Emily Thornberry attended anti-Semitic speech by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas but failed to initially condemn attacks on Jews in his three hour rant
- Abbas suggested ‘social function’ of Jews in banking had led to past massacres
- Emily Thornberry attended the event and posted about it on Facebook
- Her first statement made no mention of the anti-Semitic remarks in the speech
Emily Thornberry attended an anti-Semitic speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but failed to condemn his attacks on Jews in her first statement on the event.
The shadow foreign secretary confirmed her attendance in Ramallah, on the West Bank, on Facebook.
She praised Mr Abbas’ warning Donald Trump could not be a ‘mediator’ for peace while ‘sowing the seeds of discord’ but did not mention the anti-Semitic remarks.
Ms Thornberry did slam the comments in a later statement after reports on Mr Abbas’ three-hour speech spread around the world.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led condemnation after Mr Abbas suggested Jews were to blame for the Holocaust.
Emily Thornberry (file image) attended an anti-Semitis speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but failed to condemn his attacks on Jews in her first statement
The shadow foreign secretary confirmed her attendance at the event in Ramallah, on the West Bank, on Facebook (pictured)
Abbas (pictured), 82, suggested in an address to a rare meeting of the Palestinian National Council on Monday night that the ‘social function’ of Jews in the banking sector had led to past massacres
Abbas, 82, suggested in an address to a rare meeting of the Palestinian National Council on Monday night that the ‘social function’ of Jews in the banking sector had led to past massacres.
After posting a picture from the meeting, Ms Thornberry first said: ‘While we of course want to see the resumption of meaningful peace talks, I said President Abbas had been quite right to argue that the Trump administration cannot act as a mediator for peace when they themselves are sowing the seeds of discord, and making a negotiated peace ever harder to achieve.’
In a later statement she added: ‘It is deeply regrettable that, during a lengthy speech whose main and successful purpose was to urge the Palestinian National Council to remain committed to the Middle East peace process and the objective of a two-state solution, President Abbas made these anti-Semitic remarks about the history of the Jewish community in Europe which were not just grossly offensive, but utterly ignorant.
‘His comments were out of keeping with the tone of the Council as a whole, and of my discussions with other delegates, and I hope President Abbas will immediately apologise for them, so that the message to come out of this important Council meeting can remain positive and progressive, and focused on re-establishing peaceful and constructive dialogue.’
Israel’s foreign ministry on Wednesday accused Mr Abbas of fueling ‘religious and nationalist hatred against the Jewish people and Israel.’
Netanyahu added on Twitter today: ‘It would appear that, once a Holocaust denier, always a Holocaust denier. I call upon the international community to condemn the grave anti-Semitism of Abu Mazen (Abbas), which should have long since passed from this world.’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the Palestinian president of anti-Semitism after Mahmud Abbas suggested Jews were to blame for the Holocaust
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter as he accused Mahmoud Abbas of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial
He added: ‘Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, gave another anti-Semitic speech. With utmost ignorance and brazen gall, he claimed that European Jews were persecuted and murdered not because they were Jews but because they gave loans with interest.’
David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, said Abbas had reached a ‘new low’ while President Donald Trump’s envoy Jason Greenblatt said ‘peace cannot be built on this kind of foundation.’
The comments came after Abbas, who has faced accusations of anti-Semitism before, suggested in an address to a rare meeting of the Palestinian National Council on Monday night that Jews’ relations with banking had led to hostility against them.
‘From the 11th century until the Holocaust that took place in Germany, those Jews – who moved to Western and Eastern Europe – were subjected to a massacre every 10 to 15 years. But why did this happen? They say ‘it is because we are Jews’,’ he told the hundreds of delegates.
He then cited ‘three books’ written by Jews as evidence that ‘hostility against Jews is not because of their religion, but rather their social function,’ adding he meant ‘their social function related to banks and interest.’
He contrasted this with Jews in Arabic countries, who he argued had not faced similar persecution.
Friedman said on Twitter late on Tuesday Abbas had ‘reached a new low in attributing the cause of massacres of Jewish people over the years to their ‘social behaviour relating to interest and banks.”
‘To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don’t have peace, think again,’ he added.
Source: Read Full Article