- - Thursday, May 17, 2018

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ so-called apology for his recent anti-Semitic speech was really no apology at all (“Palestinian president apologizes over anti-Semitic remarks,” Web, May 4). In his speech, Mr. Abbas blamed Jews for bringing the Holocaust on themselves with their “social behavior,” and denied the Jewish people’s ancestral presence in what is today Israel. After being widely rebuked, he said he apologized “if people were offended” (yes, he actually said “if”). What he pointedly did not do was acknowledge that his statements were false.

Nor, for that matter, did Mr. Abbas retract his previous, fallacious, anti-Semitic remarks about the Holocaust, including calling it “the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed.” He claimied that the actual number of Jews killed was “only a few hundred thousand,” insisted that “the Zionists” were the Nazis’ secret partners in exterminating Jews and asserted that a “scientific study” proved no Jews had been murdered in Nazi gas chambers.

Even the New York Times, after decades of ignoring or downplaying Mr. Abbas’ lies, finally condemned him in an editorial that decried his “reprehensible anti-Semitic myths and conspiracy theories” and said he had “shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner.” This was a remarkable admission, considering that just four years earlier, on April 26, 2014, a New York Times article shamelessly insinuated that the Palestinian leader was the victim of an unfair Israeli smear campaign, stating: “Mr. Abbas has been vilified as a Holocaust denier” because “he challenged the number of Jewish victims.” Vilified? Challenged? His views were Holocaust revisionism, plain and simple.

Mr. Abbas’ recent speech wasn’t just offensive, it was a hateful lie. Until he publicly admits this, he remains unrepentant and morally unfit to participate in any “peace process.” He certainly won’t be visiting the new American embassy to Israel in Jerusalem anytime soon.

STEPHEN A. SILVER



San Francisco

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