A Monster Himself: Such is Benjamin Netanyahu's hatred of the Palestinian people that he is willing to absolve Adolf Hitler of responsibility for the Holocaust and shift it, instead, onto the shoulders of a Palestinian cleric, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini (1897-1974). This revisionist lie reveals the true extent of Zionism's moral collapse.
WRITING ABOUT ISRAEL is never easy. Always there is the shadow of the Shoah. The attempted genocide of the Jewish people by the Nazis interposes itself between the Israeli people and their critics. The Holocaust is a crime so vast in scope, so horrendous in execution, that the crimes of the Israeli state seem small and petty by comparison. Whatever Israel does risks being absorbed in, and absolved by, the Jewish people’s unique historical tragedy.
A cynic might even go so far as to suggest that the Shoah is Israel’s most precious possession. Those grainy black and white images, recorded by the liberators of the death camps at the end of World War II, are seared upon humanity’s collective memory. The mechanisation – no, the industrialisation – of mass murder marked a definitive break in the supposedly upward trajectory of civilisation. In Auschwitz and Treblinka humankind was presented with an abysmal mirror, into which most people did not care to look.
That the victims of the Holocaust were Jews contributed an inescapably religious dimension to the horror. God’s chosen people, reviled and persecuted across the centuries, had finally become the playthings of pure evil. Who dared object to the traumatised survivors being allowed to return to their ancient homeland? How could the West, who worshipped a crucified Jew, possibly say “No.” to the State of Israel? Hadn’t the Jews earned it?
The answer, of course, is “No. They had bought, borrowed and (in the end) stolen it from the people who had lived in the land the Romans called “Palestine” from the Second Century to the late Nineteenth Century, when Theodor Herzl and his Zionists began buying up Palestinian farms and businesses. The encroachment of these Jewish settlers, and their settlements, gathered pace through the early decades of the Twentieth Century, to the point where the Palestinians and their religious leaders rose in angry revolt. One of those leaders, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was to become an implacable enemy of the Zionist project.
Palestinian protests and uprisings against the unceasing encroachments of Israeli settlers and settlements continues to this very day. In its latest manifestation, the resistance takes the form of what amount to suicidal knife attacks on Israelis as they walk the streets of Old Jerusalem. Not surprisingly, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s belligerent Prime Minister, has demanded that these attacks be quelled – by any means necessary!
Few would have predicted, however, that in his determination to rouse the passions of his people, Netanyahu would have seized upon the single most important – and certainly the most sacred – talisman of the Israeli state: the Shoah.
So intense is the Israeli PM’s hatred of the Palestinians that, in a speech to the World Jewish Congress, he claimed that the responsibility for the mass murder of European Jewry lay not with Adolf Hitler and his Nazi co-conspirators, but with the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.
Haj Amin al-Husseini meets with Adolf Hitler in Berlin, 28 November 1941.
“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time”, Netanyahu told the Congress, “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’.”
Historians from all over the world, and many within Israel, responded to Netanyahu’s words with a mixture of fury and disbelief. The Nazi’s genocidal project was commenced long before al-Husseini met with Hitler on 28 November 1941. The infamous Wannsee Conference, held outside Berlin in January 1942, brought together for final approval plans and specifications demanded several months earlier, as the massive logistical implications of Hitler’s “final solution” to the Jewish Question became clear. The Mufti of Jerusalem was little more than a Nazi catspaw in the complex military and diplomatic equation that was the Middle East. For anyone to suggest that he, and, by some curious Zionist variant of the “blood libel”, the Palestinian people, were responsible for the Holocaust would be outrageous. But for the Prime Minister of Israel to make such a statement, in the midst of serious sectarian strife, is beyond outrageous – it is criminal.
It also marks an important, and quite possibly fatal, deterioration in the intellectual and moral condition of Zionism. That a Zionist leader is willing to publicly exonerate Adolf Hitler for the extermination of six million Jews, and place the blame, instead, upon a Palestinian cleric, indicates how abysmal are the depths into which the defenders of Israel have fallen.
The Nineteenth Century German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, said: “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
Have we not just seen the abyss swallow up the monster called Netanyahu?
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Saturday, 24 October 2015.