BBC Outdoes New York Times by Ignoring Abbas’ Antisemitic Libel
On June 23, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas addressed the EU parliament, and among his remarks was one in particular that made headlines at international media outlets.
The New York Times reported:
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.
He made the unsubstantiated allegation during a speech to the European Parliament on Thursday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday accused Israeli rabbis 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.
Abbas’s remarks, in a speech to the European parliament, did not appear on the official transcript issued by his office, suggesting he may have spoken off the cuff as he condemned Israeli actions against Palestinians amid stalled peace talks.
Israel accused the Palestinian president of libelling the Jewish people after he charged Thursday that rabbis had called for Palestinian wells to be poisoned.
During a speech to the European Parliament, Abbas said, in apparently unscripted Arabic remarks, that recently “a number of rabbis in Israel made a clear declaration and asked their government to poison water to kill the Palestinians”.
He cited the accusation, without giving any source, as part of an attack against what he said was Israeli incitement against the Palestinians.
The Washington Post ran the headline, “Palestinian president uses anti-Semitic trope against Israel in E.U. speech“.
Abbas’ libel was based on a story invented by the PLO (which he of course also heads) that prompted false accusations days earlier from one of his government’s offices; this lie was also promoted on official PA TV:
Two days after the Brussels speech, Abbas walked back his preposterous libel.
To date, there has been no stand-alone BBC reporting on Abbas’ public promotion of that antisemitic blood libel or of his refusal to meet the Israeli president who was also in Brussels at the same time. The BBC News website’s “Parliaments” page includes an item headlined “Rivlin and Abbas address MEPs” but the page to which it links includes no mention of Abbas’ racist canard.