Ron Klein, chair of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), issued the following statement in response to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ incendiary comments over the weekend on Israel, the United States and the peace process:
We condemn the anti-Semitic remarks made this weekend at a summit of the Palestinian leadership by President Mahmoud Abbas.
Speaking on Sunday to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Central Council, Abbas spent over two hours presenting a warped, revisionist history of the state of Israel. According to Abbas, Theodor Herzl was little more than an agent of colonialism, and Israel has “nothing to do with the Jews.” Abbas distorted the history of the Holocaust by shamefully claiming Jews would have chosen to died in Europe rather than immigrate to pre-state Israel. He dismissed the possibility of a two-state solution, declaring the Oslo Accords dead. He scorned the United States, and said of American foreign aid, “keep your damn money.”
Abbas’ sentiments epitomize the rejectionist agenda that has led Palestinian and Arab leaders for too long to scuttle good-faith negotiations with Israel aimed at ending the conflict. His words do nothing to help Palestinians who strive to live in an independent state alongside Israel, and empower extremists within his own ranks to undermine the peace process and encourage violence against Israelis.
Such wrong-headed and ill-mannered statements demonstrate that it is time for Abbas — who long exhausted the four-year term he was elected to in 2005 — to retire, and make room for a Palestinian leader who is a credible peace partner.
We are frustrated with the lack of progress in reaching a two-state solution that guarantees an independent state for Palestinians living side-by-side in lasting security with Israelis. Despite these vitriolic, anti-Semitic and dangerous remarks from President Abbas, the U.S. government must do more to maintain security and lay the groundwork for peace.