For the second time in as many days, visiting French President Emmanuel Macron inadvertently called into question the assertion that he’s here to commemorate the Holocaust and combat antisemitism.
On Wednesday, Macron denied entry to a French-owned church in Jerusalem’s Old City to Israeli security guards tasked with protecting him. While it might technically have been a matter of protocol, throwing Jews out of a church is never a good look, especially for those claiming to stand against antisemitism.
That same night, Macron headed off to Ramallah for a friendly visit with the Holocaust-denying president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
In a strongly-worded letter sent to Macron, Israeli journalist-turned-politician Sarah Beck (United Jewish Home) wrote:
“As a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and of a grandfather who served as a rabbi and a colonel in the French army, I feel that your visit to the Muqata [Palestinian headquarters in Ramallah], where Arafat, who has the blood of masses of Jews on his hands is buried, and with Abbas, the Holocaust-denier, as part of the Holocaust memorial event, is like bringing the executioner into the mourner’s home.
“It cannot be that your visit involves such a severe moral distortion, in which you pay homage to those who have raised the banner of killing Jews.
Your visit [to the Palestinian leadership] desecrates the event.”
He’s not alone
Nor was Macron the only foreign ruler scheduled to meet with Abbas.
Though the 45 or so kings, princes and presidents are officially in town to participate in the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, many have other items on the agenda, too.
Some visiting dignitaries are wary of looking biased by not giving equal attention to the Palestinian leadership. And so, joining Macron in granting Abbas some face time will be Russian President Vladimir Putin, heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles, and Australian Governor-General David Hurley.
Holocaust-denier par excellence
Abbas has made a career of denying the scale, if not the veracity of the Nazi Holocaust against the Jewish people.
His Ph.D. dissertation was titled “The Connection Between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement 1933-1945.”
Yes, Abbas is literally a doctor of historical revisionism and antisemitism.
In more recent years, Abbas has paid lip service to commemorating the Holocaust, at least when the world is listening. He slipped up in 2018, when Abbas told the Palestinian National Council that “Jewish greed” had made the Europeans hate them, leading to the Holocaust.
Since he was speaking in Arabic, Abbas no doubt assumed that the world wasn’t paying attention.
Meanwhile, his official government mouthpieces continue to say in Arabic that the Holocaust never happened, or alternative that the Jews deserved it.
One poignant example from the past year involved Abbas’ own Fatah party posting to its official Facebook page a shameful justification of the slaughter of Europe’s Jewish population.
The post included three photos of mass graves along with a brief account of a Nazi officer ordering Jewish prisoners to bury Russian captives alive. The Jews eagerly complied with the order, at which point the Nazi officer pulled the Russians out of the ditch and pushed the Jews in. He then told the Russians, “I just wanted you to know who the Jews are and why we are killing them!” The clear implication being that Jews are self-serving and deserve to die.
That’s the Palestinian leadership, and it does not deserve the attention of world leaders who claim to stand against antisemitism.