Did you see that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ticked off a long list of antisemitic conspiracies in a speech the other day? He told his learned crowd – and let’s not forget, he has a PhD in this field – that Hitler didn’t kill the Jews because of their ethnicity or faith, but because they were greedy usuries that had too much power. Oh, and that they weren’t really Jews anyway, since Ashkenazi Jews descended from the Khazars. Mizrachi Jews, on the other hand, are Semites, he explained. But he said they originated in the Arabian Peninsula. But then, according to Abbas, Ben Gurion ordered Israel to bomb Jewish targets in Iraq and other places in order to force their emigration to Israel!
It’s not the first time Abbas has made such offensive remarks, but listing four distinct, laughable, hateful conspiracies in one speech live on TV might have been a first.
Abbas is the president of the Authority with is supposed to be Israel’s partner in peace. The Authority (and Abbas!) have been the recipient of untold millions of dollars in development money. And while plenty of that money has gone into the back pockets of the leadership, much has also been spent on hateful and anti-peace incitement, including Holocaust denial, and the denial of Jewish indigeneity – indeed, any Jewish cultural or historical claims – to the land. This incitement has appeared in school books, and on children’s television as well as for the wider population.
There are many reasons for the lack of Israeli-Palestinian peace, but 30 years of poisonous incitement is one of them. That the president uttered such hatred is surprising because of his position (and that the cameras were on), but not surprising given what he has been teaching his people for the last three decades.