After receiving sharp condemnation from the international community, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has apologized for making anti-Semitic remarks during a speech on Monday.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas Photo credit: Kremlin

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas on Friday issued an apology for the anti-Semitic rhetoric during a speech he gave in Ramallah earlier this week.

During a meeting of the Palestinian National Council on Monday, Abbas said the Holocaust was caused not by anti-Semitism in Europe, but rather by Jews’ own financial and social behavior. These remarks have since been widely condemned by the international community.

“If people were offended by my words, especially Jews, I apologize to them,” Abbas said in a statement. “I want to make it clear that it wasn’t my intention and say that I have the utmost respect for the Jewish faith, as I do for other monotheistic religions.”

Abbas further stressed that the Palestinian Authority “condemns anti-Semitism in any form” and sees the Holocaust as “the single most vicious and horrible crime in history.” He then expressed his commitment to a two-state solution.

On Thursday, a New York Times editorial called on Abbas to leave office, arguing that, by including conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic myths in his speech, he had “shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner if the Palestinians and Israelis ever again have the nerve to try negotiations.”