The United States and the European Union (EU) condemned on Thursday the statements of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbasabout the persecution of the Jews in World War II and antisemitism.
In a statement, the EU diplomatic service said that the statements by Abbas, 87, made at the end of August at a meeting of the Revolutionary Council of his Al Fatah movement, They were “false and highly misleading.”
Deborah Lipstadtthe US special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, called for an immediate apology for what she called “hateful and anti-Semitic comments” by Abbas.
In his statements, the Palestinian president said that Jews were targeted by Nazi Germany because of their “social role” and not because of their religion.
“This has been explained by many Jewish authors. When they said that Hitler killed Jews because they were Jews, and that Europe hates Jews because they were Jews, no. It was clearly explained that they fought (against the Jews) for their social role and not for their religion,” Abbas said.
The Palestinian president has frequently drawn the ire of various countries with his comments on the Holocaustin which some 6 million Jews were killed, as well as members of groups such as the Roma community, people with disabilities and those belonging to sexual and gender minorities.
In a statement, the foreign affairs spokesman for the EU, a major donor to the Palestinian Authority, called the comments an “insult to the millions of Holocaust victims and their families.”
“Such historical distortions are incendiary, deeply offensive, can only serve to exacerbate tensions in the region and serve no one’s interests,” he said. And he added: “They play into the hands of those who do not want a two-state solution, which President Abbas has repeatedly advocated for.”
In addition, he assured that “they trivialize the Holocaust and with this they feed anti-Semitism and are an insult to the millions of victims of the Holocaust and their families.”
Finally, he noted that the EU “remains committed to combating anti-Semitism and racism in all its forms and will continue to firmly oppose any attempt to condone, justify or trivialize the Holocaust.”
The Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-government in territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war and where the Palestinians seek to establish an independent state.
Abbas’s remarks were also condemned by the German ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibertwho stated in a post on the X messaging platform: “The Palestinians deserve to hear the historical truth from their leader, not such distortions.”
During a visit to Berlin last year, Abbas was reprimanded by the German chancellor, Olaf Schölzafter accusing Israel of committing “50 Holocausts” in response to a question about the 50th anniversary of the attack on the Israeli team at the 1972 Munich Olympics by Palestinian militants.
During his two decades in power, Abbas has rejected repeated calls by Palestinians for him to step down.
(With information from Reuters)