Palestinian figures slam Abbas for Holocaust outburst
Agencies | Ramallah
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
More than 200 Palestinian figures have condemned president Mahmud Abbas for his "reprehensible" comments claiming Jews were murdered in the Holocaust because of their "social role" and not their religion.
The public figures said they "unequivocally condemn the morally and politically reprehensible comments" by Abbas, in a letter published on Sunday.
The signatories include US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, historian Rashid Khalidi and legal scholar Noura Erakat
"We adamantly reject any attempt to diminish, misrepresent or justify anti-Semitism, Nazi crimes against humanity or historical revisionism vis-a-vis the Holocaust," they wrote.
The letter follows the surfacing of a video last week in which the Palestinian president said Nazis killed millions of Jews "because of usury and money" rather than anti-Semitism.
The remarks made to senior members of his Fatah party in the seat of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah were swiftly condemned by the European Union and Germany as well as Israel.
One of the signatories, businessman Sam Bahour, said Abbas "doesn't legitimately represent us".
"It's not his role to give history lessons," Bahour told AFP on Wednesday, calling the president's remarks "inappropriate".
But Fatah leapt to the defence of its leader, describing the letter as a "statement of shame" in comments published by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa on Tuesday.
The PLO's legislative arm, the Palestinian National Council, described the letter as "political and intellectual terrorism against our people", Wafa reported.
Abbas, 87, has previously made similar comments downplaying the systematic killing of Jews during World War II.
The president has held office for more than 18 years and in 2021 blamed Israel for the indefinite postponement of elections.