Photo Credit: Flash 90
European Union Council President Donald Tusk, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas hauled out the tattered old myth about Jews poisoning the wells on Thursday and tried to feed it to his audience at the European Union Parliament.

Adapting the medieval anti-Semitic water blood libel for local use, the claim originated with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which said a prominent rabbi had issued a religious decree “allowing Israeli settlers in the West Bank to poison Palestinian water sources in Palestinian towns.”

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Abbas went further, saying in his speech to European lawmakers that it was a special Israeli rabbinical council in Judea and Samaria who had issued the decree.

The lie had already been immediately picked up and passed along by many international media, among them The Independent according to the Israellycool website, which caught the British website’s screaming headline over the horrifying Ramadan holiday disaster.

And now here was the leader that the international community is down Israel’s throat as a “peace partner” spewing out that latest version of a medieval blood libel. Jews were falsely accused in the 14th century of causing disease by poisoning the water across Europe as a plague swept the continent; the blood of countless numbers of Jews ran through the streets as their communities were massacred in response.

It’s not so different from the libelous Al Aqsa Mosque “destruction” lies with which the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Gaza’s Hamas terrorist group incessantly attempt to ignite violence against Israel among the Arab population.

And since in “honor” of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan Israel has opened its borders to allow Muslims to pray in Jerusalem at Al Aqsa with far fewer restrictions, Abbas instead was forced to seek a new libel.

“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 claimed from the EU Parliament podium. “Isn’t that clear incitement to commit mass killings against the Palestinian people?” He gave no source for the claim. Yet Haaretz reports that Abbas received a standing ovation from the EU lawmakers after his speech.

Quotes from an alleged “Rabbi Mlmad” on the website of the Palestinian Authority foreign ministry supposedly calling for Jews to poison wells, and citing a ‘Council of Rabbis in the West Bank’ were similarly found by international news outlets such as Reuters and others to be impossible to trace.

Haaretz quoted Gulf News as saying the allegation was sourced from the far-left Breaking the Silence organization, a group comprised of former IDF soldiers who criticize Israel and its relations with the PA. But Breaking the Silence denied issuing this one, Reuters reported. And yet Abbas was able to cobble together fiction with fact — a dangerous combination and one that is powerful when presented in the international arena.

“Senior Israel’s such as [opposition leader Isaac] Herzog, the opposition chairman, former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the current deputy chief of staff and senior journalists to speak about growing signs of fascism in Israeli society,” he told the European lawmakers.

Abbas neglected to mention that Isaac Herzog is under police investigation, Ehud Barak is no longer in politics because he’s exhausted his credibility across the spectrum and the remarks by the current IDF deputy chief of staff were made within context of a political framework not relevant to general Israeli society.

As with the updated European blood-to-water libel, Abbas cited sources and myths as if they were facts, and fed the fantasies to the European Union Parliament — and his European audience loved it.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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