Friday, October 23, 2015

German publishers have refused to translate the most extensive record of Husseini’s fulminations against the Jews

Very few Europeans have ever heard of the Mufti of Jerusalem.  The same can be said about European Jews.  The subject is strictly off limits and is occasionally mentioned in passing.  To illustrate this point, in 2009, the Berlin publicly-funded Multicultural Center's (Werkstatt der Kulturen) decided to remove educational panels of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husseini, who was an ally of Adolf Hitler from an exhibit. The organisers "denied that there was an "agreement " reached with the local German-Muslim community to shut down the exhibit". 

Jeffrey Herf writes @ The Times of Israel:

[...] Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World drew on German archives and on the files of the United States Department of State and US intelligence agencies to present the most extensive documentation available about the vast Arabic language propaganda radio broadcasts and printed leaflets that the Nazi regime sent to the Arab societies during World War II. Husseini played a central role in those broadcasts. He became world famous at the time for his incitement on the radio to “kill the Jews” in summer 1942 as Rommel’s Afrika Korps threatened to overwhelm the British and capture the Jews of pre-state Palestine. 

As the German historians Klaus Michael Mallmann and Martin Cuppers have documented in Nazi Palestine: Plans for the Extermination of the Jews of Palestine, had the Germans won the Battle of Al Alamein, an SS Einsatzgruppe was prepared to come to Egypt to carry out mass murders with techniques that had been perfected on the Eastern Front in Europe. The record of Husseini’s ranting and raving on Nazi radio was well documented by American diplomats at the Embassy in wartime Cairo. I used those thousands of pages of translations when I wrote Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. (That work is translated into French, Italian, Japanese and Spanish but for some strange reason German publishers in a country famous for “coming to terms with the Nazi past” have refused to translate the most extensive record of Husseini’s fulminations against the Jews.)  [...]

Though the Prime Minister is thus wrong about Husseini’s role in the decisions that led to the Holocaust of the Jews in Europe, he is right to draw attention to Husseini’s disastrous impact on Palestinian politics and society. In response to the storm of criticism that greeted his remarks, Netanyahu replied:
My intention was not to absolve Hitler of his responsibility, but rather to show that the forefathers of the Palestinian nation, without a country and without the so-called ‘occupation’, without land and without settlements, even then aspired to systematic incitement to exterminate the Jews.
Husseini absolutely wanted to exterminate the Jews, above all, the Jews of pre-state Palestine, and then the Jews of Israel. The evidence of Husseini’s pleas to kill the Jews, of his boundless hatred of Judaism as a religion and the Jews as a people is well documented in Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World.
He embedded his Jew-hatred in his understanding of Islam as early as a 1937 speech in Syria that the Germans published in German the following year. In the midst of the terrorist attacks he led and incited from 1936 to 1939 in Palestine, it was Husseini who claimed that the Zionists wanted to seize or destroy the Al Aksa Mosque. This lie became a central element of Palestinian propaganda over the decades until recent weeks.
On November 5, 1943, Husseini spoke at the Islamic Institute in Berlin on “Balfour Day,” a day to denounce the Balfour Declaration. The speech was printed in German and broadcast on the radio. I examine it in Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. He vents his hatred of the Jews and the British for helping the Zionists. The Jews, he said, had tormented the world for ages, and have been the enemy of the Arabs and of Islam since its emergence. The Holy Koran expressed this old enmity in the following words: You will find that those who are most hostile to the believers are the Jews.’ They tried to poison the great and noble prophets. They resisted them, were hostile to them, and intrigued against them. This was the case for 1,300 years. For all that time, they have not stopped spinning intrigues against the Arabs and Muslims.

Husseini the Palestinian leader of the war of 1948 and hero to Yasser Arafat and his generation of leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization, interpreted Zionism as only the most recent of this supposed age-old Jewish hostility not only to the Palestinians or Arabs as modern national groups but also to the religion of Islam. In the Islamic Institute speech he also referred to a supposed “Jewish desire” to seize the Islamic holy sites, a desire that extended to the Al Akas Mosque. Indeed, the Jews, he said, planned “to build a temple on its ruins.” Haj Amin al-Husseini’s very regrettable but consequential accomplishment was to fuse secular Arab anti-Zionism with the Islamist and thus theologically inspired hatred of the Jews and Judaism. The lies which Mahmoud Abbas and others have told in recent weeks about Israel’s supposed desire to somehow infringe on the rights of Muslims to pay at the Al Aksa Mosque have their origins in lies that are now at least 75 years old. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu added the following:
Unfortunately, Haj Amin al-Husseini is still a revered figure in Palestinian society. He appears in textbooks and it is taught that he is one of the founding fathers of the nation, and this incitement that started then with him, inciting the murder of Jews – continues. Not in the same format, but in a different one, and this is the root of the problem. To stop the murders, it is necessary to stop the incitement. What is important is to recognize the historical facts and not ignore them, not then and not today.
Here the Prime Minister is on rock solid ground. Far from denouncing Husseini for spreading lies, absurd conspiracy theories and radical anti-Semitism, he has remained a revered figure in Palestinian political memory. The absurdities for which Husseini became famous in the 1940s have continued to play a far too prominent role in the Palestinian political culture ever since. He did incite others to murder Jews. He did spread ridiculous conspiracy theories comparable to those of the Nazis. He did all that he could to help the Nazis in a failing effort to spread the Holocaust to the Middle East and to win the war in Eurpoe. He left behind a legacy of hatred, paranoia, religious fanaticism and celebration of terror so long as it was aimed at Jews and Israelis. The Palestinian authority and Hamas even more so has kept that legacy is alive and well and fills the heads of Palestinian teenagers with rubbish that has led to the terror wave of recent weeks. 

The Prime Minister has erred in his understanding of the timing of Hitler’s decision making but he is right about Husseini’s disastrous impact on Palestinian political culture. Read more.

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