In remarks to the leadership of his Fatah party delivered in August, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech claiming Adolf Hitler was not an antisemite, and that the Jews of Europe were not killed because they were Jews, but for their “role in society” including “usury.”
On Sunday, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated and reported Abbas’ comments:
They say that Hitler killed the Jews for being Jews, and that Europe hated the Jews because they were Jews. Not true. It was clearly explained that [the Europeans] fought [the Jews] because of their social role, and not their religion. Several authors wrote about this. Even Karl Marx said this was not true. He said that the enmity was not directed at Judaism as a religion, but to Judaism for is social role. The [Europeans] fought against these people because of their role in society, which had to do with usury, money, and so on and so forth.
Even Hitler… Everybody knows that during World War I, Hitler was a sergeant. He said he fought the Jews because they were dealing with usury and money. In his view, they were engaged in sabotage, and this is why he hated them. We just want to make this point clear. This was not about Semitism and antisemitism.
Abbas also claimed that Eastern European Jews were not “Semites,” and therefore Hitler was not antisemitic. In fact, the term “antisemite” was invented specifically to refer to European Jews in racial, instead of religious, terms.
The Palestinian leader has a long history of Holocaust denial, dating back to his doctoral thesis, which disputed the number of Jews who were killed by the Nazis