Israeli PM Netanyahu is covering up for Hitler?
A report below that I will have a lot to say about immediately following it:
The Israeli Prime Minister has caused a storm hours before his visit to Germany by saying the former Palestinian Muslim elder in Jerusalem convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews.
In a speech to the Zionist Congress late on Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu referred to a series of attacks by Muslims against Jews in Palestine during the 1920s. He claimed they were instigated by the then Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.
Husseini famously flew to visit Hitler in Berlin in 1941, and Netanyahu said that meeting was instrumental in the Nazi leader's decision to launch a campaign to annihilate the Jews. 'Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,' Netanyahu said in the speech.
'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?" Netanyahu said Hitler asked the mufti, who responded: 'Burn them.'
Netanyahu, whose father was an eminent historian, was quickly harangued by opposition politicians and experts on the Holocaust who said he was distorting the historical record.
Palestinian officials said Netanyahu appeared to be absolving Hitler of the murder of six million Jews in order to lay the blame on Muslims. Twitter was awash with criticism.
Saeb Erekat, the PLO's secretary general and chief Palestinian negotiator with the Israelis, said: '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.
'Mr Netanyahu should stop using this human tragedy to score points for his political end.'
Even Netanyahu's defence minister, close ally Moshe Yaalon, said the prime minister had got it wrong. 'It certainly wasn't (Husseini) who invented the Final Solution,' Yaalon told Israel's Army Radio. 'That was the evil brainchild of Hitler himself.'
It is not clear what sources Netanyahu was relying on for his comments. A 1947 book 'The Mufti of Jerusalem' and a newspaper report at the time said a former Hitler deputy had testified at the Nuremberg war crimes trials that Husseini had plotted with the Nazi leader to rid Europe of its Jews.
Husseini was sought for war crimes but never appeared at the Nuremberg proceedings and later died in Cairo.
That Netanyahu was in any way excusing Hitler must be one of the most absurd suggestions ever but nothing is too absurd for the Leftist media. Netanyahu is a long-time student of the relationship between Hitler and the Arabs so his words are well-considered.
There are two issues in the matter. Did Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, change Hitler's mind about the Jews and was Netanyahu in some way excusing Hitler?
The second is of course absurd and Netanyahu said it was absurd. Hitler was the man who set the holocaust in train and he and his henchmen are to blame for it. Nothing can excuse that. Only the Leftist media would suggest otherwise. An attempt to understand Hitler's mind is not an attempt to wipe away his guilt.
The more interesting question is what influence the Mufti had on Hitler's thinking. And here the first thing to know is that it was Hitler's practice in all policy areas to give only general guidance and leave it up to his deputies to sort out the details.
It is certainly crystal clear that Hitler was hostile to the Jews from early on but it is NOT clear exactly what he wanted to do about them. Many historians have suggested that he initially wanted only to expel them but gave up on that idea when nobody else would have them.
Netanyahu however, from his reading, claims that it was not only the difficulty of expelling them but also the advice of the Mufti that changed Hitler's mind.
But again we hit the problem that NOBODY knows Hitler's exact thoughts on the matter. He certainly kept his public pronouncements vague -- as politicians usually do -- so Netanyahu's reconstruction of his thinking is as good as any other. Hitler may or may not have been swayed by the Mufti in allowing the destruction of the Jews. Netanyahu has his reasons for his reconstruction and we may in time hear the details of that.
There is an account of what transpired during the meeting beteen Hitler and the Mufti and it does not mention the words that Netanyahu quoted. But that fails to note that the account is not verbatim. It is a journalistic account in the third person so involves an element of interpretation and selection by the reporter.
My view is that we will never know at what point Hitler decided that the Jews had to be exterminated.
Now for some other comments on the matter with which I only partially agree.
Mufti Advised Hitler on Holocaust, Says Middle East Forum Scholar
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn criticism for comments about the role of al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in conceiving and perpetrating the Holocaust.
Indeed, leading Nazi aides testified that al-Husaini was one of the instigators of the genocide. In his Damascus memoirs, the mufti admitted how he advised Hitler and other leading Nazis, and that he acquired full knowledge of the ongoing mass murder.
Middle East Forum scholar, historian, and author Wolfgang G. Schwanitz added, "It is a historical fact that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini was an accomplice whose collaboration with Adolf Hitler played an important role in the Holocaust. He was the foremost extra-European adviser in the process to destroy the Jews of Europe."
Although Schwanitz hadn't previously heard the dialogue between Hitler and al-Husaini as told by Netanyahu, he says it is absurd to ignore the role played by al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, a war criminal, in encouraging and urging Hitler and other leading Nazis to exterminate European Jewry.
According to the foremost expert on the ties between Nazis and Islamists, there is much evidence that al-Husaini's primary goal was blocking all of the ways out of Europe. He pushed Hitler to slam the last doors of a burning house shut.
In their 2014 book Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, published by Yale University Press, Schwanitz and co-author Barry Rubin delve into the deep ties between Hitler and the Grand Mufti:
"At their meeting [on November 28, 1941, Hitler and al-Husaini] concluded the pact of Jewish genocide in Europe and the Middle East, and immediately afterward, Hitler gave the order to prepare for the Holocaust. The next day invitations went out to thirteen Nazis for the Wannsee Conference to begin organizing the logistics of this mass murder."
The highly acclaimed book also examined the Grand Mufti's efforts to prevent Europe's Jews from finding refuge in the land that would become Israel:
"And since any European Jews let out of Europe might later go to Palestine, al-Husaini made it clear that if Hitler wanted Muslims and Arabs as allies he must close Europe's exits to Jews. At the same time, al-Husaini and Arab rulers also told Britain that if it wanted to keep Arabs and Muslims from being enemies, it must close entrance to Palestine to all Jews. By succeeding on both fronts, al-Husaini contributed to the Holocaust doubly, directly, and from the start."
The comments above about the Wannsee conference are misleading. It was called, not by Hitler but by Heydrich. Hitler did not attend. And the claim: "The next day invitations went out" seems unlikely, as the conference took place on 20 January 1942, nearly two months later. And we can't be sure what was said and decided there. Both Eichmann, who took the notes of the meeting, and Heydrich, deliberately made sure that the final record of the conference was kept bland with nothing too specific in it. So, with great respect to Schwanitz and the late Barry Rubin, I can see no way in which the Wannsee conference is at all relevant to what Netanyahu specifically said.
So I stand by what I said earlier: The matter is indeterminate. Netanyahu has his grounds for his interpretation and others have their grounds