Netanyahu Retracts Claim That a Palestinian Cleric Inspired the Holocaust
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday retracted his controversial assertion that it was Palestinian cleric Haj Amin al-Husseini who gave Adolf Hitler the idea of exterminating Europe’s Jews during World War II.
From The New York Times:
“The decision to move from a policy of deporting Jews to the Final Solution was made by the Nazis and was not dependent on outside influence,” Mr. Netanyahu posted on Facebook, in Hebrew and English. “The Nazis saw in the Mufti a collaborator, but they did not need him to decide on the systematic destruction of European Jewry, which began in June 1941.”
He went on: “Contrary to the impression that was created, I did not mean to claim that in his conversation with Hitler in November 1941 the Mufti convinced him to adopt the Final Solution. The Nazis decided on that by themselves.”
That description aligns with the prevailing view of Holocaust historians, but was contradicted by Mr. Netanyahu in a speech on Oct. 20 to the World Zionist Congress where he recounted the meeting between Hitler and Mr. Husseini. “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time — he wanted to expel the Jews,” Mr. Netanyahu said in his speech. He quoted the mufti as saying, “If you expel them, they’ll all come here,” referring to Palestine, and then said Hitler had asked, “So what should I do with them?” The mufti replied, “Burn them,” according to Mr. Netanyahu.
Historians declared his account to be a lie that appeases Holocaust denial, and many political analysts said Mr. Netanyahu’s speech undermined his own accusations that President Mahmoud Abbas of The Palestinian Authority was peddling falsehoods. But the controversy had mostly died down, making the timing of Mr. Netanyahu’s Facebook post — on a Friday afternoon, a quiet time in the Israeli news media — curious.
Asked why the prime minister had issued the additional statement, a senior Israeli official would only say, “Set the record straight,” and only on the condition of anonymity.
Mr. Netanyahu wrote in the Facebook post that his initial “remarks were intended to illustrate the murderous approach of the mufti to the Jews in his lengthy contacts with the Nazi leadership.” He said Mr. Husseini “propagated the big lie that the Jews intend to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque,” an idea that has been cited as a main motivator for this month’s spate of Palestinian attacks against Israeli Jews.
“This lie lives on and continues to exact a price in blood,” Mr. Netanyahu continued. Saying that Mr. Abbas in 2013 called Mr. Husseini “a Palestinian ‘pioneer,’ ” he added, “That the mufti remains an iconic figure among the Palestinian leadership today speaks volumes about that leadership’s real attitude towards Israel.”
Read more here.
SEE ALSO: Has Netanyahu No Shame?
–Posted by Roisin DavisWAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.