News sites around the world today are talking about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion in a speech yesterday that Hitler didn’t want to kill the Jews, just expel them, till he was convinced to exterminate them by the Palestinian leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. The criticism is so universal, and angry, that the remarks look to be a landmark in Netanyahu’s cynicism; they draw back the curtain for the world on his refusal to sincerely address Palestinians aspirations for freedom today.
Yet, in the face of the criticism Netanyahu is doubling down on his contention that Palestinians incited the holocaust. Here is what he said today before leaving to Berlin:
My intention was not to absolve Hitler of his responsibility, 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.
Meanwhile, Germany says it has no idea what Netanyahu is talking about.
Here is the speech to the World Zionist Organization, in which Netanyahu relates the ten biggest lies told about Israel. One lie is that Israel intends to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. He says this lie has a long pedigree, going back to the mufti. The relevant portion begins at 2:55.
Here’s the passage:
My grandfather came to this land in 1920 and he landed in Jaffa, and very shortly after he landed he went to the immigration office in Jaffa. And a few months later it was burned down by marauders. These attackers, Arab attackers, murdered several Jews, including our celebrated writer Brenner.
And this attack and other attacks on the Jewish community in 1920, 1921, 1929, were instigated by a call of the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was later sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he 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. He said, “Burn them.” And he was sought in, during the Nuremberg trials for prosecution. He escaped it and later died of cancer, after the war, died of cancer in Cairo. But this is what Haj Amin al-Husseini said. He said, “The Jews seek to destroy… the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The remarks are a huge embarrassment. Even Israeli leaders are characterizing them as “shameful,” according to the Times of Israel.
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.
The Guardian says the speech has drawn a storm of criticism with many saying that Netanyahu is trivializing the Holocaust.
India Today says the speech has stirred up trouble for Netanyahu, and quotes Saeb Erekat:
It is a sad day in history when the leader of the Israeli government hates his neighbour so much that he is willing to absolve the most notorious war criminal in history, Adolf Hitler, of the murder of six million Jews,” Saeb Erekat, the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s secretary general, said.
“Mr Netanyahu should stop using this human tragedy to score points for his political end,” said Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator with the Israelis.
Ali Abunimah says that Netanyahu is practicing Holocaust denial and seeking to “whitewash Hitler.”
Scott Roth characterizes this as an ad hoc historical theory.
The philosophical underpinnings of Israel r intellectually & morally bankrupt. This is why we see these sort of ad hoc historical theories.
CJ Werleman cracks:
Netanyahu blames Palestinians – not Nazis – for Holocaust. Somewhere in Hell, Hitler high-fives the Devil.
Knesset member Ahmad Tibi had perhaps the best line in reference to Netanyahu’s race baiting before the last Israeli elections:
It was the mufti who rented the buses that took Arabs to the polls in droves
Max Blumenthal points out that Netanyahu has peddled this theory before, in 2009 speech. Netanyahu:
Eichmann’s deputy, Dieter Wisliceny, provided the following chilling testimony at Nuremberg: “The Mufti played a role in the decision to destroy the Jews of Europe. The importance of his role cannot be ignored. The Mufti repeatedly proposed to the authorities with whom he was in contact, first and foremost Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, to destroy the European Jews. He saw in that an appropriate solution to the Palestinian question”. Wisliceny even provided hearsay evidence that the Mufti was directly involved in the Final Solution. “The Mufti was one of the initiators of the methodical destruction of the Jews of Europe and was a partner and consultant to Eichmann and Hitler on how to execute the plan. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and constantly pushed him to speed up the destruction. With my own ears,” he said, “I heard him say that he visited the gas chambers of Auschwitz anonymously in the company of Eichmann”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As opposed to the things being said by Iran’s representatives and others, the Zionist leaders did not use the Holocaust to destroy the Palestinian national movement. On the contrary, the most senior Palestinian leader at the time, the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini preached and acted to implement the Holocaust in order to destroy the Zionist movement. It almost worked.
The Times of Israel quotes Tom Segev disputing Netanyahu’s history:
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.
Here is another sign of how the speech is blowing up in Netanyahu’s face. From the Huffington Post’s Jessica Schulberg, on Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer’s claim:
Dermer says if US spent 1/10 the time worrying about Palestinian incitement as “Jews building apartments in Jerusalem” things would be diff
Israelis are trying to change the subject.