Palestinian leader’s remarks spark Israeli, US, EU outrage

U.S., EU and Israeli officials on Wednesday slammed remarks by the Palestinian president about the causes of 20th century anti-Semitism in Europe.

In rambling remarks that were part of a lengthy speech to the Palestine Liberation Organization parliament on Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it was the Jews’ “social function,” including money lending, that caused animosity toward them in Europe, citing what he said were books by Jewish authors. He also portrayed the creation of Israel as a European colonial project, saying “history tells us there is no basis for the Jewish homeland.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, as well as Israel’s prime minister, lashed out at Abbas over his remarks.

“Abu Mazen has reached a new low,” Ambassador David Friedman tweeted early Wednesday, referring to Abbas by his nickname. “To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don’t have peace, think again.”

President Donald Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt also responded to the remarks, calling them “very distressing and terribly disheartening.”

 

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