Germany condemned remarks on the Holocaust made by President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas. In a televised speech on Monday, Abbas claimed that the Holocaust was not caused by antisemitism, but by Jews’ “social role related to usury and banks.” The Palestinian Authority chief said he was referring to the writings of Karl Marx and other authors.
“Germany bears the responsibility for the most cruel crime in human history,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass told the German newspaper DIE WELT. “We strictly oppose any relativization of the Holocaust,” Maas tweeted on Wednesday. “Germany alone bears responsibility for the most atrocious crime in human history. The memory thereof is a warning and obliges us to confront every form of antisemitism in the world.”
“Palestinian President Abbas blames Jewish people for the Holocaust in his speech.” wrote the German newspaper FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG. “This was not his first antisemitic outrage.” In a 2016 address to the EU parliament, Abbas accused Jewish rabbis of calling for the Israeli government to poison water used by Palestinians, a statement he later retracted, calling it ‘baseless.’
“Abbas is trying to make headlines with these provocations. This, however, isn’t going to help him” commented Berlin-based newspaper DIE TAGESZEITUNG (TAZ). “Tired and defeated, the President struggles for attention. He uses every means available, no matter how counter-productive or far-fetched.”
German weekly DER SPIEGEL summarized the political reaction from Berlin to the Abbas’s latest antisemitic remarks:
Several leading politicians tweeted in response to remarks made by Abbas. [Center-Right] FDP’s foreign policy expert and deputy head of the party’s parliamentary group, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff wrote, that “one doesn’t only hears such perfidious nonsense in the Arab world [in general], but also from the educated leadership there. It is incomprehensible but “not new, unfortunately.”
Some were not satisfied with the statement of the Foreign Minister Mass. Green Party’s parliamentary spokesperson for budgetary affairs, Sven Kindler, urged the federal government to take concrete actions and pointed to the money that flows from Germany and European budgetary resources to the Palestinian territories. [Translation by author]
Contrary to German daily TAZ’s assumption that Abbas’s latest antisemitic remarks are somehow an act of political desperation, antisemitism is central to the ideology that he has espoused throughout his long career. As a young cadre of the Palestinian terrorist outfit PLO, he wrote a doctoral thesis at Moscow University drawing on conspiracy theories to deny the Holocaust. Around the same time, he also began working for the Russian spy agency KGB as an informant, soviet-era documents would later reveal.
[Cover image via YouTube]
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