The NYT writes:
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.To the newspaper's credit, they published part of Bibi's clarification:
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.’ ”
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.”
“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.”What was not quoted was Bibi's entire explanation (received via email), which included:
“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.”
It is equally absurd to ignore the role played by the Mufti, Haj Amin al -Husseini, a war criminal, for encouraging and urging Hitler, Ribbentropp, Himmler and others, to exterminate European Jewry. There is much evidence about this, including the testimony of Eichmann's deputy at the Nuremberg trials, not now, but after World War II. He said:It is a shame that Netanyahu screwed up the message so that now the truth about the Mufti's role is obscured by his unfortunate wording.
'The Mufti was instrumental in the decision to exterminate the Jews of Europe. The importance of his role must not be ignored. The Mufti repeatedly proposed to the authorities, primarily Hitler, Ribbentropp and Himmler, to exterminate the Jews of Europe. He considered it a suitable solution for the Palestinian question'.Eichmann's deputy, added:
'The Mufti was one of the instigators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and was a partner and adviser to Eichmann and Hitler for carrying out this plan'.The attempt by certain scholars and people to be apologists for the key and important role of Haj Amin al-Husseini, is clear. Many other researchers cite this testimony and others regarding the role of Haj Amin al Husseini.
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.
Unfortunately, Haj Amin al-Husseini is still a revered figure in Palestinian society, he appears in textbooks and it is taught that he is one of the founding fathers of the nation, and this incitement that started then with him, inciting the murder of Jews - continues. Not in the same format, but in a different one and this is the root of the problem. To stop the murders, it is necessary to stop the incitement.
What is important is to recognize the historical facts and not ignore them, not then and not today".
Especially since the Mufti, an unrepentant Jew-hater, is considered a hero to the Palestinians - Palestinians who are now gleefully calling Bibi a Holocaust denier. (Suddenly, Hitler is a symbol of evil to them. Last week he was a hero.)
Finally, the NYT included this problematic sentence:
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.No, it was his pure antisemitism. To say that the Mufti was prompted by anti-Zionism is to whitewash his hate and his crimes. His role in the Holocaust had nothing to do with Zionism - he wanted all Jews dead.
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