JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued an apology Friday following uproar over a speech he made this week that was condemned as anti-Semitic and dismissive of Jewish historical connections to the Holy Land.
Palestinian officials said Abbas was under “tremendous” pressure from numerous diplomats and foreign ministers to apologize. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to talk to the media.
Abbas, in remarks that were part of a lengthy speech to the Palestine Liberation Organization parliament on Monday, said it was the Jews’ “social function,” including money lending, which caused animosity toward them in Europe. He also described the creation of Israel as a European colonial project, saying “history tells us there is no basis for the Jewish homeland.”
The Palestinian president’s remarks were sharply condemned by the United Nations, European Union, United States, Israel and others as perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes and falsifying history.