After outrage, Palestinian president apologizes for offending people in anti-Semitic speech

Mahmoud Abbas apologises for speech that stirred international criticism

Mahmoud Abbas apologizes for speech decried as anti-Semitic

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas adjusts his glasses during a news conference with Canada's Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon (not pictured) at the Lester B. Pearson building in Ottawa May 25, 2009.

"Apparently the Holocaust denier is still a Holocaust denier", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday on Twitter.

In his apology on Friday, Abbas both condemned anti-Semitism and called the Holocaust "most heinous crime in history".

The official Palestinian news agency quoted Abbas as saying on Friday that "if people were offended by my statement ... especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them".

He also reiterated claims that Israel was a colonial project encouraged by European leaders who wanted to be rid of their Jewish populations.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and memorial in Jerusalem said Abbas's speech was "replete with anti-Semitic tropes and distortions of historical facts", and accused the Palestinian leader of "blatantly falsifying history to the point of accusing the Jewish victims as being responsible for their own murder".

The speech drew criticism around the world that Abbas perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes. "His apologies are not accepted". "They say 'it is because we are Jews'".

Abbas had said it was the Jews' "social functions", including money-lending, that caused hatred toward them in Europe.

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In 1982 Abbas obtained a doctorate in history at the Moscow Institute of Orientalism in the then-Soviet Union.

The proposed statement would express the council's "serious concern" about Abbas' remarks, which "included vile anti-Semitic slurs and baseless conspiracy theories, and do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or peace in the Middle East".

Mr Abbas and Palestinian officials have refused to cooperate with the administration of US President Donald Trump, who they perceive to be the most pro-Israeli American leader since its creation in 1948.

"Denying the Jewish connection to the land & its holy sites stands in contrast to reality".

"To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don't have peace, think again", he wrote on Twitter.

He has called on Abbas to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he chairs a Palestinian National Council meeting in Ramallah on April 30, 2018.

Unlike his Islamist rivals Hamas, who control Gaza and with whom Israel has fought three wars since 2008, Abbas's political grouping has recognised Israel.

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