Mahmoud Abbas’s Outburst in Berlin Highlights a German Problem

Few who have followed the career of the Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas were surprised that, while visiting Berlin last week, he not only refused to apologize for a Palestinian terrorist group’s massacre of Israeli athletes in Munich 50 years ago, but ranted about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by the Jewish state against Arabs. More telling, writes Ben Cohen, was the reaction of the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose country spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year propping up the PA:

As many German media outlets observed, Scholz did not contradict Abbas at the podium and even shook hands with him at the close of the press conference. At the same time, Scholz looked visibly angry with Abbas, and later on reportedly berated his staff for ending the press conference before he’d had an opportunity to respond. One day later, smarting from the media criticism, he labeled Abbas’s comments “disgusting” and apologized during a phone call with the Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid.

But sniping at Abbas after giving him a pass in front of the world’s press is not what a principled leader should do. . . . If Scholz wants to repair the reputational damage wrought by Abbas, he needs to make the fight against anti-Semitism a personal priority. Simply put, anti-Semitism is rife these days in Germany. In 2021, more than 3,000 anti-Semitic hate crimes were recorded—likely just the tip of the iceberg even though the [Jewish] community numbers fewer than 120,000 souls to begin with.

Germany cannot claim to be the guardian of the integrity of the Holocaust and then allow diplomatic protocol to shield a Holocaust denier like Abbas. In the same vein, German politicians can no longer be allowed to present yet more Holocaust memorials or emotional speeches embracing Jews as a substitute for grappling with a major social problem. What is needed are actions. Germany should condition funding to the Palestinians upon a commitment—from Abbas downwards—to refrain from Holocaust abuse and to end anti-Semitic incitement. . . .

If that can’t happen, then at least save us from the empathy-drenched speeches that sound more and more hollow at every instance.

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion