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Mahmoud Abbas draws criticism on his ’50 Holocausts’ speech

Mahmoud Abbas draws criticism on his ’50 Holocausts’ speech

Mahmoud Abbas draws criticism on his ’50 Holocausts’ speech

Mahmoud Abbas draws criticism on his ’50 Holocausts’ speech

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  • Mahmoud Abbas claims that Israel committed “50 Holocausts” against Palestinians.
  • Comments sparked outrage from international leaders and a social media firestorm.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called them “despicable and false”.
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Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, touched a raw chord on Tuesday when he claimed that Israel had committed “50 Holocausts” against the Palestinian people. This outraged international leaders and set off a social media firestorm.

“From 1947 to the present day, Israel has committed 50 massacres in Palestinian villages and cities,” Abbas said in Arabic, standing next to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a news conference in Berlin. “50 massacres, 50 Holocausts, and until today, and every day there are casualties killed by the Israeli military.”

A journalist had asked Abbas if he would offer an apology for the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, which saw 11 Israeli athletes and coaches, as well as one West German policeman, killed after being taken hostage by Palestinian gunmen who were then associated with Abbas’ Fatah party.

The Munich Attack’s 50th anniversary falls this September.

When Abbas appeared on stage, Scholz did not immediately respond, but subsequently tweeted,,”I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud #Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.”

Steffen Seibert, the German ambassador to Israel, tweeted that “What President #Abbas said in Berlin about “50 holocausts” is wrong and unacceptable. Germany will never stand for any attempt to deny the singular dimension of the crimes of the Holocaust.”

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Mahmoud Abbas’ claim that Israel committed “50 Holocausts” while on German soil was extensively denounced by Israeli politicians as well. Prime Minister Yair Lapid said,  “Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of having committed ’50 Holocausts’ while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie.”

“Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, including one and a half million Jewish children. History will never forgive him,” Lapid tweeted.

Benny Gantz, the Israeli defence minister, called Abbas’ statements “despicable and false.” Gantz argued that “his assertion is an attempt to twist and rewrite history.”

Other international figures denounced the remarks. They were deemed “unacceptable” by Ambassador Deborah E. Lipstadt, Special Envoy for the US State Department to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, who also noted that “Holocaust exaggeration can have dangerous implications and promotes antisemitism.”

On Wednesday, Abbas’ team attempted to clarify his remarks. According to a statement from his office, “President Mahmoud Abbas confirms that the Holocaust is the most horrific crime that has occurred in modern human history.”

It went on to say that his response “was not intended to minimise the particular of the Holocaust, which was committed in the last century and is strongly condemned.

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The statement concluded, “What is meant by the crimes that… Abbas talked of are the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people by Israeli troops since the Nakba, crimes that have not stopped to this day. This is in reference to the creation of Israel in 1948, which the Palestinians refer to as “the catastrophe” or “al-Nakba” since more than 700,000 Palestinians were either driven from their homes or fled them as a result of the Arab-Israeli war that followed.

Abbas has previously said things that have been labelled as antisemitic. According to Reuters, Abbas completed a doctoral thesis in the Soviet Union in the 1980s alleging a covert alliance between Nazis and the first proponents of a Jewish state. In 2018, when he said that Jews in Europe had suffered from the 11th century “not because of their faith, [but] it was because of their social vocation,” his remarks reappeared as a problem.

In his inaugural remarks to the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the de facto legislature for the Palestine Liberation Organization, he stated: “So the Jewish issue that had spread against the Jews across Europe was not because of their religion, it was because of usury and banks.”

Abbas later apologised for his remarks, claiming that he had condemned racism and had referred to the Holocaust as the “most terrible crime in history” in response to widespread outcry.

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