JERUSALEM - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas drew widespread condemnation Wednesday, including from the UN, EU and the US, over alleged anti-Semitic comments suggesting the role of Jews in banking had led to past massacres.

The 82-year-old Abbas made the comments during a free-wheeling speech that led to outrage among Israelis, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling him a “Holocaust denier”.

The condemnations came after Abbas, who has faced accusations of anti-Semitism before, suggested in an address to a rare meeting of the Palestinian National Council on Monday night that Jews’ relations with banking had led to hostility against them.

“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 told hundreds of delegates in Ramallah.