Last Monday, the world was exposed to an unhealthy dose of Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. In a lengthy, rambling rant before the Palestinian National Council, in Arabic of course, the toxic, octogenarian dictator let loose with a torrent of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories so vile that it drew instant condemnation from the European Union and the United States. Even the traditionally hostile New York Times (which frequently shills for the Palestinian Authority) issued a stern rebuke and called for Abbas to step down.
Abbas’s screed can be broken down to four major points;
First, the Holocaust was not the result of inherent German anti-Semitism but was rather brought upon by the Jews themselves due to their “social behavior” and usurious conduct. This position is actually a step up for Abbas, whose 1982 dissertation (which can be readily purchased in any PA bookstore alongside the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion) asserts that gas chambers were never used to asphyxiate Jews and dismissed as a “fantastic lie” that six million Jews perished in the Holocaust.
Second, Hitler was a Zionist sympathizer. Sadly, there are high level members of today’s British Labor Party, a diseased political party rife with antisemitism, who believe this arrant rubbish.
Third, Ashkenazi Jews are fake and descendants Khazars, a central Asian people, who allegedly converted to Judaism in the 9th or 10th centuries. This is pretty standard stuff for conspiracy-prone anti-Semites, who relish in the opportunity to deny the existence of a 3,500 year-old people.
Fourth, Jews are not indigenous to the Land of Israel but were rather a colonialist project hatched by Britain, Germany and other colonialist nations in an effort to extend their influence. In other words, in Abbas’s world view, the recently invented Jews are a foreign, malignant implant in the heart of Arab, Muslim land, whose raison d’être in this world is to advance the interests of the colonialist powers.
Even more shocking than the comments themselves was the fact that of the hundreds PNC members present, not a single one walked out in protest or otherwise bothered to challenge Abbas’s hateful, conspiracy laden narrative. There was one near-comical moment when a member of the audience corrected Abbas after Abbas alleged that Joseph Stalin was Jewish. The audience member noted that it wasn’t Stalin but rather Karl Marx who was Jewish. Aside from that one “correction,” the hundreds of PNC members who were in attendance were in lockstep with Abbas.
Recognizing the political fallout, the Palestinians quickly went into spin mode in a pathetic effort at damage control. Mahmoud al-Habash, the PA president’s “religious affairs adviser,” claimed that Abbas didn’t personally believe the anti-Semitic drivel he was spewing but was merely repeating the views of other anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists. Saeb Erekat, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s secretary-general, whose record of lying and fabrication is well known, claimed that Abbas’s words “were distorted.” They weren’t.
Four days after the speech, Abbas issued a belated apology but it was case of too little, too late. In 2010, Abbas met with Jewish leaders in New York where he seemingly repudiated his past odious views and recognized the historical tragedy of the Holocaust. But it was meaningless political theatrics. His past doctoral dissertation, which espoused rabid Holocaust denial and other anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, was still marketed on bookshelves across Palestinian controlled areas of the West Bank and continued to be featured and incorporated in the PA’s educational curriculum. Abbas’s address to the PNC confirmed what all but the most gullible already knew; that the leader of the so-called “moderate” Palestinian Authority maintains views that are no different in tone and substance than those held by Hamas.
Holocaust denial was but one component of Abbas’s address. The other of course, dealt with the denial of a historical Jewish nexus with the Land of Israel. For Abbas and his acolytes, the Jews are mere interlopers who were implanted as part of a grand European colonialist enterprise.
At about the same time that Abbas was making his speech and denying Jewish indigenousness, Israeli archaeologists, working in limestone cave outside of the central Israeli city of Modiin, unearthed a rare, 2,000-year-old coin from the early part of the second century. The coin was minted by Jews during the Bar Kochva Revolt against Rome, which began in the year 132 C.E. The revolt was led by a charismatic leader named Shimon Bar Kochva who led the Jews in several successful campaigns and temporarily succeeded in ejecting Rome’s legions from Jerusalem and large swaths of Judea. The revolt was ultimately crushed with ruthless brutality some three years later in the year 135. It was the second time in less than 100 years that the Jews of Israel revolted against the might of the Roman Empire.
Engraved on one side of the coin is a seven-branched date tree bearing two bunches of dates, and the Hebrew inscription “Shin-mem-ayin” (“שמע”) for Shimon. The reverse side depicts a grape leaf as well as the abbreviated inscription, “Leherut Yerushalayim” or “For the Freedom of Jerusalem.”
Abbas can issue all the denials he wants and can willfully close his eyes to reality but the historical truth of archaeology is unwavering. I’m still waiting for the Palestinians to unearth a 2,000 year-old coin bearing the inscription of Abbas’s forefathers, alongside a yearning to fight for the freedom of “Al Quds.”