Two ranking congressmen sent a letter to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, warning him over awarding anti-Semitic journalist Helen Thomas, the Israeli daily Haaretz reports. The congressmen expressed frustration over the blatant incitement of the act, as well as a pattern of undermining peace talks with hate speech.
Republican Steve Chabot, Chairman of the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee, and Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote that the move was "tantamount to accepting and agreeing with her call for Jews in Palestine to go back to Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else."
The basis for their condemnation was last year's adoption of the "Preparing the Palestinian People for Peace Act," a Senate provision that conditioned American aid on a change in tone in Palestinian rhetoric toward "peace through compromise with messages of tolerance, understanding, and reconciliation."
"Unfortunately, the recognition of stridently, and sometimes even violently anti-Israeli individuals and themes has become all too common by the Palestinian Authority," they wrote. "While Helen Thomas has not specifically espoused such violence, we see her recognition as simply part of the campaign to celebrate those who espouse harsh anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish themes. We condemn the selection of Helen Thomas for an award by your representative in Washington, DC and urge the Palestinian Authority to recommit itself to the peace process through messages of peace and reconciliation."