The European Parliament Rewards Hate
The European Parliament Rewards Hate
Hats off to the British. Aside from all the other reasons to applaud Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (i.e. democracy, national sovereignty), it has voted to secede from an enabler of Palestinian terror and hate education. And if that accusation sounds harsh, consider what transpired in the EU Parliament on the very day of the Brexit referendum.Abbas walks back claim rabbis sought to ‘poison’ Palestinian wells
While the British were voting, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was addressing the EU Parliament in Brussels. By any objective standard, the visit didn’t start off well: Upon arriving, Abbas immediately rejected a personal plea by the parliament’s president, Martin Schulz, to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who happened to be in Brussels at the same time. But things quickly got worse when Abbas started speaking.
Abbas’s speeches are always full of anti-Israel slander, and this one was no exception. He accused Israel of “massacring” Palestinians’ “history, heritage, identity and geopolitical entity.” He termed the Israeli “occupation” the longest in history and deemed it uniquely evil, “unlike anything that has happened to any other people anywhere in the world,” to quote one reporter’s live tweeting of the speech (I haven’t managed to find a transcript); in reality, of course, not only have there been many longer occupations, but few conflicts have ever entailed so little bloodshed. He accused Israel of being “fascist” and “racist,” of committing extrajudicial killings, and of turning “our country into an open-air prison.” All this is pretty standard, as was the conclusion, in which he paid lip service to his willingness to make peace with the monstrously evil country he just described.
But even by Abbas’s standards, this speech was exceptionally vile in two respects. First, he accused Israel of responsibility for all terrorism worldwide, ludicrously asserting that “Once the occupation ends, terrorism will disappear, there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world.” After all, Israel is clearly the reason why Muslims are killing fellow Muslims by bombing mosques, schools, and hospitals in Muslim countries like Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan, right?
Then, he resurrected a medieval blood libel, accusing Israel of poisoning Palestinian wells. Granted, he was speaking in Arabic, and this accusation wasn’t in his prepared English translation; but the simultaneous translator rendered it into English, and Israeli reporters had no trouble hearing it; thus one has to assume it was audible to EU parliamentarians, as well.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday backed away from his claim that rabbis had called to poison Palestinian water, saying he hadn’t intended to offend Jews, after Israel and Jewish groups said his statements were promoting blood libels and anti-Semitic tropes.Some Cover, Others Cover Up, Abbas Anti-Semitism
“After it has become evident that the alleged statements by a rabbi on poisoning Palestinian wells, which were reported by various media outlets, are baseless, President Mahmoud Abbas has affirmed that he didn’t intend to do harm to Judaism or to offend Jewish people around the world,” his office said in a statement.
In his speech to the Parliament of the European Union in Brussels on Thursday, Abbas claimed accusations of incitement by the Palestinians were unfair as “The Israelis are doing this as well… Certain rabbis in Israel have said very clearly to their government that our water should be poisoned in order to have Palestinians killed.”
A story reported in the Turkish press earlier in June claimed a rabbi had made such a call, though the story was quickly debunked.
His office said he “rejected all claims that accuse him and the Palestinian people of offending the Jewish religion. [He] also condemned all accusations of anti-Semitism.”
Abbas did not walk back his assertion, also contained in his EU speech, that terrorism worldwide would be eradicated if only Israel withdrew from the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel excoriated Abbas on Thursday as a peddler of lies, with the Prime Minister’s Office saying he “showed his true colors” and “is lying when he claims his hand is outstretched in peace.
“Israel waits for the day Abbas stops peddling lies and inciting [against Israel]. Until then, Israel will continue to defend itself against Palestinian incitement, which fuels terror,” the statement said. (h/t Yenta Press)
Some news organizations did cover Abbas’s libel with appropriate focus. Reuters, for example, pointedly addressed the issue in the lede of its article, “Abbas says some Israeli rabbis called for poisoning Palestinian water”:Syrian Refugees vs. Palestinian "Refugees" at UN "Human Rights" Council, June 22, 2016
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israeli rabbis on Thursday of calling for the poisoning of Palestinian water, in what appeared to be an invocation of a widely debunked media report that recalled a medieval anti-Semitic libel.
Even Diaa Hadid, a New York Times correspondent whose coverage of Israel at times has been dreadful, emphasized the importance of the story with a powerful opening paragraph:
Echoing anti-Semitic claims that led to the mass killings of European Jews in medieval times, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority accused rabbis in Israel of calling on their government to poison the water used by Palestinians.
But other news organizations, including the Associated Press, ignored Abbas’s antisemitic comments even while covering Abbas’s speech.
The Wall Street Journal took it a step further. Not only did the newspaper ignore the Palestinian leader’s hateful remarks in coverage of the speech, but it even framed Abbas’s remarks as being moderate relative to a speech by Israeli president Reuven Rivlin:
The refusal of Mr. Abbas comes as an ironic finale to the two leaders’ visits to the Belgian and European capital.
In a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday, it was the Israeli president who brought the unpopular message that there were no prospects of a final peace deal in the near future and that a recent French initiative to revive negotiations amounted to little more than “negotiations for negotiations’ sake.”