German and Israeli leaders on Wednesday condemned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for trivializing the Holocaust, a day after Abbas on a visit to Germany said that Israel has committed “50 holocausts” against the Palestinians since the formation of the state. His statement was a response to a question about the 50th anniversary of the massacre of the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics committed by the Palestinian terror group Black September, and he said the word holocaust in English.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who stood beside Abbas when he made the remark, scowled, but did not respond. But on Wednesday he tweeted: “For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”
During the same press appearance, Scholz publicly pushed back against Abbas’ use of the term “apartheid” to describe Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians. “Naturally we have a different assessment with a view to Israeli politics, and I want to expressly say here that I do not espouse the use of the word ‘apartheid’ and do not think it correctly describes the situation,” Scholz said.
Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid also spoke out against the remarks, tweeting: Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of having committed ‘50 Holocausts’ while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie. Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, including one and a half million Jewish children. History will never forgive him.”
Abbas on Wednesday in a statement clarified his remarks, saying that he does not deny the “singularity of the Holocaust” and “condemned it in the strongest terms.” What he was describing, the statement said, “are the crimes and massacres committed against the Palestinian people since the Nakba at the hands of the Israeli forces. These crimes have not stopped to this day.”