Democracy and Class Struggle says that Netanyahu proves once again that Zionism is and will always will be enemy of Jewish People -
Netanyahu's Revisionist Zionist History Serves Anti Palestinian Agenda not Jewish People
According to Netanyahu, the grand mufti (whose title means he was the senior Sunni Muslim religious leader in the city) convinced Hitler to launch a campaign of extermination when the two men met in November 1941.
"Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews," Netanyahu said. "And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here [to Palestine].’" In Netanyahu's history, Hitler then asked, "What should I do with them?" Al-Husseini replied, "Burn them."
The clear implication is that without al-Husseini, Hitler would simply have expelled the Jews in Nazi-controlled territory, not murdered them. It's true that al-Husseini was a virulent, murderous anti-Semite who was in contact with Hitler.
But according to virtually all reputable historians, it is not true that he inspired the Holocaust.
Netanyahu's apparent effort to pin the Holocaust on Palestinians has become such a controversy that even the German government spokesperson, extraordinarily, condemned the comments: "We know that responsibility for this crime against humanity is German and very much our own."
Here's what Netanyahu's history gets wrong, and what it shows about the politicization of the Holocaust.
Netanyahu's revisionism versus the actual history
There's still a lot of debate among historians over the origins of the Holocaust, particularly the question of whether Hitler's ideas led him to plot an extermination campaign years before the camps were built (the "intentionalist" view) or the Holocaust evolved somewhat organically from Nazi policy during the war (the "functionalist" view).
But there are issues on which scholars agree. "Historians have reached relative consensus on a number of important points concerning the decisions for the Final Solution," Christopher Browning, an eminent Holocaust historian at the University of North Carolina, wrote in a 2003 essay. Much of this consensus flatly contradicts Netanyahu's history:
Historians generally agree that the Nazis decided to exterminate Jews in Soviet territory in "mid-summer" 1941, during the Nazi invasion of Russia — months before Hitler's November 28 meeting with al-Husseini. The decision to extend this murder campaign to all Europe's Jews was made sometime in 1941.
Historians see the Holocaust as the natural extension of Hitler's earlier practices — not, as Netanyahu suggests, a dramatic shift for which an outside actor like the grand mufti might be blamed. "There is more continuity than discontinuity between the decisions for the Final Solution taken in 1941 and those behind the policies of ethnic cleansing and demographic engineering" that preceded them,
Hitler was not inspired to create the Holocaust by one conversation with anyone, let alone the grand mufti. "There was no single decision, no 'big bang,' that produced the Final Solution," Browning writes. "Rather, there were a series of decisions taken incrementally; the decision-making process was cumulative and prolonged."
"To say that the mufti was the first to mention to Hitler the idea to kill or burn the Jews is not correct," Dina Porat, chief historian at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial museum, told Israel Radio.
"The idea to rid the world of the Jews was a central theme in Hitler's ideology a long, long time before he met the mufti."
The official German record of Hitler's November meeting with the mufti supports this interpretation.
"The Fuhrer replied that Germany's fundamental attitude on these questions, as the Mufti himself had already stated, was clear. Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine," the record reads. That clearly indicates Hitler had a commitment to destroying global Jewry before the meeting, and that the mufti recognized it — indicating that he wasn't entertaining the idea of expelling the Jews to Palestine.
The likely roots of Netanyahu's Holocaust revisionism
So if this is the general view among historians, where did Netanyahu's ideas come from? It's hard to say for sure, but one very plausible candidate is a recent book, by two scholars at an Israeli research center, called Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East.
Authored by Wolfgang G. Schwanitz and (the late) Barry Rubin, the book argues that Hitler's meeting with al-Husseini played a critical role in inspiring the Holocaust:
After the meeting... Hitler made a fifth decision that would end millions of lives. He ordered [SS second-in-command Reinhard] Heydrich to organize a conference within ten days to prepare the "final solution to the Jewish question." Thus, Hitler made his key decision to start the genocide with al-Husseini's anti-Jewish rhetoric and insistence on wiping out the Jews fresh in his ears.
This theory has not been well-received, partly because the evidence for it is very thin.
"The notion that al-Husseini played a key role in Hitler’s settling on the Final Solution is based on one piece of thin hearsay evidence: comments that the controversial Hungarian Jewish leader Rudolf Kastner attributed to Eichmann’s subordinate Dieter Wisliceny," University of Houston professor David Mikics writes in a review of the book for Tablet.
"The claim that al-Husseini was the hidden hand behind Adolf Hitler is implausible, even silly," Mikics concluded.
The claim is, however, politically useful: It can be used to portray the Palestinians as irreconcilably committed to the extermination of Jews, and thus incapable of making peace.
"Rubin and Schwanitz are historians with a political agenda: They want to show that eliminationist anti-Semitism animates the Islamic Middle East, and so they paint al-Husseini as so devilishly anti-Semitic that he can contend with Hitler himself," Mikics writes.
Netanyahu, despite the backlash, is refusing to back down from his comments.
"It is absurd. I had no intention to absolve Hitler of responsibility for his diabolical destruction of European Jewry," he said in an official statement.
"It is equally absurd to ignore the role played by the Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, a war criminal, for encouraging and urging Hitler, Ribbentropp, Himmler and others, to exterminate European Jewry.
"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,"
Netanyahu's statement concluded. "What is important is to recognize the historical facts and not ignore them, not then and not today