EU, Germany Join Condemnation of Abbas

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -
EU Abbas
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, shown here speaks to reporters after an international conference on the future of Syria and the region, in Brussels last week. (Reuters/Francois Walschaerts)

The European Union’s foreign service condemned remarks on the Holocaust by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as “unacceptable,” echoing criticism earlier on Wednesday by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

In strikingly blunt language from Brussels, the European External Action Service said in a statement: “The speech Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered on 30 April contained unacceptable remarks concerning the origins of the Holocaust and Israel’s legitimacy.

“Such rhetoric will only play into the hands of those who do not want a two-state solution, which President Abbas has repeatedly advocated.”

PM Netanyahu called for international condemnation of “anti-Semitism” by Abbas over remarks on Monday in which the Palestinian leader suggested historic persecution of Jews in Europe was caused by their own conduct.

The EEAS added: “Anti-Semitism is not only a threat for Jews but a fundamental menace to our open and liberal societies.

“The European Union remains committed to combat any form of anti-Semitism and any attempt to condone, justify or grossly trivialize the Holocaust.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also condemned the comments.

“We reject any relativization of the Holocaust,” Maas told Die Welt daily.

“Germany bears responsibility for the most atrocious crime of human history,” he said, adding the memory of the Holocaust was a constant reminder to tackle any form of anti-Semitism.

Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah declined comment on the criticism.

The offensive parts of Abbas’s Monday speech were not included in the official Palestinian news agency’s English press release of it or in most initial international coverage of his speech, The Times of Israel noted.