Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas – almost always incorrectly described as a “moderate” in Western media – was recently shown in a photo released by his government reading an official PA newspaper that displayed a large anti-Semitic cartoon portraying an Israeli soldier murdering a Palestinian baby.
The PA released the photo of Abbas reading the authority’s Al-Hayat Al-Jadid newspaper with the cartoon, ostensibly to show that the 82-year-old president, who was hospitalized, was doing well. But the decision to show Abbas with a cartoon depicting a hideous-looking Israeli soldier murdering a Palestinian baby – by giving the infant a bottle filled with poison – was no accident.
The photo’s message to Palestinians could not have been clearer: Abbas and the PA consider the Jews of Israel – who lost 6 million of their co-religionists to Nazi murderers in the Holocaust – to be now acting like Nazis themselves. Just as Jews were killed with poison gas in Nazi death camps, Jewish soldiers are now using poison to kill Palestinian babies, the cartoon falsely claims.
A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted the photo of Abbas with the newspaper and wrote quite accurately that the anti-Semitic cartoon is “reminiscent of Nazi cartoons” that fueled German anti-Semitism in the1930s.
The larger message of the Abbas photo for Israel and its people –who hope and pray fervently for a just and equitable peace with their Palestinian neighbors – is that Abbas is not a real partner for peace. This is a tragedy not just for Israelis but also for the long-suffering Palestinian people, whose suffering is caused chiefly by the refusal of their own leaders to abandon anti-Semitic hatred and accept the extended hand of Israelis to make reasonable compromises needed to reach a peace agreement.
Abbas posed for the photo just days after the deadly May 14 riot at the border security fence that separates Gaza from Israel. The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas mobilized as many as 50,000 Palestinians along the fence and sought to cut through the barrier to launch attacks designed to murder Israeli civilians.
Israeli troops used maximum restraint, but were forced to fire their guns on a relatively small number of the rioters to prevent the fence from being breached, killing 62. Hamas later admitted that 53 of those killed were members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists groups. And Palestinian rioters interviewed in the media said they intended to kill Israeli civilians had they succeeded in breaching the security fence.
By posing for the photo with the abhorrent cartoon, Abbas also sent a message of solidarity to Palestinians in Gaza who participated in the Hamas-led ill-fated riots. If a picture is worth a thousand words, he communicated that when it comes to demonizing Jews, there is little daylight between Hamas and the PA. This is a desperate attempt by Abbas to win back support from Palestinians who long ago stopped supporting him and his corrupt PA.
In addition, by promoting the Big Lie equating Jews and Nazis, Abbas was signaling the Arab and Muslim streets that Palestinians deserve broad support for standing up against a ruthless Zionist enemy that is murdering Arabs.
Already, Israeli journalists have been roughed up on the streets of Istanbul by Turkish citizens accusing them of being baby killers. And the stage is set for the next series of "understandable" terrorist assaults on Jews, whether in Israel, Europe, or North America.
Abbas is betting that the European Union leaders and global nongovernmental organizations will say and do nothing in the face of the Gaza riots and his posing with the anti-Semitic cartoon. He’s been around a long time and knows that Palestinians can count on continued sympathy for their cause, no matter what they do.
In addition, posing with the anti-Semitic cartoon was a direct slap by Abbas to the face of President Trump for the U.S. president’s support for Israel and for having the audacity to actually move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem this month. Abbas is signaling President Trump that as long as he is the head of the Palestinian Authority, he will reject any peace proposal brokered by the United States.
Indeed, despite years of international efforts to make peace between Arabs and Israelis, and despite Israel offering major concessions to achieve peace with the Palestinians, Abbas and other key PA leaders remain unrepentant Jew-haters.
Abbas knows full well the implications of declaring Israelis guilty of a modern-day blood libel of child murder – by poisoning a baby, no less. Looking at this photo, Israelis and Jews the world over recoil in shock and revulsion and are forced to recognize that Abbas will never be a peace partner or nation builder. In his old age, he has chosen his legacy – not as the George Washington of his people, but as an irreconcilable anti-Semitic hater.
Abbas has a long and well-documented history of Holocaust denial and blatantly expressed hatred for Jews going back decades. His 1982 doctoral dissertation was titled “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism,” in which he made the crackpot claim that Jews cooperated with the Nazis and that many fewer than 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.
And just last month Abbas delivered a speech saying the Jews caused the Holocaust by their own behavior and that “Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with the Jews” that was created because “Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region.” He also denied that the Jewish people – who established their national capital in Jerusalem 3,000 years ago – have any historic ties to Israel. These are all blatant lies and Abbas knows it.
Sadly, the embrace and promotion of history's oldest hatred by Abbas is dooming another generation of young Palestinians to embrace fanaticism and to believe that their Israeli neighbors are interlopers and devils who can be forced out their homes.
The message of the cartoon is conveyed every day in Palestinian schools funded by the United Nations, poisoning the minds of five generations of children. These schools of hate teach Palestinian children from the earliest age that Jews and Israelis are their enemies, who must be driven out of “occupied Palestine” – meaning every square inch of Israel, not just the land held by Israel since its victory in the 1967 Six Day War.
Even if Mahmoud Abbas was in perfect physical health, at the age of 82 he shows all the signs of suffering from the oldest form of cancer of the soul – incurable and malignant anti-Semitism. And he is doing his best, in his final hurrah, to spread this evil cancer far and wide, from generation to generation, visiting an awful plague upon the Palestinian people that is causing them far more harm than Israel and the Jewish people ever did.