There must be consequences for Abbas’ antisemitic rhetoric
Your Sept. 8 news article “Mahmoud Abbas peddles falsehoods about the Holocaust” (online) reported the latest antisemitic speech by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, in which he justified the Holocaust on the grounds that Hitler “fought [the Jews] because of their social role, and not their religion … their role in society, which had to do with usury, money, and so on.”
Your article noted that Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the Biden administration’s envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, demanded “an immediate apology” from Abbas. But instead of apologizing, Abbas doubled down. His official spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, defended Abbas’ anti-Jewish tirade, claiming it “was a quotation from writings of Jewish, American and other historians and authors.” (He did not name any of those alleged historians or authors.)
Abbas’ spokesman also dismissed all criticism of his antisemitism: “We express our strong condemnation and outrage at this frenzied campaign for just quoting academic and historical quotations,” Abu Rudeineh said in Abbas’ name.
This is not the first time Abbas has made remarks justifying or denying the Holocaust or slandering the Jewish people in other ways. Each time, various statesmen have condemned the remarks and called for an apology. But when Abbas refuses to apologize, there are never any consequences. Unless Abbas realizes that there is a price to pay for antisemitism, he will never have an incentive to desist. I suggest steps such as these:
• American Jewish and Zionist organizations should announce that they will no longer meet with any representatives of the Palestinian Authority.
• American and European cities that have “twin city” partnerships with PA cities should suspend those relationships.
• The Biden administration should stop paying the PA’s bills. The U.S. is giving the Palestinian Arabs $650 million this year. U.S. law prevents the money from going directly to the PA (so long as the PA pays salaries to terrorists), so the funds are sent to non-government projects that the PA would otherwise pay for — in effect, the Biden administration is paying the PA’s bills. That should stop.
Stephen M. Flatow
New York, New York