A spokesman for Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas defended his boss' antisemitic speech in which he claimed that Adolf Hitler only killed Jews "because they dealt in usury and money," the Arabic news agency Wafa reported.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh claimed that Abbas was only quoting Jewish, American, and other historians and authors in his speech, though he did not say which historians Abbas allegedly based his claims on.

“President Mahmoud Abbas's position on this matter is clear and unwavering, which is a full condemnation of the Nazi Holocaust and a rejection of antisemitism,” he said.

Rudeineh condemned those who condemned Abbas for his comments, saying: “We express our strong condemnation and outrage at this frenzied campaign [against Abbas] for just quoting academic and historical quotations.”

In his speech, Abbas said: "This is explained in many Jewish books. They say that Hitler killed them because of their Jewishness. Not so. They (the Nazis) fought them because of their social role and not because of their religion." He also said: "Hitler fought the Jews because they dealt in usury and money."

He further claimed that Israel was entirely to blame for the flight of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Muslim-majority countries in the 20th century.

Abbas' comments were roundly condemned. US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Amb. Deborah E. Lipstadt said in response: "I am appalled by President Abbas’ hateful, antisemitic remarks at a recent Fatah meeting. The speech maligned the Jewish people, distorted the Holocaust, and misrepresented the tragic exodus of Jews from Arab countries. I condemn these statements and urge an immediate apology."

The European Union also issued a condemnation of Abbas' speech which reads: "The speech delivered by President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to Fatah's 11th Revolutionary Council in late August contained false and grossly misleading remarks about Jews and antisemitism."

"Such historical distortions are inflammatory, deeply offensive, can only serve to exacerbate tensions in the region and serve no one’s interests. They play into the hands of those who do not want a two-state solution, which President Abbas has repeatedly advocated for.

"Moreover, they trivialize the Holocaust and thereby fuel anti-Semitism and are an insult to the millions of victims of the Holocaust and their families.

"The European Union remains committed to combating antisemitism and racism in all its forms and will continue to strongly oppose any attempt to condone, justify, or trivialize the Holocaust," the EU's statement concludes.