Commentary abbas’ holocaust speech: anti-semitic provocation

The Holocaust was a consequence of the Jews’ usury. With such provocations Abbas makes headlines. But that will not help him.

Is Abbas only trying to score points with his own people? Photo: reuters

Mahmoud Abbas sadly embodies the Palestinians who have failed in their yearning for statehood. Exhausted and beaten, the president is fighting for attention. He uses every means at his disposal, no matter how counterproductive or far-fetched. Israel is a colonialist project with no connection to the Jews, he railed. Pogroms and the Holocaust, he said, were the result of usury and social behavior on the part of the Jews. With such openly anti-Semitic provocations, Abbas does make headlines in the short term. At the same time, however, it fuels the suspicion that the 83-year-old’s mind is no longer in such good shape.

The quintessence of his speech, namely that he is in favor of the coexistence of the two states of Palestine and Israel despite all this, was hardly noticed in the excitement. And it hardly matters anymore, because how can Abbas’ long preface be interpreted other than as an attempt to take away the last desire for peace talks from his Israeli counterpart? The Palestinian leader could not have served the Israeli leadership better in its argument that it has no partner for negotiations.

Or was Abbas only trying to score points with his own people? He needed to. Almost 70 percent of the Palestinians are tired of their president, as recent polls show. What Abbas thinks of the Jews, however, is of little interest to most. After all, it’s not as if they don’t have other worries. The faltering peace process and Israel’s settlement construction in the occupied land are among the burning issues. Security cooperation with Israel’s army is controversial, and not least the Gaza Strip, where the president currently can think of nothing better than to cut off the money tap to Hamas and the people it governs.

Abbas has no answers. It is high time for the aging politician to take his leave.