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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Netanyahu Exonerates Hitler of Responsibility for the Holocaust



Netanyahu claims that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was Responsible for Giving Hitler the Idea for the Final Solution!

At the World Zionist Organisation Congress on 20th October, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made what, even by his standards was an outrageous claim.  Hitler was initially only in favour of expelling Jews from Europe (what was known as the Madgascar Plan) and that it was the Mufti who persuaded him of the merits of exterminating them.
The Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler at their meeting on 28.11.41.
When I first heard Netanyahu’s statement, I immediately thought of a similar claim by Pastor John Hagee, the President of Christians United for Israel.  Hagee, a virulent anti-Semite, had stated in a sermon that Hitler was a “hunter” sent by God to drive the Jews to Israel. [CBS News, 23.5.08. Hagee: Pro-Israel, Anti-Semitic?]  It would appear that Hitler was in fact an agent of the Mufti not god!  
Jews with the Yellow Star
It is a claim that will be grist to the mill for holocaust deniers.  But what Netanyahu is doing is what Zionist historians have been doing for over 60 years, which is to try and make the Palestinians and their leader major partners in the Holocaust and by extension to claim that Arab hostility to Zionism has nothing to do with settler colonialism, land theft and the expulsion of the refugees.  It’s all because the Palestinians and Arabs hate Jews.  In other words anti-Zionism is nothing more than anti-Semitism.
The Zionist propaganda holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, has played a full part in this.  They have a whole wall devoted to the Mufti of Jerusalem.  In the Holocaust Encyclopedia, the section devoted to the Mufti is only slightly shorter than that accorded to Hitler and larger than the combined size of the entries for Goebbels and Goering and for Heydrich and Himmler.  As Israeli  historian, Tom Segev noted, the only image of a Palestinian in Yad Vashem is
‘a photo featured prominently on a wall depicting the Mufti sieg heiling a group of Nazi storm troopers’.  Its purpose is to ensure that ‘the visitor is left to conclude that there is much in common between the Nazis’ plan to destroy the Jews and the Arabs’ enmity to Israel.’ [Segev, The Seventh  Million, p.425]
There Mufti was a minor war criminal but the idea that he instigated the final solution is absurd.   If anyone was a major war criminal it was Walter Rauff, the father of the gas chambers, who invented the mobile gas trucks first used in the T4 'Euthanasia' programme and then the Final Solution.  Indeed the same gas trucks used in T4 trundle off to Poland for use at Chelmno.  Rauff had the blood of some 100,000 Jews on his hands and, when the Nazis occupied Tunisia in 1943, intended to build an extermination camp at Kairoun and murder its Jews.  After the war he became an Israeli agent and Israel later helped him to escape to South America.  [‘In the service of the Jewish state’, Shraga Elam, Dennis Whitehead, Ha’aretz 29.3.07] 
The Mufti  was responsible for recruiting 3 Muslim Divisions in Bosnia but they were primarily concerned with fighting the Serb Chetniks.  They had no involvement in the Jewish deportations, bar the Skandar Division handing over some 210 Jews from New Albania (Kosovo) to the SS.  Indeed such was their attitude to the Jewish Question that they were sent for retraining to France where they promptly deserted to the Resistance!  The only example of a rebellion within the ranks of the SS.  [Stephen Schwartz, ‘The Jews, the Serbs and the Truth,’ FrontPageMagazine.com 21.3.05.,  see also Gilbert Achchar pp. 143-144, The Arabs & the Holocaust].  What Netanyahu doesn’t mention is the 3 declarations issued by senior Muslim clerics in Bosnia against Croat-Nazi measures against the Jews and Serbs – in Mostar in 1941, Banja Luka on 12.11.41 and Sarajevo in October 1941. 

