What’s more pathetic: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ latest blast of ugly anti-Semitism, or the hopes that the global community has long invested in him as a true Israeli partner for peace?
If, as Albert Einstein reportedly said, insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” than U.S. and Western investments in Abbas over the years seem to fit the bill.
When, however, even the New York Times editorial board — which almost never misses an opportunity to blame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israel — writes that Abbas’ vile words showed that it’s “time for him to leave office,” then perhaps Western elites are beginning to see the light.
“The Jews who moved to Eastern and Western Europe had been subjected to a massacre by one country or another every 10 to 15 years, since the 11th century and until the Holocaust in Germany,” the 82-year-old Abbas declared in an April 30 address.
“They say it was happening because they are Jews,” Abbas said. But, he explained, “the anti-Jewish [sentiment] was not because of their religion, but because of their function in society, which had to do with usury, banks, and so on.”
Ah, the old tripe, the ancient blood libel about unscrupulous Jews: they brought the pogroms and Holocaust on themselves by charging outrageous interest on the money they lent through the banks they owned.
Abbas also questioned, as he’s done before, the Jewish connection to Israel. “[T]heir narrative about coming to this country because of their longing for Zion, or whatever — we’re tired of hearing this,” he said. “The truth is that this is a colonialist enterprise, aimed at planting a foreign body in this region.” Of Ashkenazi Jews, he said, they’re not Semitic and “have no relation to Semitic people.”
Shocked? Surprised? You shouldn’t be, for Abbas’ comments were par for the course over his long career, however much Western leaders refused to acknowledge the reality and ramifications of his hatreds.
In his doctoral dissertation, Abbas questioned whether the Jews killed in the Holocaust really numbered six million and he described a “secret relationship between Nazism and Zionism” through which Germany worked with Jews to settle them in Palestine in hopes of creating a Jewish state.
In 2016, Abbas told the European Parliament that Israel’s rabbis urge its government to poison the water of Palestinians, resurrecting a blood libel that Jews poison non-Jews. Adapting still another blood libel, Palestinian leaders often charge that Jews kill Palestinian children and use their blood to make Passover matzah.
To this day, Abbas has refused to acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish state, notwithstanding both the Jewish roots in the land that date back thousands of years as well as Israel’s necessity in a Jew-hating world.
Abbas praises the Palestinian terrorists who die as “martyrs,” meets with terrorists upon their release from Israeli prison, and refuses U.S. demands that the Palestinian Authority stop paying generous monthly stipends to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists or to the families of those who die while trying to kill others.
The monthly stipends reportedly range from $368 for a terrorist jailed for up to three years to $3,400 for one sentenced to at least 30 years — the latter of which is the same amount that goes to the families of “martyred” terrorists. To put those figures in perspective, the average Palestinian makes $300 per month.
“They are our children, and they are our families,” Abbas said earlier this year in reference to “martyred” Palestinian terrorists. They honor us, and we will continue to pay them before the living.”
Abbas’ departure is long overdue not just from Israel’s perspective but from a Palestinian one as well. Elected to the Palestinian Authority presidency for a four-year term in 2005, he has refused to hold another election, choosing to remain in office and make a mockery of Palestinian democratic pretensions.
He has tried to curb dissent by arresting those who criticize his government, and his Palestinian Authority is rife with corruption that lines the pockets of its leaders while ill-serving its people. That helps explain why, in a poll this spring, 68 percent of Palestinians said they wanted him to resign.
With the Times’ editorialists beginning to recognize reality, perhaps the rest of us can acknowledge that Israel has no partner for peace — and that, through no fault of its own, it’s consigned to manage the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than solve it.
Lawrence J. Haas is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. He is the author of, most recently, Harry and Arthur: Truman, Vandenberg, and the Partnership That Created the Free World. He served previously as communications director for Vice President Al Gore.