Abbas Returns to Past Rhetoric for Which He Was Accused of anti-Semitism, Says Israeli President

Rivlin makes the comments to a visiting AIPAC delegation, in which he thanked them for their contribution to Israel's prosperity

Abbas speaks during a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 14, 2018.
REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

President Reuven Rivlin said Monday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had reengaged with ideas for which he had in the past been accused of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

On Sunday, Abbas said that Israel had killed the Oslo Accords, called U.S. President Donald Trump's Mideast peace plan "a slap in the face" and said that Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism.

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File photo: President Reuven Rivlin speaks at the Peres Peace Center, Tel Aviv.
Moti Milrod

Rivlin made the comments in a meeting with a visiting AIPAC delegation in Jerusalem on Monday. Representatives of both the Democrat and Republican parties from all over the United States, led by AIPAC President Lillian Pincus, participated in the meeting.

Rivlin thanked the delegation for the organization's contribution, from its inception, to Israel's prosperity. "The true strength of AIPAC was and will continue to be its people. You and many of you, from all over the United States make AIPAC what it is, a wonderful organization."

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Referring to comments made Sunday by Abbas, Rivin said: "What we heard last night from Mahmoud Abbas was terrible. He returned to ideas he had expressed decades ago that were no less terrible. To say that Israel is the result of the Western conspiracy to settle Jews in Arab lands? To say that the Jewish people have no connection to the land of Israel?

"He said exactly what he had been accused of years ago with anti-Semitism and denial of the Holocaust. These are exactly the things that block us [from making any progress].

"In his words, he denies our return to our homeland, even though Abu Mazen also knows very well that the Koran itself mentions the recognition of the Land of Israel as our land. Without this basic recognition, we cannot build trust and advance.

With regard to Israel's achievements and the challenges facing the country in what will be its 70th year of independence, the president said that he is proud of Israel's success in a wide range of fields, from academia to economics.

The president noted the importance of mutual trust and cooperation between the various populations living together in Israel and the important role of Diaspora Jewry as a full partner in this endeavor.