Peace and reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians would require first and foremost a Palestinian leadership that acknowledges the historical connections between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. Without acknowledging this basic historical fact, which the Bible established, and the 1920 San Remo International Conference confirmed, there is no basis for negotiating a true peace.
It is not just the Islamist terrorist group Hamas that rejects Israel’s right to exist and seeks to destroy it with words and actions — it is the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. In his speech to the Fatah Revolutionary Council last month, Abbas shocked the civilized world with his unbridled anti-Semitic outburst filled with outrageous distortions of history and making a mockery of the Holocaust. Abbas, now 87, received his PhD in history in 1982, at the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies. His doctoral thesis dealt with his allegation that Zionism worked together with Nazism. Already then, in 1982, he openly displayed his Holocaust Denial, as well as his Jew-Hating disposition.
Abbas, who replaced Yasser Arafat as President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), as well as leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Fatah organization, rejected the offer given to him by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008 to establish a Palestinian state. Instead of opting for a peaceful resolution of the conflict with Israel, given the far-reaching concessions Olmert was ready to make to the Palestinians to end the conflict, Abbas chose to continue in Arafat’s path, engaging in incitement against Israel, and funding the families of killers of Israeli-Jews. In the international arena, including the International Court of Justice in Der Hague, and the UN, Abbas has maligned Israel with lies and distortion.
While at a news conference in Berlin, Germany (August 17, 2022), sharing the podium with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Abbas struck a deep nerve when he claimed that Israel committed “50 Holocausts.” He stated “From 1947 to the present day, Israel has committed 50 massacres in Palestinian villages and cities. He said in Arabic, “50 massacres, 50 Holocausts, and until today, and every day there are casualties killed by the Israeli military.”
Abbas has stopped at nothing when given the opportunity to defame Israel and Jews, no matter how fallacious his charges. Chancellor Scholz did not immediately respond to Abbas, but later twitted, “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Israel’s former Prime Minister Yair Lapid reacted to Abbas, saying: “Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of having committed ‘50 Holocausts’ while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace but a monstrous lie.”
Thanks to The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), translating Mahmoud Abbas’ presentation, people can understand the lengths Abbas goes to distort historical realities. Abbas discussed antisemitism in a speech he delivered at the 11th session of the Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, on August 24, 2023. He stated in Arabic that, “The truth is that European Jews are not Semites,” and argued that they are the descendants of the Khazars, and therefore their persecution has nothing to do with antisemitism. Abbas added that Karl Marx confirmed that this is so. He continued, saying that “Hitler and the Europeans did not kill the Jews because they were Jews, but rather they fought the Jews because of their social role, and not their religion.”
Abbas explained that Hitler “fought” the Jews because they dealt with usury and money, not because of antisemitism. His antisemitism drew his “wisdom” from such sources as the “Merchant of Venice” and the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a Tzarist Russian plot, that Abbas must have found in Moscow’s archives. The same is true about his allegation about Ashkenazi Jews being descendants of the Khazars.
The story of the Khazars needs to be explained. Science Daily (June 26, 2014) asked “Did the Khazars convert to Judaism? The view that some of the Khazars, a central Asian people, became Jews during the ninth and tenth centuries is widely accepted. But following an exhaustive analysis of the evidence, Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher Professor Shaul Stampfer has concluded that such a conversion, ‘while a splendid story’ never took place.” Prof. Stampfer is the Rabbi Edward Sandrow Professor of Soviet and East European Jewry, in the Department of History of the Jewish People at the Hebrew University’s Mandel Institute of Jewish studies.
Abbas went further to explain that Eastern Jews were indeed Semites because they had originated from the Arabian Peninsula and then traveled to Andalusia. Later in his speech, Abbas claimed that Ben Gurion had not wanted Jews from Arab countries to immigrate to Israel, but was forced to accept them upon Churchill’s urging, because there were no more Jews left in Europe. Abbas then claimed that Ben Gurion carried out attacks on Jewish institutions in Arab countries to persuade them to emigrate. Abbas added, “The Jews didn’t want to emigrate but were forced to do so by means of pressure, coercion, and murder.” He declared that the Balfour Declaration was a partnership between Britain and America to “invent Israel,” and that the Palestinians should know who they should accuse of being their enemy.
The Jews of the Arab countries were persecuted by the Arab regimes and yearned to come to the Jewish state. Yemeni Jews arrived in Mandatory Palestine, and so did many others from Arab countries. Ben Gurion sent Israeli emissaries to places like Morocco to bring the Jews to the Jewish homeland, the same way Israel has pursued bringing the Ethiopian Jews to Israel. The Balfour Declaration was not a conspiracy of Britain and America, it was a Zionist effort endorsed by Hashemite Prince Feisal (son of the Sharif of Mecca) in 1919 at the Paris Peace Conference, who later became the King of Iraq.
At the bottom of these anti-Semitic and ludicrous assertions by Abbas, is the fear that the world would recognize that the Jews are indeed the indigenous people of the land of Israel. To dispel that fact, Mahmud Abbas grasps at straws like the Khazars. Ashkenazi Jews are Jews exiled by the Romans in 70CE, following the Bar Kocvah’s rebellion that ended in 135CE. Jews from the land of Israel became Roman citizens even earlier during the First Commonwealth. This author dined with a Jewish family in Rome that traced their arrival in Rome well before the common era. Jewish merchants and soldiers accompanied the Roman Legions into the Danube region and Germany, where they established trading posts, and where cities emerged. Yes, the Ashkenazi Jews are direct descendants of Israelites from Judea who were exiled to Rome.
Not only are the Jews the indigenous people of the Land of Israel, but it is the Arabs from Arabia who imperialistically subjugated the entire Middle East and its peoples in the 7th Century CE, in the name of Islam. In the end, Mahmud Abbas is a Holocaust Denier and a crude anti-Semite.