The statement prompted the socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, to strip Mahmoud Abbas of the French capital’s top medal.
– Abbas may no longer hold the Grand Vermeil medal awarded to him in 2015 after he “justified the extermination of Europe’s Jews” during World War II, Hidalgo’s office told the AFP news agency. “The comments you made are contrary to our universal values and the historical truth of the Shoah,” Hidalgo wrote in a letter to Abbas Thursday 7 September. The letter stated: “You may therefore no longer hold this award.”
Abbas’ claims are not new. In the 1980s, while he was an agent of the Soviet intelligence service KGB, Mahmoud Abbas earned his doctorate on Holocaust denial (“The Secret Relationship between Nazism and Zionism”) at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. He has also written an entire book that trivializes the persecution of Jews during the Second World War.
On February 1,1972, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union issued a directive on “further measures to combat the anti-Soviet and anti-communist activities of international Zionism,” wrote Izabella Tabarovsky, a senior researcher at the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, in the Jewish journal, ‘Tablet’ at the beginning of the year.
The Social Sciences Section of the Soviet Academy of Sciences soon established a permanent commission for the coordination of scholarly criticism of Zionism at the academy’s prestigious Institute of Oriental Studies (IOS) in Moscow.
For the next 15 years, IOS would serve as a key partner in the Communist state’s fight against the “global Zionist conspiracy” that Soviet security services believed was sabotaging the Soviet Union internationally and domestically. In 1982, Mahmoud Abbas received doctoral student status precisely at IOS, noted Tabarovsky.
Abbas’ falsification of history
It was the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) that in September translated and published Abbas’ anti-Semitic speech. In his address, the Palestinian leader said that Hitler attacked the European Jews because of their usury and money-dealing and that the Holocaust was not about anti-Semitism.
He also claimed that Jews from Arab countries did not really want to emigrate after the establishment of the Jewish state, but were forced to do so by Israel. Abbas claimed that Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, had not wanted Jews from Arab countries to immigrate to Israel, but was forced to accept them at Churchill’s urging, because there were no more Jews left in Europe.
He said Ben Gurion carried out attacks on Jewish institutions in Arab countries to persuade them to emigrate. Abbas continued: “The Jews did not want to emigrate but were forced to do so through pressure, coercion and murder.”