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May 22, 2018 3:57 pm

Scholar: Abbas Deliberately Chose to Be Photographed With Antisemitic Cartoon

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reads a newspaper inside a hospital in Ramallah, May 21, 2018. Photo: Palestinian President Office (PPO) / Handout via Reuters.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas deliberately chose to be photographed reading a newspaper with an antisemitic cartoon facing the camera, a Middle East scholar has revealed.

The photograph, taken in Abbas’ hospital room, where he was being treated for an ear infection and pneumonia, shows him reading a PA newspaper. Clearly visible is a cartoon showing an Israeli soldier poisoning a Palestinian baby.

Edy Cohen of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies told The Algemeiner, “I just spoke with several people very close to Mahmoud Abbas, and it was explicitly told to me that Abbas picked the only [newspaper] where that cartoon was large. … So I understand that he chose it deliberately, because we’re talking about the biggest cartoon there was, so it would be seen. It’s a subliminal message.”

The photo, Cohen said, was “a message to his people. Abbas is not a child. He’s old. He’s going to meet his maker. But he wants to go out as a hero. And the message he’s sending is ‘Even if I’m in the hospital, I’m against the Jews. I’m against Israel.’”

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Cohen sees the move as a symptom of a deeper problem with Abbas’ attitude toward Jews. Citing Abbas’ book The Other Face, which denies the Holocaust, Cohen stated, “You cannot be a Holocaust denier without being antisemitic. It goes together.”

In recent weeks, Abbas has made several statements considered openly antisemitic, including that the Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves and that there was no Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.

“Abbas from the beginning to today was against the Jews,” Cohen said, “and he always hid it. After Oslo, of course he hid it. But now, when there is no political process, he has no problem with it.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper — associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center — agreed that the photograph was a deliberate choice on Abbas’ part. Asked by The Algemeiner whether he thought the picture was staged, Cooper replied, “Of course. No question about it.”

Cooper believed the photo was part of an ongoing ideological campaign against Jews and the State of Israel. It showed, he said, “how deep is the cancer of hatred the Palestinian Authority president harbors for the Jewish state, her people and values.”

“The validation of that cartoon by him exposes how little difference there is between the PA and Hamas,” Cooper continued. “Both continue to brainwash a new generation of children that Israelis are interlopers and latter-day Nazis. The big lie tactics employed in the so-called ‘marches of return’ gained the Palestinians nothing of practical value, with the exception that the man in the street in Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East is convinced that Jews are baby killers, cold-blooded murderers who deserve whatever terrorist or other bombing attacks are inflicted on Jews, inside Israel and/or around the world.”

Particularly disturbing, said Cooper, was the use of a visual image to further this campaign. Recounting a study undertaken in the 1980s on antisemitic Soviet cartoons, he stated, “We saw that the impact, the emotional impact of a powerful cartoon, good or bad, was in under two seconds. And much more long-lasting than any op-ed or article that may have accompanied it. … At the end of the day, by posing with that image, the message, the emotional message to the Palestinian people is just reinforcing the idea that Israelis are interlopers, inhuman, baby killers. … It is pornographic, really.”

The result, he added, was “the brainwashing of another generation.”

“If that’s the legacy of a sick old man that maybe is on his last breath as the leader of the Palestinian people, it just speaks volumes,” Cooper lamented. “This is a man who’s led his people right into the abyss.”

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