January 19, 2018 — New York
AJC is urging the foreign ministers of European Union member states to publicly denounce Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s inflammatory statements about Israel when the EU Foreign Affairs Council meets with him on Monday, and to insist that he retract them.
“Not for the first time, President Abbas twisted the historical truth and espoused wild antisemitic conspiracy theories that were an assault on the very notion of peace, coexistence and basic human decency,” wrote AJC CEO David Harris in letters to the foreign ministers, referring to the speech Abbas delivered to the Palestinian Central Council in Ramallah.
The AJC letter stresses that particularly now, as antisemitic rhetoric and actions are surging in Europe, the EU foreign ministers have a duty to reprimand Abbas for spewing such lies as that Jews did not want to leave Europe during the Holocaust, that the State of Israel was a colonialist project having “nothing to do with Judaism,” and that Jews have no legitimate link to any part of Israeli territory.
“Denying, as he has done so often before, the 3,000 –year historical connection between the Jewish people and the land,” wrote Harris, “raises serious questions about the Palestinian leader’s basic readiness for peace, compromise and coexistence.”
AJC has long advocated for a negotiated two-state solution. “In the interest of peace, we hope that you will publicly urge President Abbas to correct his lies and conspiracy theories, which also involve wild accusations against Europe,” wrote Harris. In his speech Sunday, Abbas also declared that “Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region. They asked Holland, which had the world’s largest fleet, to move the Jews.”
Noting that the meeting with Abbas will take place only a few days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day is officially commemorated in Brussels—the EU capital—the AJC letter calls on the foreign ministers to “publicly condemn his hurtful Holocaust revisionism and attack on the peace process.”
The letter also points out that the last time President Abbas visited Brussels, some 18 months ago, “his vile words, spoken in the heart of Europe, were unfortunately left unchallenged.”
In his 2016 address to the European Parliament, Abbas revived centuries-old antisemitic blood libels, falsely accusing rabbis of calling on the Israeli government to “poison the water of the Palestinians.” Similar antisemitic lies of “Jews poisoning wells” led to mass killings of European Jews in medieval times.