Muslim Albania was the only Nazi occupied country in Europe where the number of Jews at the end of the war 2,000) was greater than the number at the beginning (200).  Not one Jew was deported from Albania during the Nazi occupation.
The medal that the Nazis struck after the visit of Baron von Mildenstein, Head of the Gestapo's Jewish desk to Palestine in 1933
A transcript of the meeting between Hitler and the Mufti on November 28 1941 is contained in Walter Lacquer's Israel-Arab Reader There is no mention of the Mufti urging Hitler to exterminate the Jews.  The Mufti was only informed of the final solution in the summer of 1943 by Himmler..


The Mufti, in his talk with Hitler, wanted Germany to make a declaration that it supported the independence of the Arab countries - Syria, Iraq, Palestine.  Hitler refused to do this because he said it would cause problems in France and strengthen the supporters of de Gaulle who would see it as a threat to the French Empire.  In reality Hitler had no intention of supporting Arab independence.  If Germany had conquered the Arab countries it would simply have supplanted Britain and France as the imperialist power.  The Arabs were considered lower on the racial ladder than the Jews.

By the time the Mufti met with Hitler, the final solution had already begun, with the invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa) in June 1941.  By November 1941 the mass shooting of some 1 million Jews, by the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommando killing squads, which operated in the rear of the Wehrmacht in White Russia and Ukraine, had taken place.  Over 33,000 Jews at Babi Yar outside Kiev had already been murdered at the end of September 1941.

But if what Netanyahu said was true then he should hang his head in shame because it was the Zionists who made Haj al Amin Husseini Grand Mufti after he came 4th in the election to the post of Grand Mufti in 1921. The British High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel, who had been instrumental in lobbying for the Balfour Declaration, appointed him because the Zionists loved this chauvinist and feudal Arab leader. [Nathan Weinstock, p. 117 Zionism: A False Messiah, Inklinks, 1969 citing Yehoshua Porath, The Emergence of the Palestinian Arab National Movement 1918-1929, London, 1974 pp. 189-93] Equally they hated the Istiqlal (Independence) Party in Palestine, because it was secular and blamed the British not the Jews.  They preferred a chauvinist rogue like Haj al-Amin Husseini.

The Palestinians considered the Mufti a collaborator with the British after the Revolt of 1936-39, which he had done his best to get called off.  At no stage had the Palestinians elected the Haj al-Amin Husseini.  He had been imposed on them by the British and the Zionists.

At the beginning of December 1941, just days after the Mufti's meeting with Hitler, the first extermination camp Chelmno had begun operations using carbon monoxide gas in mobile trucks.  Quite obviously it had nothing to do with the  Mufti and likewise Belzec was to start its work in March 1942. Experimentation with murder by gas had taken place in September 1941 in Auschwitz when 850 Poles and Russian prisoners of war were murdered.  

The Wannsee Conference, to coordinate the logistics of the final solution, to spread it to Western Europe and deal with the thorny question of the Mischlinge ('mixed race' people with 1 or 2 Jewish grandparents) had originally been scheduled for December 9th 1941 but had been postponed to 20th January because of the attack on Pearl Harbour.

On 12 December 1941, according to Goebbel’s diaries, Adolf Hitler made a speech in Berlin to Nazi leaders.  Goebbels recorded in his diary that ‘With regard to the Jewish Question the Fuehrer is determined to make a clean sweep. He prophesized that if they brought about another world war, they would experience their annihilation. This was no empty talk. The world war is here. The annihilation of the Jews must be the necessary consequence. This question is to be viewed without sentimentality. We’re not to have sympathy with the Jews, but only sympathy with our German people.’  [Diary entry of Josef Goebbels, 13 December 1941, quoted in Ian Kershaw, Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed The World, 1940-1941, Allen Lane, 2007, p. 431]  

If we are to believe Netanyahu, this speech only came about as a result of Hitler’s meeting with the Mufti.

In Mein Kampf, written in 1923-4, Hitler stated that the ‘sacrifice of millions at the front’ in the first world war would have been prevented if ‘twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas.’

In his 'Prophecy' speech on January 30 1939, which Hitler repeated at least 3 times, he spoke explicitly about annihilating the Jewish race.

