Mahmoud Abbas suggested Jews were responsible for their persecution in Europe.Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is “deeply concerned” the Palestinian president has suggested European Jews caused their own historical persecution.
Mahmoud Abbas commented on the Holocaust in a speech at the Palestinian National Congress, sparking condemnation from Israel, the United Kingdom and now Australia.
“We condemn any such comments by anyone, anywhere,” Ms Bishop told reporters on the Gold Coast on Friday.
“It’s deeply regrettable that such statements should be made.
“They are anti-Semitic, they go against the facts – the historical facts – and I’m deeply concerned that a leader would make such comments.”
Israel has accused Mr Abbas of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial after the Palestinian leader suggested in a speech that historical persecution of European Jews had been caused by their conduct.
“The Jewish issue that was widespread in all European countries… was not because of their religion, but rather their social role related to usury and banks,” the 83-year-old Palestinian leader reportedly said.
Britain’s Middle-East minister Alistair Burt said any attempt to justify or explain away any element of the Holocaust is unacceptable.
“President Abbas has shown a commitment to non-violence and a two-state solution. But his recent rhetoric does not serve the interests of the Palestinian people and is deeply unhelpful to the cause of peace,” Mr Burt said in a statement.
Mr Abbas was on Friday re-elected as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
Australian Associated Press