In a speech delivered on Tuesday at the 37th Zionist Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made waves when he discussed the relationship between Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.
“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.’”
The New York Times headline declared, “Netanyahu Draws Broad Criticism After Saying a Palestinian Inspired Holocaust.”
The Guardian published a piece titled, “Anger at Netanyahu claim Palestinian grand mufti inspired Holocaust.”
Countless other mainstream media outlets followed suit, piling on criticism of Netanyahu.
Many media outlets insisted on referring to Husseini as a Palestinian, despite the fact that the leader of the Arabs in British Mandate Palestine would never have been referred to as a Palestinian because that title was sometimes reserved for the Jews living there. In fact, it was PLO leader and Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat who was widely recognized as one of the first leaders of the Palestinian movement, which began as a result of the Arabs’ defeat in the Arab-Israeli war in 1967.
A member of the PLO Executive Committee admitted as much in a 1977 interview when he said: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.”
Netanyahu later clarified that his greater point was to say that, far before the concept of an Arab-Muslim Palestinian ever existed or before the modern state of Israel was declared, Islamic leaders in the land still sought to eliminate the Jews.
“My intention was not to absolve Hitler of his responsibility,” he later explained. “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,” a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office 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.”
The Israeli Prime Minister is speaking of the same Mufti who once said, broadcasting in Arabic from Berlin, “Kill the Jews wherever you find them – this is Allah’s will.”
Whether or not the Mufti actually convinced Hitler to go forward with his plans is a fair topic for debate.
However, the Mufti did support and encourage Hitler in his quest for worldwide Jewish extermination, as proven through historical transcripts provided by the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
In November 1941, the two leaders met in Berlin to discuss the future of the Jewish people living in British Mandate Palestine. Hitler told Husseini that the “struggle against a Jewish homeland in Palestine” would be part of his larger efforts against the Jews. Hitler assured him that when the German army advanced on the Middle East, he would announce to the Arab world that “the hour of liberation is at hand.” Their only goal, Hitler said, “would be the annihilation of Jewry living in Arab space under the protection of British power.”
Moreover, according to the prosecution team during the Nuremberg trials, the Mufti did indeed play a role in facilitating the annihilation of European Jews.
“The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry for the Germans and had been the permanent collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of the plan… According to my opinion, the Grand Mufti, who had been in Berlin since 1941, played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews,” an SS officer admitted during the trials.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, a man who is revered by some as the founding father of the Palestinian movement, was undoubtedly a supporter of the extermination of Jews, an uncomfortable fact that the international pro-Palestinian Left has not addressed in its criticism of Netanyahu.