“Today I will once more be a prophet. If the international Jewish financiers inside and outside Europe should again succeed in plunging the nations into a world war, the result will not be the Bolshevisation of the earth and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation (vernichtung) of the Jewish race throughout Europe.” Reitlinger, The Final Solution p.24., p.593 fn. 44. January 30, 1939; January 30 1942; September 30 1942, February 24th, March 21st and November 9th 1943. 

What led to the final solution was the T4 programme, whereby thousands, some estimate over 1/2 million, disabled Germans were murdered in 6 killing centres in Germany itself, before the Catholic Bishop Galen of Munster spoke out against it and Hitler was forced to end the programme, though it continued as the Wild Euthenasia in the concentration camps.  [see Hitler’s Forgotten Victims, Suzanne Evans]

The whole Zionist outlook is based on the rewriting of history.  The ‘return’ of Jews to Palestine, the denial of the Nakba and the holocaust is no exception to this.  Previously this has meant trying to portray itself as having led the Resistance to the Nazis in Europe whereas it was in fact a movement of collaboration – from Ha'avara in 1933 to the Kasztner Affair in 1944 in Hungary.  The Jewish groups and currents which led the Resistance were primarily the Bund in Poland and the Communists Jews in France and Belgium.  It should therefore come as no surprise that Netanyahu now seeks to exonerate the Nazis of the major portion of the blame and instead allocate responsibility to the Palestinians!

Tony Greenstein

Netanyahu: 'Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time. He wanted to expel the Jews'

Why is Benjamin Netanyahu trying to whitewash Hitler?

Ali Abunimah Lobby Watch 21 October 2015

Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly asserted that Adolf Hitler had no intention of exterminating Europe’s Jews until a Palestinian persuaded him to do it.

The Israeli prime minister’s attempt to whitewash Hitler and lay the blame for the Holocaust at the door of Palestinians signals a major escalation of his incitement against and demonization of the people living under his country’s military and settler-colonial rule.

It also involves a good deal of Holocaust denial.

In a speech to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Netanyahu asserted that Haj Amin al-Husseini convinced Hitler to carry out the killings of 6 million Jews.

Al-Husseini was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the highest clerical authority dealing with religious issues pertaining to the Muslim community and holy sites during the 1920s and ‘30s, when Palestine was under British rule.

He was appointed to the role by Herbert Samuel, the avowed Zionist who was the first British High Commissioner of Palestine.

In the video above, Netanyahu claims that al-Husseini “had a central role in fomenting the final solution. He flew to Berlin. Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here.’ ‘So what should I do with them?’ he asked. ‘Burn them!’”

There is no record of such a conversation whatsoever, and Netanyahu provides no evidence that it ever took place.

The Mufti did meet Hitler, once, but their 95-minute conversation took place on 28 November 1941. Husseini used it to try to secure the Führer’s support for Arab independence, as historian Philip Mattar explains in his book The Mufti of Jerusalem.

By then, Hitler’s plans to exterminate the Jews were already well under way.

Hitler’s orders

In her classic history The War Against the Jews, Lucy Davidowicz writes about the preparations among Hitler’s top lieutenants to carry out the genocide: “Sometime during that eventful summer of 1941, perhaps even as early as May, Himmler summoned Höss to Berlin and, in privacy, told him ‘that the Führer had given the order for a Final Solution of the Jewish Question,’ and that ‘we, the SS, must carry out the order.’”

She adds: “In the late summer of 1941, addressing the assembled men of the Einsatzkommandos at Nikolayev, he [Himmler] ‘repeated to them the liquidation order, and pointed out that the leaders and men who were taking part in the liquidation bore no personal responsibility for the execution of this order. The responsibility was his alone, and the Führer’s.’”

