In a controversial interview prior to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's arrival in the U.S. this past Sunday, President Obama and Bloomberg's Jeffrey Goldberg sat down to discuss a variety of issues on the Middle East.
One of the overlooked parts of the exchange came on President Obama's highly favorable view of PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
In a new book out yesterday titled "The Israeli Solution: A One State Plan for Peace in the Middle East," Caroline Glick, an American Israeli who is deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post and a former assistant foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu demolishes Obama's view on account of Abbas' explicit and consistent rejection of peace and Israel's right to exist, support of terrorists (including his own alleged financing of the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre) and Holocaust conspiracism/denial.
First, here is the exchange between Obama and Goldberg on Abbas:
Obama: [Abbas] has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this [the Israeli-Palestinian] issue.
Goldberg: Do you believe he’s the most moderate person you’re going to find?
Obama: I believe that President Abbas is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist, to recognize Israel’s legitimate security needs, to shun violence, to resolve these issues in a diplomatic fashion that meets the concerns of the people of Israel.
Caroline Glick counters Obama's (not to mention George W. Bush's) views of Abbas in a section of her book titled "Phony Reformers and Totalitarian Democrats." Below are the three major points she cites that directly contradict the president's view of Abbas:
1. Explicit and consistent rejection of peace and Israel's right to exist
On Abbas' failure to even respond to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's comprehensive offer of peace and Palestinian statehood in 2008:
"In exchange for peace and an agreement that the Palestinian conflict with Israel was over, Olmert offered Abbas 94 percent of Judea and Samaria, and an additional 327 square kilometers of land within sovereign Israel adjacent to the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria. He offered the Palestinians sovereignty over the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and offered to transfer sovereignty over the Temple Mount and other sacred areas of Jerusalem's Old City to an international body. He offered a limited right of immigration to a truncated Israel to descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948-49.
...Abbas failed to respond to Olmert's offer. And although Olmert remained in office for seven months after he made the offer, Abbas refused to see him again."
On what followed (emphasis ours):
"After receiving Olmert's proposal, Abbas escalated the PLO's diplomatic war against Israel at the UN and internationally...
To this end, Abbas has undertaken two parallel policies. First, from 2008 through 2013 he refused to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or to allow his representatives to meet with Israeli negotiators and renew negotiations toward the establishment of a Palestinian state at peace with Israel. And even after talks were started in August 2013, Abbas insisted that they be carried out in complete secrecy to avoid popular criticism. Under his leadership, the Palestinians have become more, rather than less opposed to peaceful coexistence with Israel.
Second, he waged an unrelenting and reasonably successful campaign at the United Nations to achieve recognition of a sovereign state of Palestine outside the framework of a peace treaty with Israel...Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have used this [PLO] status upgrade [from observer mission to the UN to the level of nonmember observer state as a result of UN General Assembly approval of Resolution A/67/L.28] to argue that Israel has no right to any presence in Judea and Samaria--even though the agreements the PLO signed with Israel recognize the inherent legitimacy of Israel's presence in the areas.
Just weeks after the General Assembly passed the resolution upgrading the PLO's status, Palestinian forces in Judea and Samaria began actively interfering with IDF counterterror operations, claiming that the operations represented unlawful trespass on sovereign Palestinian territory.
In his statements to Israeli an Western audiences, Abbas claims that he is interested only in a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and Jerusalem. And yet in his letter to UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon [appended to the application for UN status upgrade of the PLO]...Abbas made no mention of those boundaries...he based his application on the lines of the UN's 1947 partition plan of the British Mandate for Palestine, which the Palestinians rejected when they were originally proposed...
In an a post on his official Facebook page from October 11, 2012, Abbas referred to all of Israel as occupied Palestine, making clear that he rejected Israel's right to exist within any borders. When discussing the pending UN vote on upgrading the PLO's status...Abbas wrote, "The [sought-for UN] recognition will not liberate the land the following day, but will prove that we are right that our land is occupied and not disputed territory, and this applies to all the territories that Israel occupied before June 1967" (emphasis added).
