Abbas's big lie

Abbas's latest lie says it all about the "Palestinian narrative" he represents.

Ari Soffer

OpEds Ari Soffer
Ari Soffer
Ari Soffer

Another international forum, another opportunity for Mahmoud Abbas to attack Israel.

Today's address by the Palestinian Authority leader at the European Union Parliament in Brussels should have been a fairly routine matter. Abbas's speeches on such stages are by now predictable enough - and obediently lapped by the international media, most of whose journalists long ago abandoned their roles as critical thinkers and challengers of false narratives in favor of the much easier, and more profitable, role of actively trading in them.

It's the same tired, perverse narrative of a land "occupied" by its indigenous people, and a campaign of "genocide" or "ethnic-cleansing" by Israel which, uniquely, has resulted in a massive net growth of the Palestinian Arab population.

Except this time, clearly emboldened by his previous form, the PA chief outdid himself. Not content with more of the same, Abbas cited a thoroughly debunked claim - one starkly reminiscent of the medieval blood libels - that an Israeli rabbi or rabbis had called on "settlers" to poison Palestinian drinking water.

"Only a week ago, a number of rabbis in Israel announced, and made a clear announcement, demanding that their government poison the water to kill the Palestinians," Abbas asserted from the podium.

"Isn't that clear incitement to commit mass killings against the Palestinian people?"

It was such an awkwardly blatant untruth that the official transcript of the speech issued by Abbas's office, and printed in official PA media, scrubs any reference to it. Some commentators' answer to this inconsistency is that Abbas spoke "off the cuff", and hence the written transcript of his pre-prepared speech did not contain those words. However, Abbas's past form of pronouncing bare-faced lies, which are then duly omitted from the transcripts by his office when people begin to cotton on, suggests otherwise.

It's something Abbas does routinely, in almost every speech or statement he makes - he's just rarely challenged for doing so.

No one should be surprised that a man who denied the scale of the Holocaust in his PhD thesis would trade in untruths. But it is worth wondering where he draws the sheer gall to do so quite so publicly and consistently.

Yet Abbas's tendency to rely on blatant lies is not unique to him personally. Bare-faced lies are an integral part of the "Palestinian narrative": from nonexistent Jewish plots to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque; to turning terrorists killed attacking Israelis into victims of random, unprovoked street executions. These were the bread and butter of the incitement used to fuel the recent wave of Palestinian terrorism - all totally, clearly, false.

Neither is it limited to superficial lies about specific alleged events - be it well-poisonings, mosque invasions, or child street-executions - which never happened.

Abbas, along with other leading Palestinian "moderates" like Saeb Erekat - people who are undeniably ethnically Arab - regularly, absurdly, claim to be the descendants of ancient Canaanites (and Philistines, and Hittites - and Jews for good measure), all while denying the existence of the Jewish temples, or indeed any Jewish connection to anywhere in Israel for that matter. And they are never challenged for it beyond Israeli circles; this time he my have gone a little too far, but in most cases, the international media just nods and duly reproduces Palestinian claims verbatim.

None of it is backed up historically - in fact, quite the opposite: the Palestinian Arab population are the descendants of relatively recent Arab migrants, or at most the Islamic conquerers of the Levant. It is the Jews who, indisputably (at least for those who learn history from the history books instead of making things up as they go along) are the indigenous population of the land of Israel.

And herein lies the secret to Abbas's sheer chutzpah: He lies because he has no choice. His entire narrative is a lie, constructed solely to dispossess the Jewish people from our ancestral homeland.

In all likelihood, this particular incident will be swept under the rug. Too many people are invested in Abbas's false narrative to scrutinize his propensity for lying too much.

But for those who still retain the moral courage and intellectual clarity to see things objectively, it is a stark reminder of the real nature of the big lie he peddles every day, and at every opportunity.