There was an uproar of criticism of Mahmoud Abbas’ opening speech to the Palestine National Council’s 23rd Session on 30 April, when he veered into an unscripted “history lesson”, some of it incomprehensible, about, among other things, the pressures on Jews in Europe that, he said, were designed to encourage their immigration to Palestine, where “Hitler wanted to have a supportive population”.
Abbas’ remarks were also criticized as “anti-Semitic”.
The New York Times Editorial Board wrote on May 2 that: “Feeding reprehensible anti-Semitic myths and conspiracy theories in a speech on Monday, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner if the Palestinians and Israelis ever again have the nerve to try negotiations”.
Speaking to the Palestinian legislative body, Mr. Abbas, 82, said the mass murder of European Jews in the Holocaust was the result of the victims’ financial activities, not their religious identity and anti-Semitism. “So the Jewish question that was widespread throughout Europe was not against their religion, but against their social function, which relates to usury (unscrupulous money lending) and banking and such,” he said, according to the BBC…
(Abbas) was valued by the West as Mr. Arafat’s successor, and for years he has deployed Palestinian forces to help Israelis maintain security in the West Bank. But pressures, some of his own making and many others caused by Israel, which has ultimate control over the West Bank, are building. Mr. Abbas, who oversees a governing system plagued by corruption and dysfunction, has lost support among the Palestinian people.
After the close of the PNC Session, Abbas issued a statement of apology published by the Palestinian news agency WAFA:
President Mahmoud Abbas stated on Friday that “if people were offended by my statement in front of the PNC, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them. I would like to assure everyone that it was not my intention to do so, and to reiterate my full respect for the Jewish faith, as well as other monotheistic faiths.”
He continued, “I would also like to reiterate our long held condemnation of the Holocaust, as the most heinous crime in history, and express our sympathy with its victims.”
“Likewise, we condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms, and confirm our commitment to the two-state solution, and to live side by side in peace and security.”
Abbas been talking like this at Palestinian meetings for years, and nobody (except Israelis) paid very much attention until Donald Trump, more openly aligned with Israel than any other President, took office in January 2017.
In this PNC Session, Abbas again used the same curse that got him into trouble after the PLO Central Council meeting in January, again saying “yikhrab beitak” — but this time not to Trump, but to the US Congress for passing a resolution calling the PLO a “terrorist organization”.
“Abbas is not going to change”, Amira Hass wrote in Haaretz. He “does not listen to criticism and does not consult others – or, he chooses advisers who will not tell him anything he does not want to hear. He also chooses to be updated only on what suits him”. https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-despite-scent-of-anti-semitism-abbas-still-supports-two-states-1.6050209