Embracing a Blood Libel

It’s hard to imagine a spectacle more spectacularly revealing of the degeneracy of the Palestinian leadership than Mahmoud Abbas’ address last Thursday to the European Parliament in Brussels.

The Palestinian Authority president deviated from his official prepared text to confide a bit of important “information” to the gathering: Israeli rabbis were calling for the poisoning of Palestinian water sources.

It wasn’t reported if any of the parliamentarians pinched themselves to see if they had time-traveled back to the Middle Ages, when massacring Jews on the fiction that they had poisoned wells was a popular pastime. What was reported, though, was that Mr. Abbas’ speech received a standing ovation.

“Only a week ago,” the Palestinian leader told the gathering, “a number of rabbis in Israel announced… made a clear announcement, demanding that their government poison the water to kill the Palestinians. Isn’t that clear incitement to commit mass killings against the Palestinian people?”

It certainly would be, if, like the poisoning of young Palestinian minds with hatred of Jews, it were actually true. Needless to say, though, there was no such “clear announcement” — or any announcement, or any call by any rabbi — to try to harm Palestinian Arabs.

The alleged rabbinical edict to poison Palestinians that Abbas was so eager to embrace without confirmation, came from the Turkish state news agency Anadolu, which said that a “Rabbi Shlomo Mlma, chairman of the Council of Rabbis in the West Bank settlements” — a non-existent entity — had encouraged Jews to take such action.

The same day, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry cited what it said was a water-poisoning call from a “Rabbi Mlmad.” No “Rabbi Mlma” or “Rabbi Milmad” could be located by Reuters or any other news organization.

The Dubai-based Gulf News, which in 2009 ran a column calling the Holocaust a “mere lie,” included a report last Sunday about the nefarious rabbi’s alleged pronouncement, attributing the assertion to “Breaking the Silence,” the Israeli veteran soldier group that has been critical of the Israeli military’s treatment of Palestinians.

A spokesman for Breaking the Silence, however, told Reuters that the group had provided no such information.

Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau responded to Abbas’ libel by stating straightforwardly that “The Israeli Rabbinate and the thousands of rabbis serving the cities of Israel, from all ethnic groups and circles, love peace and pursue peace. This is our way of life, we are guided by the Torah of Israel, the Torah of life. Israeli rabbis see the supreme value of human life; we believe in the concept ‘love every individual created in the image of G-d’.”

He appealed to leaders of the PA to reject incitement and false claims, an appeal that has been voiced countless times in the past to no avail.

After Jewish groups loudly condemned Abbas’ libel, the Palestinian president’s office issued a statement admitting that the accusation in fact had no basis, and asserting that Abbas “didn’t intend to do harm to Judaism or to offend Jewish people around the world.” The statement also condemned “all accusations of anti-Semitism.” Interesting wording, that.

In his Brussels speech, Abbas also blamed global terror on Israel’s control of the Yesha territories. No less a fantasy than the blood libel, that lie wasn’t later walked back, even perfunctorily.

“Once the occupation ends,” Abbas asserted, “terrorism will disappear, there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.” There was no laughter from the crowd, but there should have been.

And then there was Abbas’ snub of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who had addressed the Brussels gathering the day before.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz, it was reported, had scheduled the speeches of the Palestinian and Israeli leaders on consecutive days in order to facilitate a private meeting between the two.

By Thursday afternoon, Mr. Rivlin announced that he had welcomed such an opportunity, but that Abbas did not seem interested in talking with him.

“On a personal level,” he said, “I find it strange that President Mahmoud Abbas, my friend Abu Mazen, refused again and again to meet with Israeli leaders.” Not strange. Telling.

In typical PA two-facedness, Abbas included much talk of peace in his remarks to the parliament.

“Our hands are extended with a desire for peace,” he said. “We have the political will to achieve peace and we ask you [Israelis], ‘do you have the same political will to achieve peace and to acknowledge the historic injustice your state has exacted on our country?’”

Whatever he claims, Mr. Abbas’ hands hold no true desire for peace, not if the mouth above them readily spews incitement and lies.