President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine came under fire, on Wednesday, for comments in which he said the genocide of Jews in Europe by the Nazis was not because of the Jewish religion, but because of the Jews’ role in bank lending.
“Abbas’s body is drenched with Anti-Semitism, from head to toe,” right-wing Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, said in a statement, on Wednesday.
“He fills the minds of the next generation with the poison of Anti-Semitism,’’ the minister added.
On Monday, in a rambling speech, Abbas said that “hostility against Jews is not because of their religion, but rather their social function.”
Jews were massacred in Europe because of their “social function related to interest and banks.”
Bennett’s comments joined a chorus of backlash from the Anti-Defamation League and the U.S. ambassador to Israel, who said that Abbas has “reached a new low.’’
The 83-year-old Palestinian president has long faced accusations of Holocaust denial based on his doctoral thesis, which accused the Zionist movement of collaborating with the Nazis.
He said that the widely accepted figure of six million Jewish deaths during the Holocaust is exaggerated.
In 2014, Abbas called the Holocaust “the most heinous crime” in modern history.