Palestinian President Apologizes Over Anti-Semitic Remarks - NBC4 Washington
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Palestinian President Apologizes Over Anti-Semitic Remarks

Mahmoud Abbas' speech drew criticism around the world that he perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes and ignored deep Jewish historical connections to the Holy Land

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    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian National Council at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Monday, April 30, 2018.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has issued an apology following a speech he made this week widely condemned as anti-Semitic.

    Abbas had said it was the Jews' "social functions," including money-lending, that caused hatred toward them in Europe. He also said there was no historical "basis for the Jewish homeland."

    The speech drew criticism around the world that Abbas perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes and ignored deep Jewish historical connections to the Holy Land.

    Palestinian officials say Abbas was under intense pressure from diplomats to apologize. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to talk to the media.

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    The Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas as saying on Friday that "if people were offended by my statement ... especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them."