FRESH AIR

At OIC summit, Abbas crosses a line into apparent antisemitism and rejectionism

Dec 15, 2017 | Ahron Shapiro

At OIC summit
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In the aftermath of the US announcement on December 6 recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the intent to move their Israeli embassy there, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has opened up a diplomatic attack on Israel, spearheaded by many Muslim states.

The website for the General Delegation of the Palestinian Authority to Australia has posted the speech that Abbas delivered at the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on December 13.

However, during the speech, Abbas deviated from his prepared remarks often, at times even dabbling in Islamist antisemitic tropes and historical revisionism.

About 30 minutes and 30 seconds into his speech, Abbas claimed the Palestinians descended from the Canaanites. This claim actually appears in his prepared remarks.
(Overwheming evidence disputes this claim. Meanwhile, virtually every prominent Palestinian clan have family names that originated outside of the Holy Land. A recent genetic study, however, did find some Canaanite ancestry among some Lebanese.)

Abbas said, adhering to his prepared remarks:

Yes, women and men believe in our right and God’s promise to us, that this holy Palestinian city and since it was founded by the Canaanite Jebusites five thousand years ago were not and will not be other than the capital of our independent state and the sovereign the State of Palestine;

At this point, Abbas put down his speech and began speaking off the cuff.

By the way, I don’t want to discuss religion or history because they [the Jews] are really excellent in faking and counterfeiting history and religion. But if we read the Torah it says that the Canaanites were there before the time of our prophet Abraham and their [Canaanite] existence continued since that time, this is in the Torah itself. But if they would like to fake this history, they are really masters in this and it is mentioned in the holy Quran they fabricate truth and they try to do that and they believe in that but we have been there in this location for thousands of years.

Even his prepared speech, as it stands, was much more hostile to Israel than most local and international media reported.

SBS, for example, ran a modified AFP story on their website that only reported on Abbas’ rejection of the US as a mediator in the conflict.

However, Abbas went much further than that, laying out 13 demands or actionable talking points – the third of which was “that the countries of the world review their recognition of the State of Israel as long as it persists in violating the rules of international law and violating all international resolutions since its establishment in 1948.”

Meanwhile Abbas’ 12th point was that the PA now considers itself unbound by the Oslo Agreement.

On a related note, the Jerusalem Post‘s Seth Frantzman noted in an analysis on December 14 that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates did not attend the summit – a fact which suggests that the Saudi-allied bloc has far more of a problem with Iran’s desire to project their influence on Muslim affairs than they do with the US announcement.

Ahron Shapiro

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