The German government responded Wednesday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s outrageous attempt to blame Palestine for the Holocaust.

On Tuesday evening, Netanyahu ignited a firestorm with remarks made at a Zionist Congress meeting suggesting that Haj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian religious leader who held the title of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the 1920s and 1930s, had inspired Hitler to enact the Final Solution, a policy that led to the deaths of more than 6 million Jews during World War II. According to Netanyahu, “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 incendiary claim was quickly denounced by Israeli historians and politicians, as well as Palestinian leaders. The remark also inspired a Twitter hashtag, #bibihistorylessons, which included responses like this:

From Reuters:

The German government said on Wednesday that responsibility for the Holocaust lay with the Germans, after Israel’s prime minister sparked controversy before a visit to Berlin by saying a Muslim elder had convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate Jews.

“All Germans know the history of the murderous race mania of the Nazis that led to the break with civilization that was the Holocaust,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said when asked about Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks.

“This is taught in German schools for good reason, it must never be forgotten. And I see no reason to change our view of history in any way. We know that responsibility for this crime against humanity is German and very much our own.”

Hours before leaving for Berlin, Netanyahu referred in a speech to a series of attacks by Muslims against Jews in Palestine during the 1920s that he said were instigated by the then Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

“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.’

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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