Mahmoud Abbas is a “moderate” by Palestinian political standards.
He fools the world into thinking the dispute with the Jews is over a little land here, a little land there. In fact, Abbas is steeped in anti-Jewish paranoia and conspiracy theories.
His Ph.D. thesis was to blame Zionists for the Holocaust:
For the past 11 years Abbas has been the chairman of the PA, yet nobody bothered to check his ideology as reflected in this book – The Other Face: The Secret Contacts Between Nazism and Zionism (1984), Dar Ibn Rashid, Amman – based on Abbas’s PhD thesis, written while he was a student in the Soviet Union. (Recently it was reported that Abbas was a KGB agent and his thesis was probably written at the direct order of his Soviet commanders, to demonize Israel and the Jewish people.)
There has been a deliberate institutional silence regarding this issue. No one dared expose Abbas’ thesis, which basically denies the Holocaust. No one wanted to destroy Abbas’s “peaceful” image. Yad Vashem has never published a single article about Abbas’s thesis or book. Other academic institutions simply ignore the issue – which proves that there is no real academic freedom in Israel.
In his book Abbas claims that the Holocaust was a Zionist-Nazi plot, and indicts the Zionist movement and its leaders such as David Ben-Gurion as “fundamental partners” in the destruction of European Jewry. Abbas also wrote that the Zionists thought anything that would cause Jews to immigrate was justified, including antisemitism and cooperation with Hitler.
(This claim has come back into vogue with anti-Israel activists.)
He regularly uses Islamist supremacist terminology in referring to Jews, such as his claim that “filthy” Jewish feet should not be allowed on the Temple Mount:
And his call for Palestinians to become martyrs against the Jews:
Abbas nonetheless puts on a “moderate” show. He’s moderate by comparison to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Iran, but everything is relative.
Yesterday Abbas gave a speech in which the mask came off once and for all, and his anti-Semitic true self was visible for all the world to see.
The ostensible reason for the speech was to attack Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel:
Abbas sharply escalated his rhetoric in a speech on Sunday, lashing out at Trump over recent policy moves, such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Abbas also slammed Trump’s recent Twitter comment threatening to cut American aid and alleging the Palestinians are no longer willing to negotiate a peace deal with Israel.
“Since when did we reject negotiations?” Abbas told members of the Palestinian Central Council, a key decision-making body. “Shame,” Abbas said, addressing Trump.
To laughter from the crowd, Abbas then added the phrase “Yekhreb Beitak,” literally translated as “may your house be demolished.”
In colloquial Palestinian Arabic, the phrase can have different connotations, from a harsh to a casual insult, but its use in a widely watched speech seemed jarring.
But the heart of the speech was denial of Jewish history, calling Israel a “colonial project” unrelated to Jewish history. The Times of Israel reports:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday night implied European Jews during the Holocaust chose to undergo “murder and slaughter” over emigration to British-held Palestine, and alleged that the State of Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion imported Jews from Yemen and Iraq to the country against their will.
The Palestinian leader further asserted that the State of Israel was formed as “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism” to safeguard European interests.
The PA leader delivered a mini-lecture on his understanding of the history of Zionism on Sunday, claiming the Jewish state deliberately stirred trouble in Arab countries in order to forcibly move Middle Eastern Jews into the sparsely populated nascent state.
Abbas, in his address, made no mention of the Jews’ historic presence and periods of sovereignty in the holy land. Israel is the only place where the Jews have ever been sovereign or sought sovereignty.
None of this really is surprising. The Arab narrative against Israel from the beginning has been phrased in highly religious terms. As historian Benny Morris discovered when researching the 1948 war against the new Jewish state:
What I discovered in the documentation relating to the war, at least from the Arab side, was that the war had a religious character, that the central element in the war was an imperative to launch jihad. There were other imperatives of course, political and others—but the most important from the enemy’s perspective was the element of the infidels who had the nerve to take control over sacred Muslim lands and the need to uproot them from there. The decisive majority in the Arab world saw the war first and foremost as a holy war, but until today historians have not examined the documentation that proves this. In my view, they have also ignored Arab rhetoric of the day, which universally included religious hatred against the Jews, because they thought the Arabs adopted this as normal speech that did not emanate from deep mental resources. They thought this was something superficial, that everyone talked like this. But I am positive the Arab spokesmen in 1948 did go beyond this and clearly and explicitly talked about jihad. [emphasis added]
Abbas claim that Jews from Arab countries were forced by Zionists to flee to Israel is fiction. In fact, Jews were persecuted, killed and expelled – the Jews from Arab countries who fled to Israel (and now make up roughly half of Israel’s Jewish population together with their descendants) were rescued. We’ve covered this many times, including recently in Jewish Refugee Day: Recognizing the 850,000 Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Lands.
The rhetoric we hear coming from Abbas is par for the course in the anti-Israel movement, where Israel regularly is derided as a “settler colonial project.” It’s no wonder that so much Palestinian effort goes into getting UNESCO to disregard Jewish history, particularly in Jerusalem.
What’s the difference between the position of Hamas and Abbas? Not much, if anything. Hamas was upset only that its senior leadership couldn’t attend Abbas’ speech because it was held in Ramallah:
According to Haaretz, Hamas spokesman Fauzi Barhum criticized the decision to convene the gathering in Ramallah, saying that it should have been held in a different country to ensure the participation of senior representatives from all the factions.
“We are here, we are staying, we won’t make the same mistakes of the past, we will not commit the mistakes of 1948, nor the mistakes of 1967. We are staying here, occupation, settlements, we are staying here, no matter what. We will not leave our country. This is our country,” Abbas said.
Abbas has done the unthinkable – uniting Israel left and right:
Labor party leader Avi Gabbay slams Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech, in which he said Israel is a “colonial project.”
“Abu Mazen’s words are grave and false and also included anti-Semitic fabrications,” says Gabbay, using Abbas’ Arabic nickname.
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