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Scholz criticizes Abbas' "outrageous derailment" – and then remains vague

In a low voice, Olaf Scholz speaks about the crimes of National Socialism.

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Scholz criticizes Abbas' "outrageous derailment" – and then remains vague

In a low voice, Olaf Scholz speaks about the crimes of National Socialism. About the six million Jews who were industrially murdered under National Socialism. About the resulting "deep wound" that has shaped Germany to this day. And about Yad Vashem, the international Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, whose German circle of friends is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

"No name should be forgotten," emphasized the Chancellor on Sunday in the Synagogue Joachimstaler Strasse in Berlin. In addition to the President of the Bundestag Bärbel Bas and the Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor, Scholz will speak to Holocaust survivor Fanny Ben-Ami, who came from Israel, and Rabbi Yitshak Ehrenberg, as well as Kai Diekmann, entrepreneur, former BILD editor-in-chief and chairman of the Yad Vashem Circle of Friends.

The Chancellor wants to convey a clear position. "We will not tolerate anti-Semitism in Germany, and that includes relativizing the Holocaust," he says. He is committed to this as Chancellor, and the Federal Government is committed to this.

Scholz asserted this just a few weeks after a massive political scandal. In August, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claimed at a press conference in the Federal Chancellery that the State of Israel had committed "50 massacres, 50 holocausts" in Palestinian cities since its inception. At the time, Olaf Scholz stood by and the conference ended. The anti-Semitic statement went unchallenged.

Afterwards, the Chancellor announced that he was "deeply outraged by the unspeakable statements" made by the Palestinian leader. "Especially for us Germans, any relativization of the Holocaust is unbearable and unacceptable," Scholz tweeted at the time.

Even on this Sunday, the scandal is still in the room. The President of the Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, will see to that before Scholz's speech. He calls the denial and trivialization of the Holocaust a massive problem, "not least in the Arab world". This was shown by the scandal surrounding anti-Semitic statements by Arab employees of Deutsche Welle, which became public last year.

"The problem became very prominent two and a half weeks ago," says Schuster, referring to the PA President's visit to Berlin. And states: "Abbas has learned nothing from history."

Schuster demands consequences. The German payments to the Palestinian Authority would have to be tied to conditions: Palestinian textbooks should no longer incite hatred, the authority should not pay so-called martyr's pensions to the families of Palestinian terrorists. For the years 2020 and 2021 alone, the federal government has made pledges of 340 million euros to the Palestinians. "It must come to an end that the authorities incite terror," said Schuster. "Why should German taxpayers finance this kind of incitement?"

In his speech, Chancellor Scholz called Abbas' statements an "outrageous lapse on German soil". Internationally, the federal government wants to counter such relativizing and trivializing of National Socialist crimes, for example at the United Nations. "The fight against anti-Semitism, the fight against right-wing extremism and racism is our top priority," said Scholz.

Scholz becomes more specific with a view to the national steps. With the "Living Democracy" program, the federal government is promoting projects against anti-Semitism and prevention programs, and financing counseling centers for those affected, he emphasizes.

Scholz says he is grateful for Jewish life in Germany - because the "duty to promote and protect Jewish life" also arises from Germany's murderous history. He praises the work of the Yad Vashem memorial since it was founded in Israel in 1953 in keeping alive the memory of the German crimes and the stories of the many murdered people through databases, research work and commemorative events. He was "deeply grateful" for that.

The federal government also wants to continue to participate. Memorials are to be further funded and supported in the development of innovative new commemoration options. In addition, employees of the judiciary are to be trained in recognizing anti-Semitism. "So that our 'Never again' will continue to exist in the future," says Scholz.

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