Abbas’s speech on Holocaust anti-Semitic: Netanyahu

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for giving what he considered to be an anti-Semitic speech.

The Israeli premier condemned the Palestinian leader’s statements made during a Monday speech in Ramallah in which Abbas said that the persecution of Jews in Europe was the result of social and financial issues and was not perpetrated for religious reasons, Efe reported.

“With utmost ignorance and brazen gall, he claimed that European Jews were persecuted and murdered not because they were Jews but because they gave loans with interest,” Netanyahu said.

Abbas claimed that the widespread persecution of Jews in Europe and Germany leading up to World War II was not because of their religious beliefs but instead because Jews were moneylending bankers who charged high interest rates.

The Palestinian president said that the best evidence for this claim is that Jews were not persecuted in the Arab countries where they used to live.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, appealed to the international community to condemn Abbas’s “severe anti-Semitism; the time has come for it to pass from the world”.