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historical ironies
Mufti Bests Bibi

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on the defensive after declaring that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, a Palestinian, inspired Hitler’s Final Solution. The Times of Israel reports:

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 rejected, saying he had “no intention to absolve Hitler of responsibility for his diabolical destruction of European Jewry” but that it was “equally absurd to ignore the role played by the Mufti” in urging Nazi leaders “to exterminate European Jewry.”

The irony here is that the Grand Mufti was a political failure who failed to marshal virtually any sympathy for the Palestinians during his ruinous tenure. A close ally of Hitler and Eichmann (the Nazis liked him so much that they thought he must have Aryan roots), al-Husseini led the Palestinian national movement starting in 1921. Needless to say, his Nazi affiliations helped convince critical players in postwar politics—including American progressives, and, even more critically, Joseph Stalin—that the movement was essentially a fascist militia. He also obstructed the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, paving the way for the establishment of a Jewish State.

The bottom line: al-Husseini was an ineffective leader who did more than almost any other leader to generate animosity and distrust for the Palestinian cause. Now he’s reached out from the grave and tripped up a controversial Zionist politician. It’s probably the most he’s ever done to garner world sympathy for the Palestinians.

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  • qet

    “. . .to garner world sympathy for the Palestinians.”

    Please. That bar is so low even Satan would have to dig a tunnel to crawl under it. It’s easy to be circumspect when it is not the citizens whose lives you are responsible for protecting who are being stabbed and run over by Palestinians daily, and egged on in doing it by pretty much the entire Western world (and the rest of it, too).

  • Gene

    Whether Netanyahu’s comments were strictly accurate or not, at least the point is being made that the Mufti THOUGHT THE FINAL SOLUTION WAS A GOOD IDEA. The ideological and moral sympathies between the Nazis and the Mufti and his cohorts are well spelled out in Paul Berman’s “The Flight of the Intellectuals” and other sources, and it’s high time that this history is out there for the world to see. There’s also plenty of evidence, out there every day for anyone not afraid to show a little integrity and face hard truths, that the Mufti’s attitudes live on in the hearts of a vast number of people in the ME.

    Those who are anxious to play gotcha with this rhetorical mistake tell us more about themselves than about anything else.

    • Ellen

      Right on, brother. Bibi is totally right in bringing this up, because the Mufti’s attitudes live on as the central plank of Palestinian nationalism today. The fact that he was a total failure (as was his cousin Yasser Arafat) is entirely beside the point. The Arabs as a whole have been failures, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t caused a lot of pain and damage to Israel. The point here is that Palestinian nationalism is a national movement of hatred with genocidal intentions. That is what Bibi successfully was drawing attention to. In short, they do not deserve a state or even a little Emirate like Gaza, because even a small territory will be used for the main point of their movement which is to murder Jews individually and collectively. They don’t have the slightest interest in building a state, their interest is only – as with the Mufti – in destroying the Jewish state.

      • Gene

        I thought the Mufti was Arafat’s father-in-law?

        • Ellen

          No, they were part of the Husseini clan, which was a sprawling extended family. Who can remember what the exact lineage was, but it doesn’t matter. Hatred and incompetence both run in the blood of that family.

    • Andrew Allison

      TAI is guilty of following the herd rather than thinking about this topic.

  • Paul Linsay

    Netanyahu wasn’t that far off.

    The Grand Mufti spent the 1930’s trying to get the Nazis to come to Palestine and help him with his Jewish problem, by killing them. He spent WWII in Berlin as a guest of Hitler making daily proganda broadcasts to the Muslim world. The Ayatollah Khomeni was one of his biggest fans. He also organized a Muslim SS brigade of 25,000 Bosnians and Albanians that marched around the Balkans and massacred Christians and Jews, in one case slaughtering 6,500 Orthodox Christians.

    After the war, the British wanted to try him as a war criminal, but he escaped to Egypt. One of his protoges was Yassar Arafat. How is that not a success? Oh, and he was also a very important member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama’s favorite Muslim political party.

    Which brings up another point, the MB was funded and trained by the Nazis prior to WWII and served as a safe haven in Egypt after the war to many SS and Gestapo officers.

  • jburack

    This is a pathetically inadequate assessment of the Mufti and his influence and of Netenyahu’s error. It does not tell us what Netenyahu got wrong (which is that the Mufti did not give Hitler the idea of the Holocaust in Nov. 1941; Hitler was already planning it), but it also does not tell us what Netenyahu got right, which is vastly more important now. What he got right was that the Mufti was absolutely NOT a political failure in his own terms at all. He fashioned the anti-Zionist crusade of his people into a potent weapon based on a fusion of Nazi ideology with distorted Islamic interpretations in support of a virulent anti-Semitism that is as alive now in the Arab world as it was in his day and as powerful in preventing any settlement of the Palestinian issue. Were he here now, he would be very happy with what he had wrought. Calling his effort a failure is myopic, except in so far as the entire Palestinian ideology is itself a failure. Please see Jeffrey Herf (who at times contributes here) on this matter.
    http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-husseini-and-the-historians/

  • Ellen

    Read Caroline Glick’s wonderful essay in the JPost today. She tells it like it is. Bibi is crazy like a fox, she says because he is beating the western media at its own despicable little game. The roots of Palestinian nationalism come from Haj Amin el Husseini. He was the most important Muslim cleric in Mandatory Palestine and helped to create a movement that was devoid of any positive national sentiment and devoid of any practical plans to build a state. There was never any Palestinian analogy to the Israeli Labor Party which built an economy, an army, an educational system, labor unions, and a political system, well before Israel became a state, in preparation for it.

    El Husseini created an environment of terror and hatred and incitement to murder as the foundation of Palestinian society. And now everybody knows about it in spite of the Western Media’s attempt over many years to whitewash this history and delete it from the historical record. It is now probably one of the most Googled subjects on the Middle East. The photo of Husseini and Hitler in Berlin is now floating around all over the internet.

    Bravo, Bibi! You beat not only the Mufti, but more important, his ideological descendants including those on the staff of the NY Times.

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