JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the Holocaust was caused by the “social behavior” of Jews, such as money lending, and not by anti-Semitism.
Speaking Monday in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas also said that Jews do not have a historical connection to the land.
“Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with the Jews,” he told the Palestinian National Council, and the “Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region.”
The council is the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization and elects the PLO’s Executive Committee, which makes decisions on all Palestinian issues — in Israel, the West Bank and around the world. New members are expected to be elected to the council during its four-day meeting that began Monday.
Abbas, who called his speech a “history lesson,” also indicated that Adolf Hitler facilitated the immigration of Jews to Israel. He claimed that the German leader cut a deal with the Anglo-Palestine Bank, known today as Israel’s Bank Leumi, allowing Jews who moved to the British Mandate of Palestine to transfer all their assets there through the bank.
The Palestinian Authority leader said, however, that most of Europe’s Jews thought their money was more important than their lives because they stayed put.
Abbas has already faced accusations of Holocaust denial based on his 1982 doctoral dissertation titled “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.”
Abbas reiterated that he would not accept an American peace deal in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv later this month.
The Anti-Defamation League condemned Abbas’ speech.