Palestinian Leader Abbas, begs Jews for forgiveness

Abbas draws condemnation for 'antisemitic tropes' in speech

Mahmoud Abbas' reprehensible anti-Semitic comments deserve unequivocal condemnation

Abbas, 82, made the comments during a wide-ranging speech on Monday in Ramallah, West Bank, which also drew condemnation from the USA and the EU.

Kuwait, a non-permanent council member that represents the Arab Group of countries, objected to the draft statement, arguing that Abbas had already apologized and that it was one-sided, diplomats said. "I want to make it clear that it wasn't my intention and say that I have the utmost respect for the Jewish faith, as I do for other monotheistic religions".

But Abbas, 82, today condemned anti-Semitism and called the Holocaust the "most heinous crime in history" in a statement issued by his office in Ramallah. The New York Times called for Abbas's resignation in an editorial Wednesday.

Mr Abbas and Palestinian officials have refused to cooperate with the administration of US President Donald Trump, who they perceive to be the most pro-Israeli American leader since its creation in 1948.

"It would appear that, once a Holocaust denier, always a Holocaust denier", Netanyahu said on Twitter.

This "anti-Jewish [sentiment] was not because of their religion", he said, "but because of their function in society, which had to do with usury, banks, and so on".

The incendiary content of Abbas's speech, which was reported by The Times of Israel late Monday night, was not included in the official Palestinian news agency's English press release about his address or in most initial global coverage of it.

Monday's comments sparked global anger, with the United States, United Nations, European Union and others criticising them, as well as Israeli leaders.

"It was not due to their religion", he said, "but because of [the practice of] lending money [at interest] and banking".

Global leaders, Jewish groups and Israeli leaders widely accused Abbas of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

Citing Arthur Koestler's book, The Thirteenth Tribe, which claims that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Khazars, Abbas said European Jews therefore had "no historical ties" to the Land of Israel.

'To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don't have peace, think again, ' he added.

The 23 Palestinian National Council (PNC) resumed on Thursday its fourth day of deliberations and discussions with a focus on holding elections for the 18-person Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the 100-person Palestinian Central Council, the second decision-making body after the PNC. "Apparently the Holocaust denier is still a Holocaust denier".

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