New York Times calls for Abbas’s dismissal over latest anti-Semitic rant

Mahmoud Abbas’s recent anti-Semitic statements prove that he can no longer serve as the Palestinian Authority’s president if the Palestinians want to make peace with Israel, the editorial board at the New York Times wrote on Thursday. In a broadside against Abbas, the editorial board charged that the Palestinian leader has succumbed to “dark, corrosive instincts.”
Abbas Photo Credit: Flash 90

A New York Times editorial released today (Thursday) slams Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and even calls for his dismissal over his “anti-Semitic tendencies,” which were most recently displayed in a rant earlier this week.

The newspaper’s editorial board wrote that by including conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic myths in his speech, Abbas “shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner if the Palestinians and Israelis ever again have the nerve to try negotiations.” The editorial board also mentioned that Abbas has a long and well-documented history of anti-Semitic remarks, highlighting that in the 1980s, he claimed in his doctoral dissertation that the six-million death toll of Jewish Holocaust victims was an exaggerated figure.   

“While seen as a successor to the longtime Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, in 2003 he played down that notion, saying, ‘The Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind.’ Things looked more hopeful in 1993 when Mr. Abbas stood on the White House lawn and watched Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Mr. Arafat sign the Oslo Accords that were supposed to eventually lead to two states and peace,” the article states. “In the intervening years, there have been ups and downs in that quest, but the trend for some time has been depressingly downward.”

“Mr. Abbas, who oversees a governing system plagued by corruption and dysfunction, has lost support among the Palestinian people,” the editorial explains. “He has weakened government institutions that are essential for a future state and refused to call new elections, thus overstaying his term by many years and preventing younger leaders from emerging.”

The article, titled “Let Abbas’s vile words be his last as Palestinian leader,” then moved on to Abbas’s recent speech, calling it “vile” and a “new low.”

“No doubt he feels embittered and besieged on all sides,” the editorial board members wrote. “But by succumbing to such dark, corrosive instincts he showed that it is time for him to leave office.”

The piece concludes with a call for a change in the Palestinian leadership: “Palestinians need a leader with energy, integrity and vision, one who might have a better chance of achieving Palestinian independence and enabling both peoples to live in peace.”

In the days that have passed since Abbas’s anti-Semitic rant, his statements have been condemned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, the EU and US officials.

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