Nickolay Mladenov
Nickolay MladenovReuters

The United Nations' Special Coordinator for the Middle East on Wednesday blasted Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas over his anti-Semitic speech suggesting the role of Jews in the banking sector led to the Holocaust.

"Such statements are unacceptable, deeply disturbing and do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or peace in the Middle East," said a statement issued on behalf of the envoy, Nickolay Mladenov.

It said that leaders "have an obligation to confront anti-Semitism everywhere and always, not perpetuate the conspiracy theories that fuel it."

The UN criticism adds to widespread condemnation of Abbas, including from the European Union and the United States, over the remarks.

In the speech, made by Abbas at a rare session of the Palestinian National Council, he regurgitated a number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in what he called a “history lesson,” seeking to disprove the 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.

Abbas backed his story with three points made by Jewish writers and historians, starting with the theory that Ashkenazi Jews are not descendants of the ancient Israelite, and that European Jews therefore had “no historical ties” to the Land of Israel.

He went on to claim the Holocaust was not the result of anti-Semitism but rather of the Jews “social behavior, [charging] interest, and financial matters.”

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman ripped Abbas over his remarks on Tuesday, saying the PA leader has “reached a new low in attributing the cause of massacres of Jewish people over the years to their ‘social behavior relating to interest and banks.’ To all those who think Israel is the reason that we don't have peace, think again.”

Jason Greenblatt, the U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations, also criticized Abbas’s remarks.

“President Abbas’ remarks yesterday in Ramallah at the opening of the Palestinian National Congress must be unconditionally condemned by all. They are very unfortunate, very distressing & terribly disheartening. Peace cannot be built on this kind of foundation,” he tweeted.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, on Wednesday sent a letter to the UN Security Council demanding condemnation of the anti-Semitic remarks by Abbas.

“Such a hateful diatribe against a people who have undergone thousands of years of intolerable persecution, is completely unacceptable. I call on all leaders of good faith to condemn these repeated hateful remarks and demand a full and sincere apology from Mr. Abbas. The Security Council must not stand idly by in the face of this incitement and apparent denial of Israel’s right to exist,” Ambassador Danon wrote.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu excoriated Abbas on Wednesday and called on the international community to condemn him.

“I call on the international community to condemn Abu Mazen’s severe anti-Semitism. The time has come for it to pass from the world,” the Prime Minister said.