Paris mayor strips Abbas of prestigious award after Holocaust denial speech

The Palestinian president said Hitler killed Jews because of their 'social role'


The mayor of Paris has condemned Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas for "justifying" the Holocaust and stripped him of a prestigious honour granted by her city.

In a letter sent to the Fatah leader, Anne Hidalgo said he could no longer hold the Grand Vermeil medal because: "the comments you made are contrary to our universal values and the historical truth of the Shoah."

She added: "You can therefore no longer hold this distinction."

In remarks that appeared on social media on Wednesday, Abbas said: “They say that Hitler killed the Jews because they were 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 its 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 fourth.”

Abbas made the remarks during a speech late last month before senior members of his Fatah party in Ramallah.

The text of the letter was published on Twitter by French Jewish leader Yonathan Arfi.

"This important decision honours Paris and the city's ongoing commitment against antisemitism," he wrote.

Writing to Abbas, Hidalgo said: "You... justified the extermination of the Jews of Europe during World War II with a clear desire to deny the genocide...

"I vehemently condemn your remarks, no cause can justify revisionism and negationism."

Abbas received the Medal of the City of Paris during a 2015 visit to the city.

A spokesperson for the European Union his speech "contained false and grossly misleading remarks about Jews and antisemitism".

France's consulate in Jerusalem called the remarks "totally unacceptable".

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