Netanyahu blames Muslim leader for inspiring Hitler’s Holocaust

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a Muslim leader suggested the Holocaust to Hitler.

photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a Muslim leader suggested the Holocaust to Hitler.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provoked controversy on Wednesday, hours before a visit to Germany, by saying the former Muslim elder in Jerusalem convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews.

In a speech to the Zionist Congress late on Tuesday, Netanyahu referred 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.

Husseini famously flew to visit Hitler in Berlin in 1941, and Netanyahu said that meeting was instrumental in the Nazi leader’s decision to launch a campaign to annihilate the Jews.

“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.’

“‘So what should I do with them?'” Netanyahu said Hitler asked the mufti, who responded: “Burn them.”

Netanyahu, whose father was an eminent historian, was quickly harangued by opposition politicians and experts on the Holocaust who said he was distorting the historical record.

READ: Ben Carson, will you tour the Holocaust Museum with me?

Palestinian officials said Netanyahu appeared to be absolving Hitler of the murder of six millionJews in order to lay the blame on Muslims. Twitter was awash with criticism.

“It is a sad day in history when the leader of the Israeli government hates his neighbor so much that he is willing to absolve the most notorious war criminal in history, Adolf Hitler, of the murder of six million Jews,” Saeb Erekat, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s secretary general, said.

“Mr Netanyahu should stop using this human tragedy to score points for his political end,” said Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator with the Israelis.

Even Netanyahu’s defense minister, close ally Moshe Yaalon, said the prime minister had got it wrong.

“It certainly wasn’t (Husseini) who invented the Final Solution,” Yaalon told Israel’s Army Radio. “That was the evil brainchild of Hitler himself.”

It is not clear what sources Netanyahu was relying on for his comments. A 1947 book “The Mufti of Jerusalem” and a newspaper report at the time said a former Hitler deputy had testified at the Nuremberg war crimes trials that Husseini had plotted with the Nazi leader to rid Europe of itsJews.

Husseini was sought for war crimes but never appeared at the Nuremberg proceedings and later died in Cairo.

READ: Kerry cites need for clarity to help end Israeli-Palestinian violence

But the point several historians made was that Netanyahu was distorting timelines and drawing false conclusions.

The meeting between Husseini and Hitler in Berlin took place on November 28, 1941. More than two years earlier, in January 1939, Hitler had addressed the Reichstag and talked clearly about his determination to exterminate the Jewish race.

“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, a professor at Tel Aviv University and the chief historian of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust 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.”

Porat and others pointed out that the murder of the Jews began in June 1941. Even if the mufti wanted the Final Solution to be expanded, he wasn’t the one who came up with the idea.

“For somebody who knows something about history and grew up in the house of historian Professor Benzion Netanyahu, he should know well,” Porat said of the prime minister. “But in my humble opinion, to say that the mufti gave Hitler the idea is wrong.”

About the author



Click here to post a comment

  • Husseini famously flew to visit Hitler in Berlin in 1941, and Netanyahu said that meeting was instrumental in the Nazi leader’s decision to launch a campaign to annihilate the Jews.

    I believe that understates the historical record. It is my understanding that Husseini spent a considerable amount of time in Germany during the war and even toured concentration camps.

  • When ‘Nazi Jihad’ aired on The History Channel about a month ago, I actually said to my wife, “This must have been made in conjunction with the Israeli government.”
    Now Netanyahu is basically recapping the whole program.

  • Genocide was going on in full force long before the death camps were constructed. “Holocaust by bullet” started pratically after the fall of Poland and well into the invasion of the USSR.

    The Mufti didn’t attend the Wansee conference. Where the idea of death camps was conceived right before they broke for lunch.

    Netanyahu is another politician trying to invoke the Holocaust as cover for an agenda that is rather unsavory. Expansion of settlements, turning a blind eye to refugees on Israel’s doorstep, attacks on the civil liberties of Israeli Arabs.

  • “Palestinian officials said Netanyahu appeared to be absolving Hitler of the murder of six millionJews in order to lay the blame on Muslims.”

    More like Palestinian officials and their internet parrots are absolving the Mufti of his support for and collaboration with the Nazi regime.

    Regardless of who came up with the idea for the Holocaust when, Husseini supported the pre-Holocaust Jewish boycotts in Germany, made Axis propaganda broadcasts, recruited Bosnians for the SS, called for “Arab countries to solve the question of the Jewish elements…as [it] was solved in Germany and Italy,” sought to have Jewish refugees redirected to Polish concentration camps so they wouldn’t come to Palestine, and on and on.

    The extent of his support and collaboration exceeds this site’s character limit for user posts.

  • Like all Likudniks, Netanyahu will say whatever it takes to spur right-wing Americans to support his aggression, so this should be no surprise. He is simply doing what Likud always does as they beat the drums for conquest.

    Of course, the truth is another more secularist Islamic regime was the inspiration for the Holocaust: the Turkish genocide of Armenian Christians by the Ataturk regime in 1915 which they still refuse to acknowledge. While horrific, this atrocity and the fact the Turks got away with it inspired the Nazis they could do the same. At the time, one reason they did was because the Armenians were darker-skinned – like their present day descendants, the Khardashians. Most of the European Jews were white.

  • Looks like Netanyahu uses the same sources as Ben Carson. The good news, though, is that the PLO’s chief negotiator stated that Hitler was the world’s worst war criminal and was responsible for the murder of 6 million Jews.

  • A bit of correction is needed here. Ataturk did not take power until after The Great War. Turkey was ruled by Enver Pasha and “The Young Turks”. People who tried to invoke global jihad against France and the UK. They were not secularists. It was just that Muslims served on both sides of the conflict.

  • With these kind of statements from Israel leadership. It is time for the US to distance itself from Israel, withhold the $3 + Billion annual aid, special privileges, stop vetoing UN resolutions, and push the Israelis into to real settlement with the Palestinians.

  • Wrong, “Jack.” While Netanyahu is incorrect about the Mufti being the actual source of the Final Solution — Hitler was — the Grand Mufti did spend WW II in Berlin where he did encourage the Holocaust to be accelerated.

    But more disturbing than Netanyahu’s error is the Palestinian leap to defend the Mufti, who was a vile Islamist radical who supported the extermination of the Jews.

  • All people, including Netanyahu, should point to anybody who hid Jews during the war, including any Muslims.

    The problem is the Grand Mufti wasn’t one of them.

    And again, while Bibi is incorrect that the Grand Mufti came up with the idea of the Holocaust, he is right that the Grand Mufti, while in Berlin during WW II, was a cheerleader for the Holocaust.