New York, NY, June 23, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) decried conspiratorial anti-Israel allegations made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a speech before the European Parliament today, saying the charges are “reminiscent of age-old anti-Semitic stereotypes” and belie his claim that his “hands are extended in peace.”
In his speech before the European Parliament in Brussels, Abbas propagated a false and malicious story of “certain rabbis in Israel have said very clearly to their government that our water should be poisoned in order to have Palestinians killed,” and further alleged that Israel is the cause of all global terrorism, claiming, “Once the occupation ends, terrorism will disappear, there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world.”
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, issued the following statement:
President Abbas reportedly came to Europe to talk peace. Instead, he interspersed claims of an interest in reconciliation with Israel with base allegations against the Jewish state, which are reminiscent of age-old anti-Semitic stereotypes. Unfortunately, conspiratorial incitement by the Palestinian Authority is not new. His charges of an Israeli effort to poison Palestinian water, and claims of Israel serving as the root of terrorism worldwide, are particularly disturbing and significant.
We note that President Abbas’ speech was met with a standing ovation by the parliamentarians present. As the international community, particularly European leadership, grows increasingly active in trying to promote an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, they must forcefully and publicly reject such offensive and dangerous incitement. How can Israel see Europe as an honest broker when its elected officials applaud a speech laden with lies and mischaracterizations?
Such statements, along with his rejection of an invitation to meet Israeli President Reuven Rivlin while in Brussels, make Abbas’ condemnations of terrorism and stated interest in peace disingenuous. It is sad to think that Abbas would rather take the easy route and deliver an incendiary speech that consigns the region to further conflict rather than sit down with Israeli leadership to make the hard decisions of working toward a two-state solution that actually could bring peace to his people and the region.
In April, ADL called on the United States to take a strong stand against Palestinian Authority efforts to present a one-sided resolution harshly critical of Israel at the U.N. Security Council, saying it would in no way advance Israeli-Palestinian bilateral negotiations.
Updated: June 23, 2016
On June 25, Abbas’ office issued a statement retracting his assertion on the poisoning of the water, saying, “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.”