Check out the story at this link: Abbas says Jews' behavior, not anti-Semitism, caused the Holocaust
I want to subject this incident to a bit of analysis. It is very interesting for a number of reasons.
1. On the most superficial level his remarks are a window into what he and his collaborators in the PA and the PLO and related organizations really believe, or are prepared to say they believe in order to foster the basest resentment against Israel (=Israelis). The religious animus toward Jews runs deep in Islam and inevitably manifests in modern semi-secular pan-Arabism as well. It strikes a chord of resentment whenever desperate Arab politicians need to whip some up.
2. Additionally, he wants to drive a wedge between Jews and the land of Israel by suggesting that Askenazim have no cultural ties to the land - one supposes in contrast to the Sephardim who have lived in the vicinity and in the Arab world forever. So, it is a an attempt to inject racism into the discussion - to make a distinction between Arab Jews and European (Caucasian) Jews. It is the European Jews who were persecuted and there are (good?) reasons for that.
If you are part of the common folk living in the middle east this could make sense to you. You see the social world primarily in tribal terms overlaid with race, religion and culture - us versus them. So identifying the Ashkenazim as alien Europeans may have some populist traction. (The attempt to deny any connection between Ashkenazi Jews and the land of Israel - a common feature of the Palestinian narrative, supported by the likes of UNESCO - is repeated in his remarks. Given the cultural components of 2,000 years of Jewish history the patent absurdity of this is obvious to people in the west, or familiar with that history. But it is totally lost on his intended audience, for whom it is just one more reason to hate.)
Ironically, there are internal contradictions in this narrative. It undermines the claim that the Ashenazi settlers (pre-1948) were instruments of European colonization. Were they both victims of the Europeans and their nefarious colonial allies? But this is a point for the western analysts and carries absolutely now weight in diluting the poison Abbas is hoping to brew. Populism is full of contradictory ideas.
3. The remarks are interesting insofar as they seem to confirm the Holocaust. Absurdly this is used against the Jews in the sense that it can be explained by the resentment caused by their 'social functions' as greedy usurious bankers and financiers (talk about obnoxious stereotypes). So, it is not because of their religion that they were targeted, but because of their social function. Abbas apparently thinks, or wants other to think that he thinks, that this is a distinction with a moral difference. What an ingenious twist this is. The Holocaust is used as evidence of the obnoxiousness of the Jews who were responsible for colonizing Arab lands.
4. Finally, what is left of the argument that it is possible to be anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian without being anti-Jewish? Well, yes, of course it is, in theory. By which I mean, there is a logic that distinguishes criticism of the aims and actions of the Zionists (focusing on the effects it had on the local residents) that is not anti-Jewish in substance or intent. Close examination suggests, that while this is true, it is wrong, or contradictory. I say this because such arguments focus on the allegation that the pre-1948 Zionist settlers coercively displaced the rightful owners of their land where they settled, and this is simply just not true. There were instances of ambiguous ownership. But there was no concerted and coercive effort to displace the local Arab population, which in any case was sparsely settled and very small in numbers. In fact, large number of Arabs migrated into the area as a result of the Jewish settlements and the economic opportunities that they created. The East European Jewish settlers had no government behind them to carry out any kind of ethnic cleansing. In fact, it was the Arab Islamist/pan-Arab movements who had the support of the British, pandering for the sake of oil, who tried to keep out Jewish immigrants and drive settlers from the land. So, yes, it is possible to separate anti-Zionist from anti-Jewish, but one needs first to get the facts right, and then one needs to push the argument in universal terms and not apply double standards to the alleged Zionist colonists. The fact that, in practice, such arguments are both based on gross ignorance and employ double standards, invites the perception of bias of one sort or another.
But in the case of Abbas, there is no ambiguity. For him and his friends there is no difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Jewish. So much is clear from these recent remarks. One need only inquire of him whether Jews will be able to live in the Palestinian state that is the object of the two-state solution he claims to support.
In short, given the scrutiny they deserve, these remarks should put paid to any doubt about the chances of such a solution and where the obstacles to it really lie. That they will not be given such scrutiny in the western media or by the vocal leftist critics of Israel is clear. But some people may notice and begin to wonder.