UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly this week visited Israel and the Palestinian territories. However, while the foreign minister condemned the antisemitism of Abbas, and therefore did not meet with him, he still agreed to meet with another antisemite who shares the same views as Abbas.

When Mahmoud Abbas a few weeks ago said that European Jews were not really Jews and that Hitler wasn’t really antisemitic, the UK rightly condemned him.

“The UK condemns the recent antisemitic remarks made by President Abbas,” a foreign office spokesperson said in a statement. “The UK stands firmly against all attempts to distort the Holocaust. Such statements do not advance efforts towards reconciliation.”

It was no surprise then that when James Cleverly went to the Palestinian territories this week he didn’t meet with Abbas. In fact, he is said to have raised the issue of Abbas’s antisemitism with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, whom Cleverly did meet.

However, the UK foreign minister seemed unaware that the views of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are not unique to him. In fact, Prime Minister Shtayyeh said exactly the same antisemitic assertions himself.

In 2021, Prime Minister Shtayyeh said that “there is no connection between Israelis and the Jews.” He said modern Israelis are not descendants of Jacob, but are “Khazar Jews”. This is the exact same line Mahmoud Abbas was saying a few weeks ago. Abbas claimed European Jews weren’t real Jews because they were Khazars who converted to Judaism.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Shtayyeh not only has antisemitic beliefs, but he also supports terrorism.

In 1929, before Israel was a nation, the ‘Palestine Riots’ took place, otherwise known as the ‘Buraq Riots’, denoting the Islamist nature of the riots. Primarily, it was Muslims attacking, murdering and even raping Jews throughout Jerusalem and throughout ‘Mandatory Palestine’. The riots were sparked because a small group of Jews erected a sheet held up by wooden frames to separate men and women at the Western Wall.

This simple and innocent act from the Jews sparked murderous rampages from the Muslim community. There were numerous attacks that took place through ‘Mandatory Palestine’, but below is just a single example of them to paint the picture of the brutality of what happened.

The Motza Murders (Wikipedia):

On 24 August 1929: The Jewish village of Motza, west of Jerusalem, had good relationships with the Arab community. The Haganah had offered to provide protection for the Jewish families in the town, but many such as the Makleff family rejected the offer as they did not believe the Arabs would harm them.

In the afternoon of 24 August, Arabs from neighbouring Qalunya entered Motza and invaded the house of the Maklef family. Mr. Makleff [he] was murdered along with his son and two rabbis (including the Gargždai-born Shlomo Zalman Shach [he] who had been invited to the household as guests. Mr. Maklef’s wife, Chaya, was tortured by the Arabs who hanged her on a fence. The two daughters of the family were raped and murdered. Several houses including the Maklef’s were set on fire.

When the British police and Haganah respondents arrived to the town they brought Chaya to the hospital but she died of her injuries. The survivors were three children who managed to jump out the balcony and hide in the Jewish Broza family’s house.

This was just one of the many incidents of Arab violence against Jews during the ‘Palestine Riots’. In total, 133 Jews were murdered at the hands of the Arab rioters. Many more were injured and raped. These acts of violence were described by British officers at the time as being one-sided and brutal. No one with any ounce of humanity would ever condone such actions.

The Palestinian Authority not only condone these abhorrent acts of violence against civilians, but they celebrate them as being heroic. The PA regularly praises those who carried out the attacks and those who died fighting with British police and Jewish militias who defended their neighbourhoods.

In January 2022, PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh himself said of those who carried out the 1929 atrocities:

“We weave beautiful stories about the martyrs so that they serve as role models, so they nestle in our minds, and so we remember them every day… They were racing to achieve death. Martyrs’ Day is a day to remember, to honor, and to pledge allegiance to those who illuminated the path for us and turned their bodies into a bridge for us saying: ‘Pass through here.’… We defeated all the invaders who passed through Palestine, and in the name of martyrs, we will defeat this despicable occupation, which will leave our lands.”

As you can see, not only does Mohammed Shtayyeh hold antisemitic views, but he also supports Palestinian terrorism against innocent civilians. And Abbas and Shtayyeh are the highest ranking officials in the PA and it is them who are responsible for the PA’s funding of terrorism, which ensures that the families of all so-called ‘martyrs’ receive monthly payments for a result of their terrorism towards Israelis.

Whether it was in 1929, when innocent men and women were murdered by Palestinians, or today, when Palestinian terrorists murder civilians in Israel, the Palestinian Authority praises them and funds them. Despite this open support for terrorism, UK leaders continue to meet with them.

So why did James Cleverly condemn Abbas but was happy to meet Shtayyeh?

The problem is the UK sees the Palestinian Authority as the only legitimate governing body for the Palestinian people. Antisemitism and terror support are not just things said by PA leaders, they are part of the very fabric of the PA. It is impossible to meet with Palestinian leaders without meeting someone who espouses antisemitism and supports terrorism. And unfortunately, the UK government lacks the backbone to stand up to these terror supporters.

The reason James Cleverly condemned Abbas was because it was current news. When the media surrounding this story dies down, and the world forgets Abbas’s antisemitism (after all, Abbas has been saying the same thing since he wrote a book about it in 1983) then British leaders will once again meet with Abbas and pretend nothing happened.

The reason James Cleverly met with another racist and terror supporter, is because there was no media furore around Mohammed Shtayyeh or his views. This allows the UK government to pretend that they are meeting an honourable person instead of the reality. It seems the Foreign Office is more interested in diplomacy with the Palestinians rather than doing the honourable thing of holding them to account.

Listen to our discussion on this topic from the CUFI UK Podcast: