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Paris strips Palestinian leader Abbas of special honor for remarks on Holocaust

PARIS (AP) — Paris has rescinded a special honor it bestowed on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas because of his recent antisemitic comments minimizing the Holocaust.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo published a letter Friday saying that “your remarks run counter to universal values and the historical truth of the Holocaust.”

Noting that tens of thousands of Jews were rounded up in Paris under the Nazi occupation and deported to death camps, Hidalgo said, “We condemn your comments with the utmost firmness. No cause can justify revisionism and negationism.”

Hidalgo awarded Abbas the city’s highest honor, the Grand Bronze of Paris, in 2015 for his efforts toward peace in the Middle East and a two-state solution.

In a speech last month to senior members of his Fatah movement, Abbas said that Adolf Hitler killed European Jews not because of antisemitism, but because of their “social functions” in society, such as money lending.

The United States, Germany and the European Union condemned his comments and accused him of distorting history and promoting antisemitic stereotypes.

In the Holocaust, 6 million Jews and others were murdered by the Nazis and their allies. Hitler considered Jews to be an inferior race and viciously promoted antisemitic stereotypes to incite violence and discrimination against Europe’s Jews as the Third Reich carried out the genocide.