Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN in 2017. (AP/Seth Wenig) (AP/Seth Wenig)
Mahmoud Abbas

Many are rejecting Abbas’s “apology” for his recent anti-Semitic tirade at the Palestinian National Council as insincere, saying he shows no signs of recognizing the Jewish state.

By: The Tower

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s apology for his widely criticized anti-Semitic remarks was rejected as insufficient by a number of commenters on Twitter, most notably former Knesset member Einat Wilf.

Wilf, who is a leading thinker about Zionism, observed on Friday, “Key point to understand in #Abbas apology: For Palestinians, there is no such thing as a Jewish PEOPLE. There are only those of Jewish FAITH. Those can be awarded respect, as long as they do not insist on their right, AS A PEOPLE, to a sovereign state in their ancestral homeland.”

Abbas’s apology, which was published in both English and Arabic, read, “If people were offended by my statement in front of the PNC, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them. I would like to assure everyone that it was not my intention to do so, and to reiterate my full respect for the Jewish faith, as well as other monotheistic faiths.”

The Palestinian leader added, “I would also like to reiterate our long-held condemnation of the Holocaust, as the most heinous crime in history, and express our sympathy with its victims…Likewise, we condemn antisemitism in all its forms, and confirm our commitment to the two-state solution, and to live side by side in peace and security.”

On Sunday at a meeting of the Palestinian National Council, Abbas had attributed persecution of Jews, including the Holocaust, to their “social behavior,” such as money-lending. He was roundly condemned for the comments and on Thursday an editorial in The New York Times condemned the remarks as “vile” and called on Abbas to step down.

A ‘Non-Apology Apology’

However, Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, dismissed the apology, “Ahhh, the old “if you were offended, I am sorry” non-apology apology. Sorry, when true colors show, it’s not so easy to hide them again, Mr. #Abbas#Holocaust #Palestine #Israel

Abraham Foxman, former director of the Anti Defamation League, tweeted, “President Abbas: apology is too little too late. You have no credibility left as a leader or partner for peace. Time to move on !”

In the same vein as Wilf, Victor Shikhman wrote, “Abbas ‘apology’ continues to insult Jews by promoting yet another Arab anti-Zionist trope – that Jews are a “faith,” not a people. Further, Holocaust condemnation too easy. Abbas must acknowledge history of Arab oppression & violence against Jews in MENA.” Shikhman was apparently referring to Abbas’s speech in which he denied that Arabs ever oppressed Jews over the past 1,400 years.

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also dismissed the apology and called Abbas “a wretched Holocaust denier who wrote a doctorate on Holocaust denial and later published a book about Holocaust denial.” Liberman punctuated his remarks with “apology not accepted.”

The United States has asked the United Nations Security Council to condemn Abbas’s remarks. The proposed statement would express the council’s “serious concern”  about the remarks, which were described as including “vile anti-Semitic slurs and baseless conspiracy theories, and do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or peace in the Middle East.”

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