Mahmoud Abbas accuses Israel of ‘50 Holocausts' while sharing stage with Olaf Scholz

Chancellor Scholz is under fire in Germany for not challenging Abbas’ comments


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas caused outrage on a visit to Germany on Tuesday when he accused Israel of committing “50 holocausts” against the Palestinians.

Speaking at a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Abbas was asked by a journalist about an apology for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by terrorists from the radical Palestinian “Black September” organisation.

In response, Abbas said: “Israel has committed 50 massacres in 50 Palestinian locations from 1947 to the present day. Fifty massacres, 50 holocausts.”

The Palestinian leader did not give any details about when or where these alleged “massacres” took place, nor did he mention the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes, which he was asked about.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under huge fire for his reaction during the press conference; he grimaced, but remained silent as Abbas was making the controversial comments.

Responding to Abbas' comments, the chairman of Yad Vashem, Danu Dayan, tweeted: "The heinous words of Mahmoud Abbas in Berlin today about '50 Holocausts' are appalling. The German government must respond appropriately to this inexcusable behaviour in the Federal Chancellery.”

Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid tweeted: "The fact that Mahmud Abbas accuses Israel of having committed '50 holocausts' while he is on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but an outrageous lie. Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, including a million and a half Jewish children. History will never forgive him for that.”

Meanwhile, the ︎Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee, Christoph Heubner slammed Scholz, saying: "It is astonishing and strange that the German side was not prepared for Abbas' provocations and that his statements about the Holocaust in the press conference went unchallenged.”

Press coverage in Germany has highlighted the country’s sensitivity to using the word “holocaust” to describe events other than the Nazi massacre of six million European Jews during the Second World War.

German right-wing tabloid Bild also sharply criticised the chancellor, commenting: “Instead of contradicting (Abbas), Scholz took off his headphones, irritated, shook hands with Abbas and left the room with him. Not a word of dissent in the face of the worst relativization of the Holocaust that a head of government has ever uttered in the chancellor’s office.”

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Friedrich Merz said the Chancellor should have “clearly contradicted the Palestinian president and asked him to leave the house”.

The president of the Berlin-based Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, said he was “horrified” by Abbas’s statements. “I strongly condemn the Holocaust comparison by Mahmoud Abbas,” he told the JC. “He not only relativises the Shoah and the National Socialist policy of annihilation, he also tramples on the memory of six million murdered Jews and does damage to the memory of all victims of the Holocaust.

“It is no less shameful that Abbas is unable to condemn the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics by Palestinian terrorists. I ask myself how a politician who tolerates terror is supposed to be a partner for peace.”

Scholz later released a statement, saying: “Especially for us Germans, any relativisation of the Holocaust is unbearable and unacceptable.”

The German Chancellor had also said in the press conference, while standing next to Abbas, that he rejected the Palestinian labelling of Israel as an “apartheid state.”

“Naturally we have a different assessment with a view to Israeli politics, and I want to expressly say here that I do not espouse the use of the word apartheid and do not think it correctly describes the situation,” he said.

Responding to the furore around Abbas' comments and attempting to clarify his remarks, the Palestinian Authority released a statement via their official news agency saying: "President Mahmoud Abbas reaffirms that the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.

"What is meant by the crimes that President Mahmoud Abbas spoke about are the crimes and massacres committed against the Palestinian people since the Nakba at the hands of the Israeli forces. These crimes have not stopped to this day."

When contacted by the JC, the German government declined to comment.

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