has shown it is not interested in positioning itself as a legitimate partner for peace or in achieving lasting regional stability.”
Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, addressed Abbas’ remarks with some detail, noting that to substantiate his claim that the Holocaust was due to the “social behavior” of Jews who dealt in loans and banking, he relied on quotes from Karl Marx, Josef Stalin and others.
“The Holocaust resulted from the Nazi belief that Jewish existence must be totally eliminated. In May 1941, as the Holocaust was taking place, Hitler made clear to the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, that once German forces had broken through from the southern Caucasus region into the Middle East, ‘Germany’s goal will be the extermination of the Jews who reside in Arab territories under British rule’ (as noted in the meeting’s minutes),” the statement said.
“The historical facts of the Holocaust are available to Abbas, and other speakers of Arabic around the world, on Yad Vashem’s website.”
Addressing a separate matter, 14 members of Congress have sent a letter to the new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, urging lawmakers to immediately suspend all aid to the Palestinian Authority after its budget for 2018 included payments to terrorists and the families of so-called “martyrs.”
Official Holocaust denial
Official Palestinian Authority TV often broadcasts Holocaust denial and revisionism.
Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch found last month that PA TV broadcasts edited out photographs of American soldiers liberating concentration camps and images of corpses in striped concentration camp uniforms, presenting photos of the remaining dead bodies as “Arab victims of Jews in 1948.”
PA TV also claimed that the Jewish fighters burned Arabs in ovens in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
MEMRI said these “lies and attempts to appropriate the Jewish people’s suffering in the Holocaust demean the historical record.”
“They also obscure an important fact: Palestinian Arab leaders, such as Haj Amin al-Husseini, actively colluded with Hitler and sought the destruction of worldwide Jewry.” The Middle East media watchdog CAMERA noted that in a Dec. 27, 2017, Washington Jewish Week op-ed, Abbas called Husseini “a pioneer.”
A Palestinian editorial last month claimed that the West created Israel partly as revenge for the losses it suffered during the Crusades.
In a speech in January, Abbas said the formation of Israel was a “colonial project” of the Europeans to safeguard European interests “that has nothing to do with Judaism.” European Jews during the Holocaust, the Palestinian leader said, chose to undergo “murder and slaughter” over emigration to British-held Palestine.
In contrast, on Monday, Abbas claimed that Hitler facilitated the immigration of Jews to Israel by reaching a deal with the Anglo-Palestine Bank under which Jews who moved to the British Mandate of Palestine could transfer all their assets there through the bank.
Abbas also indicated he had no interest in cooperating with the U.S. on a peace plan, warning the Palestinian National Council he plans to take unspecified “tough steps” soon against Israel and the United States, the Times of Israel reported.
He said the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is “completely unacceptable.”
“We will not accept this deal, and we will not accept the U.S. as the sole broker.”