Davidowicz also explains that “In the summer of 1941, a new enterprise was launched – the construction of the Vernichtungslager – the annihilation camp. Two civilians from Hamburg came to Auschwitz that summer to teach the staff how to handle Zyklon B, and in September, in the notorious Block 11, the first gassings were carried out on 250 patients from the hospital and on 600 Russian prisoners of war, probably ‘Communists’ and Jews …”

According to Netanyahu’s fabricated – and Holocaust denialist – version of history, none of this could have happened. It was all the Mufti’s idea!

The Mufti in Zionist propaganda

Why would Netanyahu bring up the Mufti now and in the process whitewash Hitler?

The bogus claim that the Mufti had to persuade reluctant Nazis to kill Jews has been pushed by other anti-Palestinian propagandists, notably retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz.

As Columbia University professor Joseph Massad notes in his 2006 book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question, Haj Amin al-Husseini has long been a favorite theme of Zionist and Israeli propaganda.

Husseini “provided the Israelis with their best propaganda linking the Palestinians with the Nazis and European anti-Semitism,” Massad observes.

The Mufti fled British persecution and went to Germany during the war years.

Massad writes that al-Husseini “attempted to obtain promises from the Germans that they would not support the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine. Documents that the Jewish Agency produced in 1946 purporting to show that the Mufti had a role in the extermination of Jews did no such thing; the only thing these unsigned letters by the Mufti showed was his opposition to Nazi Germany’s and Romania’s allowing Jews to emigrate to Palestine.”

Yet, he adds, “the Mufti continues to be represented by Israeli propagandists as having participated in the extermination of European Jews.”

Citing Peter Novick, the University of Chicago history professor who authored The Holocaust in American Life, Massad notes that in the four-volume Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, sponsored by Israel’s official memorial Yad Vashem, “the article on the Mufti is twice as long as the articles on [top Nazi officials] Goebbels and Göring and longer than the articles on Himmler and Heydrich combined.”

The entry on Hitler himself is only slightly longer than the one on Husseini.

In a 2012 article for Al Jazeera, Massad explains that “Zionism would begin to rewrite the Palestinian struggle against Jewish colonization not as an anti-colonial struggle but as an anti-Semitic project.”

Keystone of Zionist mythology

The story of the Mufti has thus become a keystone for the Zionist version of Palestinian history, which leaves out a basic fact: the Zionist movement’s infamous agreement with Hitler’s regime as early as 1933 .

The so-called Transfer Agreement facilitated the emigration of German Jews to Palestine and broke the international boycott of German goods launched by American Jews.

Massad explains: “Despairing from convincing Britain to stop its support of the Zionist colonial project and horrified by the Zionist-Nazi collaboration that strengthened the Zionist theft of Palestine further, the Palestinian elitist and conservative leader Haj Amin al-Husseini (who initially opposed the Palestinian peasant revolt of 1936 against Zionist colonization) sought relations with the Nazis to convince them to halt their support for Jewish immigration to Palestine, which they had promoted through the Transfer Agreement with the Zionists in 1933.”

Indeed, the Mufti would begin diplomatic contacts with the Nazis in the middle of 1937, four years after the Nazi-ZIonist co-operation had started.

Ironically, Massad adds, “It was the very same Zionist collaborators with the Nazis who would later vilify al-Husseini, beginning in the 1950s to the present, as a Hitlerite of genocidal proportions, even though his limited role ended up being one of propagandizing on behalf of the Nazis to East European and Soviet Muslims on the radio.”

It should be kept in mind that many Third World nationalist movements colonized by the British were also sympathetic to the Nazis, including Indian nationalists. This was primarily based on the Nazis’ enmity toward their British colonizers, and not based on any affinity with the Nazis’ racialist ideology. It was certainly on this basis that India’s Congress Party opposed the British declaration of war on Germany, as Perry Anderson notes in The Indian Ideology.

Indeed, the Mufti made it clear to the Germans as well as to the fascist government of Benito Mussolini in Italy, as Mattar states, that he sought “full independence for all parts of the Arab world and the rescue of Palestine from British imperialism and Zionism. He stressed that the struggle against the Jews was not of a religious nature, but for Palestinian existence and for an independent Palestine.”

