Kerry slams Palestinian leader for 'ugly' remarks about Jews
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Former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryShould President Trump, like President Obama, forsake human rights in pursuit of the deal with a tyrant? GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system Democrats conflicted over how hard to hit Trump on Iran MORE slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday after Abbas said Jewish conduct was the root cause of the Holocaust. 

Abbas pointed to the Jews' "social behavior" and "their social function related to banks and interest” in a speech on Monday to the Palestinian National Council. 

“From the 11th century until the Holocaust that took place in Germany, those Jews — who moved to Western and Eastern Europe — were subjected to a massacre every 10 to 15 years. But why did this happen? They say: ‘It is because we are Jews,’ ” Abbas said.

"I will bring you three Jews, with three books who say that enmity towards Jews was not because of their religious identity but because of their social function."

"This is a different issue. So the Jewish question that was widespread throughout Europe was not against their religion but against their social function which relates to usury [unscrupulous money-lending] and banking and such," he added, according to the BBC.

The comments have been denounced by various international figures, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN analyst Kirsten Powers: Melania's jacket should read 'Let them eat cake' CNN's Cuomo confronts Lewandowski over 'womp womp' remark Sessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance MORE's special representative for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, called the remarks "distressing" and "disheartening" in a tweet. 

The European foreign service ripped the comments as "unacceptable" in a statement on Wednesday. 

"The speech Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered on 30 April contained unacceptable remarks concerning the origins of the Holocaust and Israel's legitimacy," the European External Action Service said.

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"Such rhetoric will only play into the hands of those who do not want a two-state solution, which President Abbas has repeatedly advocated."

The Trump administration has said it will work to find a solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. 

Trump has said in the past that he would be open to a two-state solution if both Israel and the Palestinians were to agree to the solution.