Abbas blames Jews for Holocaust

In a speech to the Palestinian National Council on Monday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed the Jewish people for the Holocaust, claiming that the Shoah was caused by the Jews' "social behaviour". Europe's commentators condemn his statements as anti-Semitic and discuss the consequences for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Open/close all quotes (DE) /

A red line has been crossed

Abbas has completely discredited himself as a partner of the EU, notes:

“Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's blaming the Jews for the Holocaust is nothing short of abhorrent. ... In the wake of his most recent comments the European Union should ask itself if it really wants to continue supporting him. With his unconcealed anti-Semitism the Palestinian president has crossed a red line and no longer deserves the EU's support. And regardless of how unseemly Abbas's statements may be the political right in Israel will be laughing up its sleeve. Because this will merely speed up its radical settlement policy. One can only wonder what will come next in the Middle East conflict.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Such abstruse theories are irrelevant

The Palestinians' claim to the right to build a state of their own cannot be based on undermining the Jews' right to have their own state, The Guardian criticises:

“That's why [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] seeks to minimise, or even blame the Jews for, the Holocaust - which, for many, underpins the moral case for a Jewish homeland - and why he remains attached to eccentric theories suggesting European Jews are not really Jews at all, or which otherwise deny the historic connection of Jews to Palestine. He fails to see that a two-state solution makes such arguments unnecessary: you can believe that both peoples, Jews and Palestinians, have a legitimate claim to the same land, which is why both have the right to a state of their own.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Ignorance hindering dialogue with Europe

Abbas's statements show a lack of understanding of the significance of the persecution of the Jews, writer Vlodek Goldkorn explains in La Repubblica:

“The fact remains that the Palestinians and Arabs still haven't understood what the Shoah means. And as long as they fail to comprehend this they will lack the cultural instruments to conduct a discussion with Israel, and also with Europe, its memories, and its identity. In other words, the Nakba and all its atrocities were part of the process of global ethnic realignment that took place between 1945 and 1948. ... The Holocaust, on the other hand, was something different. It is the disaster of the West, of modernity, of the episteme itself, because the relationship between cause and effect, the causal relationship, was suspended. This is why the reconstruction of the West was associated with the founding of the Jewish state.”