That Husseini met Hitler and had relations with the Nazis is no secret. But the fabrications of Netanyahu and other Zionists should be seen for what they are: an attempt to falsely blame Palestinians for Europe’s genocide of Jews and in the process erase from memory Zionism’s own collaborationist history with Hitler’s genocidal regime.

This vile propaganda can have no other purpose than to further dehumanize Palestinians and justify Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing and murder.

Netanyahu’s attempt to blame Palestinians for the Holocaust is itself a form of genocidal incitement.

Netanyahu accused of ‘absolving Hitler’ for Holocaust

PM says he never intended to imply that in 1941 a Palestinian religious leader convinced the fuhrer to exterminate Jews; Israeli and Palestinian leaders castigate him for ‘shameful’ comment

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the 37th World Zionist Congress conference at the Jerusalem Convention Center on October 20, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pounded Wednesday with a barrage of condemnations after he claimed that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler only decided on the mass extermination of Europe’s Jews after receiving input on the matter from Jerusalem’s then-grand mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian nationalist widely acknowledged as a fervent Jew-hater.

Critics accused Netanyahu of “absolving” Hitler of responsibility for the Holocaust, a charge the prime minister later brushed off, saying he had merely intended to drive home the enormity of the mufti’s role as the originator of contemporary Palestinian “incitement” against Jews.

During an address Tuesday to delegates at the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, Netanyahu posited that the Nazi fuehrer did not initially intend to annihilate the Jews, but rather sought to expel them from Europe. According to the prime minister’s version of the events, Hitler changed his mind after meeting with Husseini — who was grand mufti of Jerusalem from 1921 to 1948, and president of the Supreme Muslim Council from 1922 to 1937 — in Berlin near the end of 1941.

Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time [of the meeting between the mufti and the Nazi leader]. He wanted to expel the Jews,” Netanyahu said. “And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here [to mandatory Palestine],'” continued the prime minister.

“‘So what should I do with them?’ He [Hitler] asked,” according to Netanyahu. “He [Husseini] said, ‘Burn them.'”

Hitler hosts the Mufti, 1941 (photo credit: Heinrich Hoffmann Collection/Wikipedia)

Netanyahu was speaking in the context of enduring Palestinian accusations to the effect that Israel is seeking to take control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; the mufti was one of the first to peddle such allegations against Jews in Mandatory Palestine. The charges have been fueling a recent wave of attacks against Israelis in and around Jerusalem. Israel has repeatedly denied allegations that it wishes to change the status quo on the Mount, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and is holy to both Jews and Muslims. As per the status quo, Jews may visit the Temple Mount but not pray there.

An overwhelming majority of Holocaust historians reject the notion that Husseini planted the idea of a “Final Solution” for Europe’s Jews in Hitler’s mind.

Tom Segev, a leading Israeli historian who has conducted extensive research on the Holocaust, told The Times of Israel Wednesday that the notion that Hitler needed to be convinced to exterminate the Jews was “entirely absurd.” He stressed that “one can surely say that [Husseini] was a war criminal, but one cannot say Hitler needed his advice.”

Segev, born in Jerusalem to parents who escaped Nazi Germany in 1933, further stressed that by the time Husseini and Hitler met in 1941, the annihilation of the Jews had already begun. In fact, hundreds of thousands of Jews had been killed by the Nazis and their collaborators by the time of the meeting.

So the mufti told Hitler, ‘Burn them,’ and Hitler goes, ‘Oh, what a great idea,’” Segev added ironically.

Other commentators pointed out that Hitler had discussed the possible extermination of European Jewry as early as 1939, even before World War II began and certainly before he met with Husseini. The order to carry out a Final Solution against Jews was given in July 1941 — months ahead of the mufti and Hitler’s meeting — after which the infamous Wannsee Conference was called in order to finalize the logistics and details of the mass-murder operation.