Abbas has not hidden the rejection of Israel's right to exist from Western audiences. Ahead of the [Condoleeza Rice-organized 2007] Annapolis Peace Summit...Abbas's chief negotiator...stated outright that the Palestinian Authority does not accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. Ignoring the fact that nearly every Arab state defines itself as "Islamic," Erekat told Israel Radio, "No state in the world connects its national identity to a religious identity," and therefore a specifically Jewish state has no right to exist."
2. Supporter of terrorism
On Abbas's support of the terrorist group Hamas following their electoral victories for the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006 [emphasis ours]:
"Following the Hamas victory, Abbas signed agreements to set up a unity government with Hamas on three separate occasions, despite the terror group's refusal to accept the legitimacy of the agreements with Israel or pay lip service to abjuring terrorism against Israel.
...Abbas also uses his position to glorify Palestinian terrorists as national heroes. In just one example, in October 2011, Israel agreed to release 1,027 terrorists jailed in Israeli prisons in exchange for Staff Sergeant Gilad Shalit, who had been kidnapped in June 2006 by a joint cell of terrorists from Fatah and Hamas. He was held hostage in Gaza for five and a half years by terrorists affiliated with Hamas.
After the deal went through, Abbas extolled the terrorists as heroes and role models for Palestinian children. In December 2011 Abbas traveled to Ankara where he met with twelve of the freed terrorists, including two convicted murderers who had been freed from prison and deported to Turkey as part of the Shalit ransom deal.
It is often argued that Abbas has no choice but to embrace terrorists, give the popularity of terrorists...in Palestinian society. But if that is the case...It is immaterial whether Abbas is a moderate with no choice other than to support terrorism, or a radical who supports terrorism because he believes in it. The whole rationale for U.S. support for Abbas is the belief that he is able and willing to bring peace."
2a. Alleged funding of the Munich massacre (and definitive support of its mastermind)
Describing Abbas' reaction to the death of the commander of the PLO terror squad, Mohammed Daoud Oudeh's, who led the massacre of the Israeli team at the 1972 Munich Olympics [links ours]:
"Given his [Oudeh's] unrepentant stance, a moderate leader [like Abbas] who aspired to peace with Israel would at a minimum ignore Oudeh's passing and more likely condemn his life and legacy. But when word of Oudeh's death broke, PLO chairman and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas sent a telegram of condolence to Oudeh's family. The PA-controlled media published the text.
Abbas celebrated Oudeh's life, proclaiming him to have been "one of the prominent leaders of the Fatah movement." Abbas referred to Oudeh as "a wonderful brother, companion, tough, stubborn and relentless fighter."
In an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2002, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Munich massacre, Oudeh revealed that Abbas had bankrolled the operation."
3. Holocaust conspiracism/denial
Referring to Abbas' past work on the Holocaust, which form the basis of Holocaust studies in Palestinian Authority classrooms today:
"In 1982 Abbas matriculated in the doctoral program at the Patric Lumumba University in Moscow. The title of his dissertation was The Connection Between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement, 1933-1945. In 1984 he published his thesis as a book in Arabic under the title The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.
In both works, Abbas wrote that the Holocaust was a joint initiative of the Nazis and the Zionist movement. He alleged that the European Jews who were killed were actually the victims of the Jews from pre-state Israel who were in cahoots with the Germans. In his words, "A partnership was established between Hitler's Nazis and the leadership of the Zionist movement.... [The Zionists gave] permission to every racist in the world, led by Hitler and the Nazis, to treat Jews as they wish, so long as it guarantees immigration to Palestine."
Abbas wrote that the Zionists wanted as many Jews as possible to be killed. "Having more victims," he wrote, "meant greater rights and stronger privilege to join the negotiation table for dividing the spoils of war once it was over..."
Abbas denied that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. This too was a Zionist plot. "The truth is that no one can either confirm or deny this figure," he wrote. "In other words, it is possible that the number of Jewish victims reached six million, but at the same time it is possible that the figure is much smaller--below on million.
"It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement, however, is to inflate this figure so that their gains will be greater," Abbas continued. "Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions--fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand."