“Apparently the Holocaust-denier is still a Holocaust-denier,” Netanyahu said of Abbas’ latest anti-Semitic rant.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas for an anti-Semitic speech he delivered to the Palestinian leadership in which he alleged that the Jews’ own conduct caused anti-Semitism and that Jewish usury caused the Holocaust.
In “another anti-Semitic speech, with utmost ignorance and brazen gall, [Abbas] claimed that European Jews were persecuted and murdered not because they were Jews but because they gave loans with interest,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
“Abu Mazen [Abbas] again recited the most contemptible anti-Semitic canards,” Netanyahu charged, adding, “apparently the Holocaust-denier is still a Holocaust-denier.”
Abbas authored The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism, which claims that the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust had been exaggerated and that Zionists created “the myth” of six million murdered Jews, which he called a “fantastic lie.”
He further claimed that those Jews which were killed by the Nazis were actually the victims of a Zionist-Nazi plot aimed to fuel vengeance against Jews and to expand their mass extermination.
The book also discussed topics such as the Haavara Agreement, in which the Third Reich agreed with the Jewish Agency to facilitate Jewish emigration from Germany to British Mandate Palestine.
The book is considered classic Holocaust denial.
Netanyahu called on the international community to condemn Abbas’ “severe anti-Semitism,” declaring that “the time has come for it to pass from the world.”
Abbas’ ‘New Low’
On Tuesday, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman stated on Twitter that “[Abbas] has reached a new low in attributing the cause of massacres of Jewish people over the years to their ‘social behavior relating to interest and banks.’”
“To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don’t have peace, think again,” he added.
Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, stated in a tweet that Abbas’ remarks “must be unconditionally condemned by all.”
“They are very unfortunate, very distressing and terribly disheartening,” he said, adding that “peace cannot be built on this kind of foundation.”
He posted his remarks in Arabic as well.
Bizarre conspiracy theories
Addressing the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the PLO parliament, in Ramallah on Monday, Abbas dismissed Israel’s existence as “a colonial project intended to plant an odd body in this region [Middle East],” but then claimed he was “not saying here that Israel should be removed. Israel exists, and all I want is a state so that we can live together in peace.”
He also discussed what he alleges are the causes of 20th-century anti-Semitism in Europe, claiming that his views are based on books by Jewish writers. “The conclusion of these books is that animosity toward Jews was not because of their religion, but because of their social activities,” including money-lending, he said, parroting common anti-Semitic tropes.
Abbas touched on a number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during what he called a “history lesson,” attempting to prove that the 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel is false.
Citing Arthur Koestler’s book, The Thirteenth Tribe, which claims that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Khazars, Abbas said European Jews therefore had “no historical ties” to the Land of Israel.
He went on to say that the Holocaust was not the result of anti-Semitism, but rather of the Jews’ “social behavior, [charging] interest, and financial matters.”
Abbas further claimed that Nazi leader Adolf 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.
Holocaust denial and admiration for the Nazis is prevalent in Palestinian society.