The Wannsee Conference, held in on January 20, 1942, came after the meeting between Hitler and Husseini.

The theory that Husseini played a role in the origin of the plan to commit genocide against the Jews has been raised by a number of historians including David Dalin and John Rothmann, but the notion has been rejected by a vast majority of Holocaust scholars.

Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday was not the first time the Israeli leader offered his alternate version concerning the mufti’s role in the perpetration of the Holocaust.

“Haj Amin al-Husseini was one of the leading architects of the Final Solution,” he said in 2012 during a speech at the Knesset. “He, more than anybody else, convinced [Hitler] to execute the Final Solution, and not let the Jews leave [Europe]. Because, God forbid, they would come here. Rather that they would be annihilated, burned, there.”

The prime minister was criticized across the political board Wednesday for his comments, which were described as inaccurate at best and, at worst, as a tailwind to Holocaust denial. Implying the mufti planted the idea for the Final Solution in Hitler’s mind was tantamount to some, to absolving Hitler and the Nazis, at least partially, for orchestrating the unprecedented, systematic genocide of the Jews.

"This is a dangerous distortion of history and I demand that Netanyahu correct it immediately because it trivializes the Holocaust, the Nazis, and the terrible dictator Adolf Hitler’s share in the terrible tragedy of our people in the Holocaust,” Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog said in a statement. “It falls like ripe fruit straight into the hands of Holocaust deniers, and involves them in the Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu has forgotten that he is not only the Israeli prime minister, he is also the prime minister of the Jewish people. No one will teach me what a hater of Israel the mufti was. He gave the order to kill my grandfather, Rabbi [Yitzhak HaLevi] Herzog, and actively supported Hitler,” Herzog added.
Zehava Galon, leader of the liberal Meretz party, was even more vituperative, asserting that she felt “ashamed” for Netanyahu.

“This is not a speech by [extreme right-wing Austrian politician] Jorg Haider. This is not part of the doctorate of [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas [which accused the Zionist movement of collaborating with Nazism and played down the extent of the Holocaust]. It is an absolutely accurate quote by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… It’s unbelievable,” Galon said in a statement.
Meretz leader MK Zehava Galon, June 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
“Perhaps we should exhume the 33,771 Jews killed at Babi Yar in September 1941, two months before the mufti and Hitler ever met, and let them know that the Nazis didn’t intend to destroy them. Perhaps Netanyahu will tell that to my relatives in Lithuania murdered by the Nazis along with nearly 200,000 members of the Jewish community there, well before the mufti and Hitler met,” she continued.

“I am ashamed for you, Mr. Prime Minister,” Galon added.
Joint (Arab) List party leader Ayman Odeh accused Netanyahu of distorting history in order to incite against the Palestinian people.

“The victims of the Nazi monstrosity, among them millions of Jews, are converted into cheap political propaganda to assist the refusal of peace,” Odeh said. “Netanyahu proves every day how dangerous he is to the two nations, and how far he is willing to go to consolidate his power and justify his catastrophic policies.”
Echoing Odeh’s words, the Palestinian Authority’s former chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, asserted that “Netanyahu hates Palestinians so much that he is willing to absolve Hitler for the murder of 6 million Jews.” He added that “on behalf of the thousands of Palestinians that fought alongside the Allied troops in defense of international justice, the State of Palestine denounces [Netanyahu’s] morally indefensible and inflammatory statements.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas accused Netanyahu of placing “responsibility on Haj Amin al-Husseini for the killing of Jews during the Holocaust.” He said that by implying that “Hitler was not responsible [for the Holocaust], Netanyahu wants to change history. He is changing the history of the Jews.” In a 1984 book based on his PhD dissertation, Abbas claimed that the Nazis had collaborated with the Zionists, who had also exaggerated the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Netanyahu asserted that his comments had been misconstrued. Hitler, he said, “was responsible for the extermination of six million European Jews — no one doubts that.” But, he added, “we must not ignore that the mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was among those who encouraged him to adopt the Final Solution. There is much testimony to that effect, including the testimony of Eichmann’s deputy at the Nuremberg trials.”

