Mahmoud Abbas Shifts on Holocaust – NYTimes.com

Some of the background behind Abbas’s statement on the Holocaust. While the article argues the timing is terrible, given yet another Hamas-Fatah reconciliation effort, it is nevertheless significant. And sometimes timing is deliberate to counter other events and decisions, as it is in many countries:

The rabbi who prompted the Holocaust statement, Marc Schneier, is the founder of both the celebrity-studded modern Orthodox Hampton Synagogue and the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a 25-year-old group that fosters relations between Jews and Muslims, blacks and Latinos. Rabbi Schneier said he met with Mr. Abbas at his West Bank headquarters for about 40 minutes last Sunday to enlist his support against European crackdowns on ritual animal slaughter and human circumcision, and for a program that would establish partnerships between Palestinian mosques and Israeli synagogues.

When he suggested that it would be “very significant, very meaningful” for Mr. Abbas to make a statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day, Rabbi Schneier recalled in an interview, the president agreed “before I could finish my statement.”

“It was very heartfelt, very genuine,” Rabbi Schneier said.

“Of course he expressed his frustration on the negotiations, on the peace process — I’ll leave that up to the political leaders,” he added. “I’m a great believer that Muslim-Jewish reconciliation worldwide transcends the Israeli-Palestinian process. We’re working on the spiritual peace process.”

Mahmoud Abbas Shifts on Holocaust – NYTimes.com.