Britain said on Thursday that recent remarks by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the Holocaust were “deeply concerning” and unhelpful to peace in the region.
Israel accused Pres. Abbas of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial after the Palestinian leader suggested in a speech that historic persecution of European Jews had been caused by their own conduct.
“Palestinian President Abbas’s comments at the Palestinian National Congress were deeply concerning. Any attempt to justify or explain away any element of the Holocaust is unacceptable,” Britain’s Middle-East minister Alistair Burt said in a statement.
“President Abbas has shown a commitment to non-violence and a two-state solution. But his recent rhetoric does not serve the interests of the Palestinian people and is deeply unhelpful to the cause of peace.”
Britain’s criticism follows that of the United States, European Union and Germany.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Abbas has “reached a new low in attributing the cause of massacres of Jewish people over the years to their ‘social behavior relating to interest and banks.’ To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don’t have peace, think again.”
On Wednesday, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon sent a letter to the Security Council demanding a condemnation:
“Such a hateful diatribe against a people who have undergone thousands of years of intolerable persecution is completely unacceptable. I call on all leaders of good faith to condemn these repeated hateful remarks and demand a full and sincere apology from Mr. Abbas. The Security Council must not stand idly by in the face of this incitement and apparent denial of Israel’s right to exist,” Ambassador Danon wrote.
The United Nations’ Special Coordinator for the Middle East on Wednesday also criticized Pres. Abbas: “Such statements are unacceptable, deeply disturbing and do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or peace in the Middle East,” said a statement issued on behalf of envoy Nickolay Mladenov.
It said that leaders “have an obligation to confront anti-Semitism everywhere and always, not perpetuate the conspiracy theories that fuel it.”