The SA Jewish Board of Deputies is appalled by the unambiguously antisemitic statements made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday. In a chilling revival of classic expressions of anti-Jewish hatred, Abbas sought to justify the historical persecution of Jews by claiming that Jews had brought this upon themselves by their alleged immoral and harmful actions.
Even the Nazi Holocaust, in which one-third of World Jewry were systematically murdered, was portrayed as being the result of supposed Jewish criminality. President Abbas has previously referred to the Holocaust as a 'myth' and a 'fantastic lie'. Now he has apparently changed tack by saying instead that while it did happen, the Jews deserved it. Such comments are an unforgivable slur again the innumerable victims of antisemitic persecution throughout history. They further defame the Jewish people today by depicting then as manipulative, greedy, untrustworthy and selfishly bent on advancing their own interests to the detriment of whatever society they belong to. Such repugnant sentiments are always a cause for concern, but the gravity of the offence is greatly magnified when they come from an internationally recognised political leader.
In addition to trying to justify antisemitism and distorting the record of the Holocaust, President Abbas once again also sought to deny Jewish history by declaring, in brazen defiance of the evidence, that Jews have no roots in the Land of Israel.
It is deeply regrettable that Mahmoud Abbas has resorted to propagating blatant antisemitism as a political weapon.