(September 20, 2018 / JNS) It was just four months ago that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech that even critics of Israel acknowledged was anti-Semitic. Yet now, several Jewish ex-State Department officials are demanding that the U.S. government give him $200 million.
Abbas’s disgraceful tirade was said on May 1. He said the Jews in Europe provoked the Holocaust because of their “social function” as money lenders. He blamed Jews for communism, claiming that Josef Stalin was a secret Jew. He said that today’s Jews are not authentically Jewish, but are actually descendants from a medieval Turkish tribe. And he purported that there were never any pogroms in Arab countries.
Note that this was not some drunken rant in a bar. Abbas delivered prepared remarks to an official session of the legislature of the Palestine Liberation Organization, of which he serves as chairman. (He is also chairman of the Palestinian Authority, in the 13th year of a four-year term, in addition to the head of the Fatah Party. Busy guy!)
Abbas’s address was so blatantly bigoted that even passionate supporters of the Palestinian cause acknowledged that he is an anti-Semite.
The New York Times, for example, reported that Abbas’s remarks were “laced with deeply anti-Semitic tropes.” Nickolay E. Mladenov, the United Nations’ special coordinator for the Middle East, said Abbas was “perpetuating conspiracy theories that fuel anti-Semitism.”
Americans for Peace Now charged that Abbas made “vile anti-Semitic statements.” J Street admitted that Abbas’s address “featured absurd anti-Semitic tropes and deeply offensive comments on the history of the Jewish people and Israel.”
But now that Abbas’s anti-Semitism has temporarily faded from the headlines, the Jewish ex-State Department crowd has returned to one of their favorite pastimes: demanding U.S. money for this lunatic.
Writing in The Hill last week, veteran U.S. “peace processors” David Makovsky and Dennis Ross, together with ex-diplomat Dave Harden, bemoaned the recent U.S. government decision to reduce aid to the Palestinian Authority. They called for immediate restoration of $200 million of that aid.
Makovsky, Ross and Harden are not spearheading a crowdfunding effort to raise the money. No, they expect American taxpayers to pick up the tab. Exactly as American taxpayers have already provided more than $10 billion to the Palestinian Arabs since 1993.
Now these three advocates are certainly aware that a recently passed U.S. law, the Taylor Force Act, prohibits sending funds to the Palestinian Authority as long as the P.A. continues to pay salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families.
And they know that the P.A. has loudly and repeatedly said that it will never stop paying terrorists.
So Makovsky, et al, believe that they have come up with a clever solution—a way to evade the U.S. law. They propose that the $200 million be given directly to what they call “humanitarian programs” in P.A.-controlled territory, rather than to the P.A. itself.
Sorry, Makovsky and company, but you’re not fooling anybody. Everybody knows that such money is fungible. Giving $200 million “directly” to specific programs just means that the P.A. won’t have to pay for those programs itself. Either way you look at it, it’s still a $200 million gift to a regime headed by a raving anti-Semite.
For the past 25 years, successive U.S. administrations tried the approach advocated by Makovsky, Ross and Harden. It didn’t work. That $10 billion has not brought us one inch closer to peace. Instead, both the Palestinian leadership and the public remain unwaveringly committed to hatred of Jews and war against Israel.
It’s time for a different approach.
Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” will be published later this year.