By Emily Gian
There is a scene in the movie, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”, in which the Sacha Baron Cohen character finds himself deep inside redneck territory in an American country and western lounge bar. Borat and his band are introduced as being from Kazakhstan. He is going to sing the song, “In my country there is a problem“. At first, the crowd is incredulous but when the song reveals that his country’s problem is the Jews, the mood changes. When he sings the refrain, “throw the Jews down the well so my country can be free”, the drinkers go wild.
Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority had even less trouble convincing his audience when he appeared last week before the 28 Nation EU Parliament that he was worthy of a thirty second standing ovation. They loved him so much that when Abbas uttered the infamous anti-Semitic trope about Jews poisoning the wells, this time Palestinian wells – a complete and utter lie as Abbas later acknowledged – to their everlasting shame, they behaved in the same way as Borat’s audience. They lapped it up.
But let us go back to the start of the story from its beginnings over a week ago with a news report in the Palestinian press.
“As part of the Israeli attempts to utilize religious sources of authority to achieve political goals, an Israeli human rights organization has exposed a religious ruling by Rabbi Shlomo Melamed, chairman of the Council of Settlement Rabbis, that gave the settlers permission to poison the drinking water and the natural wells in the villages and towns throughout the West Bank. This, with the goal of causing the residents to leave their lands, enabling the settlers to take control of them”.
The story is a complete fabrication. There is no Rabbi Shlomo Melamed – he simply does not exist. Similarly, the organization of which is he supposedly the chairman – the Council of Settlement Rabbis – is a figment of some propagandist’s fertile imagination. But these days, there is no end to the contempt which the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has for the international community. It complained they should have intervened in this fake crisis by arresting the “rabbi” for incitement to murder. If it was that easy to arrest people who incite murder, the PA Chairman himself would have been carving elephants out of wood in jail long ago.
The story gathered steam and reached its pinnacle on 23 June when Abbas appeared in front of EU Parliament in Brussels, and said that “certain rabbis in Israel have said very clearly to their government that our water should be poisoned in order to have Palestinians killed”. He also claimed that if Israel’s occupation of his country’s territory ended, then so would terrorism worldwide. Yes, I am certain that if Israel returned to pre-1967 borders then ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, not to mention Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah would all lay down their arms and move on.
His willing audience gave him a standing ovation at the end of the speech, and this says almost as much about them as it does about the limitlessness of Abbas’ deception and lies.
Two days later his office issued a retraction saying, “After it was clarified that the alleged statement attributed to a rabbi regarding poisoning wells was unfounded, the Palestinian President stresses that he did not intend to harm Judaism or the Jewish people, in accordance with the deep respect he feels for all religions, including Judaism.”
Well, that is a stretch coming from someone who last September incited a spate of murderous attacks that were to last for several months with made up stories of Israel’s alleged intention to change the status of the Temple Mount and the vile claim that Jews “have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet.”
As usual, the damage had already been done by Abbas’s sophistry. The lies told about Israel spread at a far quicker pace than the efforts to retract them. For instance, France 24 reported on the issue, headlining it in this way: “Abbas accused the rabbis of wanting to poison Palestinian wells; Israel cries out slander”. As if Israel was hysterically trying to cover up this sordid story.
What makes Mahmoud Abbas one of the world’s most dangerous liars is that nobody holds him accountable and as long as they cheer him when he tells lies, his people have a problem. The status quo will remain in place and rather than being victims of an occupation, the Palestinians will be victims of their own leader and the fools who pander to every falsehood he utters.