The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) strongly condemns President Mahmoud Abbas for his outrageous comments delivered at the UN General Assembly during a “Nakba Day” event, in which he engaged in historical revisionism and unjustly blamed Britain and the United States for the plight of the Palestinian people. Abbas’s remarks reflect a deeply flawed and distorted understanding of history and fail to acknowledge the complex realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The NJA applauds the UK, along with over 45 other countries, for boycotting the “Nakba Day” event at which Abbas spoke. In boycotting this event, the UK, USA, Ukraine, and other states sent an important message that they would not tolerate listening to a hate-filled speech, laced with lies and antisemitism, and historical distortion.
Abbas conveniently overlooks the fact that the period surrounding the establishment of Israel witnessed the creation of numerous nation-states and the displacement of tens of millions of refugees, all of whom were resettled in host countries. It is disingenuous to single out Israel and question its legitimacy while ignoring the historical context in which it was created.
Furthermore, Abbas fails to recognise the millennia of Jewish indigeneity in the land of Israel. Jewish history and connection to the region are deeply rooted and cannot be dismissed or diminished. To deny the Jewish people’s ancient ties to their ancestral homeland is ahistorical, blatantly counterfactual, and antisemitic at its core.
The NJA denounces Abbas’ use of a Nazi analogy when he stated in his speech that Israel lies like Joseph Goebbels, the notorious Nazi propaganda chief. His comments unequivocally contravene the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism. The NJA notes that several UN member states who attended the Nakba event have also adopted the IHRA working definition, yet willingly attended an event that would contravene it.
It is deeply concerning that Abbas chooses to agitate and slander two of the most generous donors to the Palestinian cause, namely Britain and the United States, more than a century after the Balfour Declaration. These countries have played significant roles in supporting the Palestinian people, providing aid, and advocating for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Blaming and maligning them undermines the spirit of cooperation and goodwill necessary for meaningful progress.
Moreover, it is essential to highlight that Palestinian leadership bears the significant majority share of responsibility for the current situation. Abbas’s predecessors and the Palestinian leadership as a whole have made numerous successive failings that not only harm their own constituents, but also do nothing to advance peace. It is shameful that Abbas would attempt to acquit himself and absolve the corrupt Palestinian leadership of its own failings.
The NJA calls on the government of the United Kingdom to denounce these profoundly incorrect statements and to demand introspection, accountability, and a commitment to peaceful coexistence from Palestinian leaders.
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