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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