Addressing reporters on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport as he prepared to head to Berlin, Netanyahu said Wednesday he had no intention of “absolving Hitler of his responsibility,” but had rather meant to show that “the forefather of Palestinian nationalism, which was without a state and without what is referred to as an ‘occupation,’ without the territories and without settlements, was already aspiring, through systematic incitement, to annihilate the Jews.

To my chagrin, Haj Amin al-Husseini is to this day a revered figure in Palestinian society — he appears in textbooks and celebrated as the father of the nation — and the incitement that began with him, the incitement to kill Jews, yet persists,” he said. “The incitement must stop if we are to end the murders. The paramount thing is to acknowledge the historical facts and not ignore them.”

Netanyahu, Saying Palestinian Mufti Inspired Holocaust, Draws Broad Criticism

By JODI RUDOREN
October 21, 2015
JERUSALEM — Israeli historians and opposition politicians on Wednesday joined Palestinians in denouncing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel for saying it was a Palestinian, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who gave Hitler the idea of annihilating European Jews during World War II.
Mr. Netanyahu said in a speech to the Zionist Congress on Tuesday night that “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,” according to a transcript provided by his office. The prime minister said that the mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, protested to Hitler that “they’ll all come here,” referring to Palestine.

“ ‘So what should I do with them?’ ” Mr. Netanyahu quoted Hitler as asking Mr. Husseini. “He said, ‘Burn them.’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel speaking to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Prof. Meir Litvak, a historian at Tel Aviv University, called the speech “a lie” and “a disgrace.” Prof. Moshe Zimmermann, a specialist of German history at Hebrew University, said, “With this, Netanyahu joins a long line of people that we would call Holocaust deniers.”

Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition in the Israeli Parliament, said the accusation was “a dangerous historical distortion,” and he demanded that Mr. Netanyahu “correct it immediately.”
Even Moshe Yaalon, the defense minister and a senior member of Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party, said in a radio interview that “history is actually very, very clear.”

“Hitler initiated it,” he said. “Haj Amin al-Husseini joined him.”

The controversy came amid weeks of spiraling violence in which Mr. Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have repeatedly accused Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, of lying, principally about Israel’s actions at a contested holy site in the Old City.

Mr. Abbas was the subject of scrutiny last week when he falsely claimed that Israeli forces had executed a 13-year-old Palestinian who had attacked Israelis with a knife, when the youth was alive and being treated in an Israeli hospital.

Many Israelis have vilified Mr. Abbas as a Holocaust denier because of a book he wrote that challenged the number of Jewish victims and accused Zionists of collaborating with Nazis to propel more Jews to what would become Israel. When Mr. Abbas issued a formal statement last year calling the Holocaust “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era,” Mr. Netanyahu dismissed it.

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said on Wednesday that Mr. Netanyahu’s “regrettable statements have deepened the divide” and denounced them as “morally indefensible and inflammatory.”

“Mr. Netanyahu blamed the Palestinians for the Holocaust and completely absolved Adolf Hitler’s heinous and reprehensible genocide of the Jewish people,” Mr. Erekat said in a statement. “It is a sad day in history when the leader of the Israeli government hates his neighbor so much that he is willing to absolve the most notorious war criminal in history.”

Mr. Netanyahu, who had also called the mufti “one of the leading architects of the Final Solution” in a 2012 speech, on Wednesday called the criticism of his remarks “absurd.”

“My intention was not to absolve Hitler of his responsibility,” he said, according to a statement provided by his office as he left Israel for Germany, where he was to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel. “But rather to show that the forefathers of the Palestinian nation, without a country and without the so-called occupation, without land and without settlements, even then aspired to systematic incitement to exterminate the Jews.”

