Olaf Scholz criticized Palestinian president’s comparison of Israeli policy towards Arabs and Holocaust
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz denounced a remark made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at an earlier joint press conference. Scholz had come under fire for not challenging the comment on Tuesday, when Abbas accused Israel of carrying out multiple “holocaustsagainst the Palestinians.
“I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud #Abbas. For us, Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable,Scholz tweeted in English on Wednesday.
I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks of Palestinian President Mahmoud #Abbas. For us, Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.
– Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz (@Bundeskanzler) August 17, 2022
At their joint press conference in Berlin on Tuesday, a reporter suggested that Abbas should apologize for the murder of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Olympics. The president replied: “From 1947 to the present, Israel has committed 50 massacres in Palestinian villages and towns, in Deir Yassin, Tantura, Kafr Qasim and many others – 50 massacres, 50 holocausts.”
As cameras captured Scholz grimacing at this unconventional use of the word “holocaust,he remained silent at the time.
However, later in the day, the chancellor addressed the ‘holocausts’ comment when speaking to German media outlet Bild before making his stance known on Twitter the following day.
Nevertheless, his failure to respond to the comment during the press conference caused an outpouring of criticism in the country.
Christoph Heubner, executive vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee (IAC), said he was surprised that “the German part… authorized [Abbas’] comments on the Holocaust remain unchallenged.”
Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, described Scholz’s silence at the press conference as “scandalous.”
Its spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said Wednesday that the “the Chancellor regrets not having intervened… during the press conference yesterday afternoon.”
Abbas’ comment was also criticized in Israel, where Prime Minister Yair Lapid described the remark as “not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie.”
Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of committing “50 Holocausts” while standing on German soil is not just 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.
— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) August 16, 2022
Also on Wednesday, the Palestinian president clarified that his comment was not intended to “deny the specificity of the Holocaust.”
The controversial remark came less than two weeks after the Israel Defense Forces carried out Operation Breaking Dawn in Gaza, targeting leaders of the Islamic Jihad militant group. The Israeli army has subjected the densely populated area to massive airstrikes.
According to Israel, a total of 49 Palestinians were killed as a result. Israeli authorities claim to have killed several senior Islamic Jihad commanders.