Palestine’s Fatah denies Israeli ‘anti-Semitism’ claims

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    The Palestinian Fatah movement on Thursday denied Israeli accusations that recent remarks by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (who leads Fatah) were “anti-Semitic” in nature.

    In a statement, Fatah rejected the allegation, saying that “anti-Semitism is not in line with our movement’s ethics and culture”.

    “Fatah’s leader [Abbas] has been struggling for decades to achieve national independence by peaceful means,” the statement quoted Fatah spokesman Jamal Nazzal as saying.

    According to Nazzal, Abbas has ensured that the Palestinian resistance against Israel’s decades-long occupation did not have a religious component.

    On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described remarks made by Abbas at an ongoing meeting of the Palestinian National Council as “anti-Semitic”.

    At the meeting, which is still underway in Ramallah, Abbas said Jews were persecuted in Europe last century because of their “professions” and not because of their religion per se.

    “It was not because of their religion,” he said, “but because of [the practice of] lending money [at interest] and banking”.

    “The proof of this is that there were Jews [living] in all Arab countries,” Abbas said, going on to assert that Jews had lived in the Arab world for some 1,400 years without facing religious persecution.

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