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May 19, 2023 10:10 am

Holocaust Distortion, Erased: Major News Outlets Omit Palestinian Leader’s Antisemitism From Reports

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avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld


Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas arrives to address the 77th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

On May 15, 2023, Palestinians around the world marked the 75th anniversary of what they call the “Nakba” — the “catastrophe” of Israel’s rebirth in 1948 and the failure of five Arab armies to destroy the nascent Jewish state in a subsequent war of annihilation.

Much of the ensuing media coverage focused on Monday’s United Nations (UN) Nakba commemoration, held at the UN’s premises in New York.

Among other high-level attendees, the first-of-its-kind event featured an hour-long speech by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who, in his usual antisemitic fashion, used the international podium to promote anti-Jewish tropes and conspiracy theories.

While proclaiming he is “not against Jews,” the octogenarian PA leader compared Israelis to Nazi politician Joseph Goebbels, who served as Adolf Hitler’s chief propagandist before and during the Holocaust era.

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“They can’t but lie. But what can we do? They lie and lie, just like Goebbels. They lie, lie, and lie until people believe,” Abbas told diplomats at the event, which Israel and 44 other countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, had announced they would boycott.

In an unhinged rant, Abbas furthermore claimed to be a descendant of the ancient Canaanites as “proven in all historical books, including the Torah [Bible].” He declared that both the Western Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem belong “exclusively” to the Islamic Waqf, and voiced the idea that Britain should have given the Jewish people “another island somewhere else.”

“I like Trump, but I boycotted Trump for four years,” Abbas then laughed, shortly before calling Israel’s independence a “lie” and ending his speech by “salut[ing], with pride, our martyrs, our prisoners, and the injured.”

Abbas’ assertion that Israelis lie “like Goebbels” not only downplays the systematic and industrialized murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany and their allies, but also flagrantly breaches the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which some 40 UN members have endorsed. In fact, the IHRA explicitly notes that “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” can be considered antisemitism.

It is similarly important to note that the Palestinian leader’s World War II comparison is disconnected from reality: According to the PA’s own Central Bureau of Statistics, there were 1.4 million Palestinians when Israel was established in 1948. By 2020, that figure had risen to 13.4 million.

Yet in a seeming attempt to blatantly sanitize Abbas’ incessant diplomatic antisemitism, prominent news organizations like The New York Times, the Associated PressAgence France-PresseABC News, The Los Angeles Times, and United Press International simply omitted the outrageous remarks, which were widely reported in the Israeli and Jewish press.

This attempt to cover up Abbas’ Jew hatred is reminiscent of a disturbing incident last summer, when large swaths of the media buried Abbas’ shocking claim during a press conference in Germany that the Jewish state has somehow perpetrated “50 Holocausts.”

As the fraudulent Nakba narrative has seemingly taken the world stage by storm, journalists’ refusal to call out bare-faced Holocaust distortion reveals an ever-deepening rot in the media’s coverage of Israel and the Jewish people.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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