US, EU slam PA chief Mahmoud Abbas' 'anti-semitic' remarks
The US and EU on Thursday criticised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's recent remarks about the Holocaust and antisemitism.
In a statement, the EU's diplomatic service said 87-year-old Abbas' remarks, made in late August to a meeting of his Fatah movement's Revolutionary Council, were "false and grossly misleading".
Deborah Lipstadt, US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, called for an immediate apology for what she called Abbas' "hateful, antisemitic remarks".
In a speech late last month, Abbas stated that "they say Hitler killed the Jews for being Jews, and that Europe hated the Jews because they were Jewish. Not true".
"It was clearly explained that [the Europeans] fought [Jews] because of their social role, and not their religion," further stating that this role "had to do with usury, money, and so on and so forth."
He added that "in his [Hitler's] view, they were engaged in sabotage and this is why he hated them. We just want to make this point clear. This was not about Semitism and antisemitism".
In the speech, widely shared on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, Abbas also stated that Ashkenazi Jews were not Semites, claiming that they emerged from "a Tatar kingdom that converted to Judaism".
Arab American Institute founder James Zogby slammed Abbas' remarks, saying: "It's an embarrassment and it harms Palestinians suffering under oppressive Apartheid. There are brilliant principled Palestinians who should be called to lead."
Journalist Mehdi Hassan commented: "Abbas should have resigned years ago. He has no electoral legitimacy. And he says disgraceful, ignorant, antisemitic stuff."
Abbas's remarks are not the first time he has made inflammatory comments. In 2018 he stated that hatred against Jews in Europe was because of their social position and their financial role in Europe.
Those comments, which he apologised for, were also widely condemned internationally.