Palestinian Leader Causes Outrage With '50 Holocausts' Remark

He made comparison during news conference in Berlin
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2022 12:01 PM CDT
Palestinian Leader Causes Outrage With '50 Holocausts' Remark
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, speaks during a news conference after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022.   (Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)

(Newser) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas outraged Germans—and Israelis—Tuesday night by referring to the massacres of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces as "Holocausts." Abbas, speaking at a joint press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, made the remark when a German journalist asked if he planned to apologize for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. "From 1947 to the present day, Israel has committed 50 massacres in Palestinian villages and cities, in Deir Yassin, Tantura, Kafr Qasim, and many others—50 massacres, 50 Holocausts," he said, per Deutsche Welle.

Sept. 4 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich massacre, which was carried out by Black September militants affiliated with Abbas' Fatah party, the Guardian reports. Eleven Israeli athletes and one German police officer died. Scholz condemned the "outrageous" remarks Wednesday, saying he was "disgusted." "For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable," he said in a tweet. Some German newspapers criticized him for not speaking out against Abbas' remarks during the press conference. Abbas' comments were also strongly condemned by Israeli leaders, with Prime Minister Yair Lapid calling them a "monstrous lie."

Steffen Hebestreit, Scholz's spokesperson, said the head of Palestine's diplomatic mission was summoned to the chancellery in protest Wednesday. "It is clear for us, the government and the chancellor, that the persecution and systematic murder of 6 million European Jews is an unparalleled crime against humanity," he said. The AP reports that Abbas' office tried to walk back the remarks in a statement Wednesday. Abbas "reaffirms that the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history," the statement said, adding that "his answer was not intended to deny the singularity of the Holocaust that occurred in the last century." (Read more Mahmoud Abbas stories.)

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