“Hitler was responsible for the Final Solution to exterminate six million Jews; he made the decision,” Mr. Netanyahu added. “It is equally absurd to ignore the role played by the Mufti, Haj Amin al -Husseini, a war criminal, for encouraging and urging Hitler.”

Mr. Netanyahu, who is scheduled to meet Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday in Berlin to discuss ways of defusing the heightened violence, said he would ask Mr. Kerry to demand that Mr. Abbas “stop the incitement that is the source of many attacks that we see here.”

There is broad agreement that the mufti, who helped instigate Arab pogroms against Jews in the holy land in the 1920s, collaborated with the Nazis and promoted genocide over deportation of Europe’s Jews as part of his virulent opposition to Zionism. He escaped prosecution in the Nuremberg trials and died in 1974.

Mark Regev, the prime minister’s spokesman, referred reporters to Mr. Netanyahu’s 1993 book, “A Place Among the Nations,” which details the mufti’s close ties to Nazis, protests of their plan to expel European Jews and support of the Final Solution, quoting from the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals.

“The mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser” in the “execution of this plan,” the book quotes Adolf Eichmann’s deputy, Dieter Wisliceny, as having testified. “He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures.”

But the book says that the mufti “met Hitler in person for the first time” on Nov. 28, 1941 — two months before the Final Solution was formalized and the construction of extermination camps accelerated, according to historians, but after the mass murder of Jews had begun, and roughly one million had perished.
Professor Zimmermann, the Hebrew University historian, said on Israel Radio that Mr. Netanyahu was “doing something he must not do,” and that in “the protocol” of the 1941 meeting between the mufti and Hitler, “the text that Netanyahu speaks of does not appear.”

He moves the responsibility of the Holocaust, for the destruction of the Jews, to the mufti and the Arab world,” Professor Zimmermann said. “This is a trick intended to stain the Arabs of today because of the Arabs of the past. To pile on the Arabs of the past by easing up on the Germans of the past.”

Professor Litvak of Tel Aviv University said the speech was “the height of the distortion of history.”

“Hitler did not need Husseini to convince him.” he said on Army Radio. “Hitler spoke of the destruction of the Jews in his famous speech in 1939, in which he prophesied that if war will break out and the Jews started it, the result will be the destruction of the Jewish race. He repeated these declarations.”

Stefan Ihrig, a German historian at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem and the author of “Ataturk in the Nazi Imagination,” said that Mr. Netanyahu “is right in noting that there were connections between the grand mufti and the Nazis.” But he added that “this cannot be used to shift blame away from the Nazis,” and that it “does not provide us with new scapegoats.”

The logic and the path leading to Auschwitz was an entirely German and a Nazi one,” Mr. Ihrig said. “The Nazis found a lot of inspiration in many past and contemporary events, and from contacts with lots of peoples. But it would be folly to assume that, actually, they needed these to go on their own genocidal path to begin with.”

But Edy Cohen of Bar-Ilan University, an expert on Arab collaboration with the Nazis, said he supported Mr. Netanyahu’s take on history, though he said it was impossible to precisely balance blame for the extermination idea.

“What I can surely say is that both men mutually inspired each other,” Mr. Cohen said, adding that the mufti promoted plans to bring Jews from the Middle East to concentration camps in what was then mandatory Palestine. “One can’t be in their heads and know who hated Jews more.”

Tzachi Hanegbi, a Likud leader in Parliament who is close to Mr. Netanyahu, came to the prime minister’s defense, telling Israel Radio, “He made no mistake.”

The mufti, Mr. Hanegbi said, “also tried to ensure that when the Germans reached Israel, as he hoped they would, they would also destroy the Jews of Israel.”


“There is no question that the prime minister did not erase, by an iota, Hitler’s absolute responsibility for the destruction of six million of our people, including my family,” he said. “But the role played by Haj Amin el-Husseini in the decision that led to the Final Solution also cannot be erased. And all the people who feel moved to defend Haj Amin el-Husseini today are the ones making a historic lie.”

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