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Fatah Spokesman defends Abbas’ continued Holocaust denial, acknowledges Holocaust, says “how am I to blame if Europe is the one that burned Jews, and the Jews come to burn me?”

Official PA TV program State of Politics, on the convening of the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the PLO, hosting Official Fatah Spokesman Dr. Atef Abu Saif

Official PA TV host: “Dr. Atef, Israel is always attempting to harm this aspect of solidarity in the public opinion, whether that of Europe or in the solidary world states or those that believe in the Palestinian people’s right, the last of which, for example, was Israel’s exploiting [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas’] statements at the opening session [of the Palestinian National Council] regarding the question of the Holocaust and the Jews’ role – the Jews’ social role, which was the cause and not [their] racial or ethnic [identity] (Abbas claimed that the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves by practicing usury –Ed.). Those who were in the hall, and I was among them, thought that he quoted one of the authors who holds this opinion. By the way, the president apologized that he did not intend to hurt the feelings of those who were hurt. However, the attack, or the attempt to exploit any utterance, is as if we’re walking between raindrops without getting wet so we will not be accused of Antisemitism, and that is Israel’s prepared rubric or accusation – despite our counter-argument that we are Semites. We must say these things.”

Official Fatah Spokesman Dr. Atef Abu Saif: “The Palestinian national movement, since its establishment after the Nakba (i.e., “the catastrophe,” the Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel), since its reestablishment, has differentiated between the Jews and the colonialist Zionist project. Israel has goods it’s trying to sell; they have sued European philosophers like [Roger] Garaudy (i.e., French Holocaust denier who was fined for antisemitic racial libel) and Günter Grass, the famous German author who won the Nobel Prize – after he received the Nobel, they went and revealed that he was in the Hitler Youth (sic., Grass himself revealed that he was in the Nazi Waffen-SS, not the Hitler Youth), a complicated story. The basis is that Israel feels that there are serious attempts to thwart these claims. Why does it feel danger from President Mahmoud Abbas’ words? After all, this man has credibility at the international level. He doesn’t say things from his own mind. He quoted European authors who themselves [spoke] about the Jews’ social role during the 18th and 19th centuries and so forth. By the way, he did not deny a Holocaust and we Palestinians do not deny a Holocaust – after all, we Arabs were part of the victims of the Holocaust, but people forget (sic., there are no records of Arabs being victims of the Holocaust). Without diminishing Hitler’s crimes against the Jews, he also burned Arabs and his political rivals, and also burned the Gypsies of course, and on this basis Israel is attempting to collapse the Palestinian narrative in order to warp this narrative- but President Mahmoud Abbas apologized and said that he does not deny this Holocaust. Who told you that we are Holocaust deniers? But how am I to blame if Europe is the one that burned Jews, and the Jews come to burn me? In other words, this is the basis; that is to say, what is the Palestinian’s connection in all the- I specialized in European history, and I told my colleagues in the European universities, in Britain, and in Italy, and where I studied- what is our connection to European history? You killed the Jews – we condemn that; Hitler put them in ovens – we also condemn that and we show empathy. The Palestinians had no role; on the contrary, if you look at the Palestinian press at the time and the Palestinian intelligentsia, there was a huge differentiation between the ugliness of what was happening in the Holocaust and the ugliness- and the necessary conditions that the Zionist movement demanded in order to remain in Palestine. What is my connection as a Palestinian to these crimes? I condemn them, but don’t absolve your crimes at the expense of my fathers and grandfathers, expel them from their land, and throw them into the sea so that sharks will eat them.”

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