BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has come under fire for his slow condemnation of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s remarks that downplayed the Holocaust.
Asked at a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin on Tuesday whether he planned to apologize and help with a full investigation into the deadly 1972 Munich Olympics terror attack by a militant group Palestinian, Abbas evaded the question, claiming instead that Israel had inflicted “50 holocausts” on Palestine since 1947.
“If we want to dig deeper into the past, yes, please, I have 50 massacres that were committed by Israel. Which have also been recorded in documentaries… 50 massacres, 50 holocausts, and to this day, every day we have dead people killed by the [Israeli Defense Forces]by the Israeli army,” Abbas said.
Scholz, who minutes earlier had dismissed Abbas’s use of the term “apartheid” to describe Israel’s Palestinian policies, looked displeased, but the press conference ended shortly after Abbas’s remark and the men shook hands before leaving the stage.
Later Tuesday, Scholz told tabloid Bild that “for us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable,” but the damage of his non-response was already done.
“An incredible event at the Chancellery” struck down Friedrich Merz, leader of the Christian Democratic opposition (CDU), on Tuesday evening. “The Chancellor should have contradicted the Palestinian president unequivocally and asked him to leave the house!
“Scholz grimaces but is silent,” wrote The Times of Israel in one headline.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday evening accused Abbas of “not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie” for making the comments “on German soil”, adding that “history will never forgive him”, given that six million Jews were killed in the ‘Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany.
Wednesday morning Scholz tweeted his sentencing, echoing Lapid’s incisive comment.
“I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the uniqueness of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust,” he wrote.