Blaming Muslims for the Holocaust

Published: November 9, 2015
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The writer is a founding member and a former trustee of the International Society for Science and Religion, Cambridge University, and founding editor of Periodica Islamica and International Journal of Islamic and Arabic Studies

The writer is a founding member and a former trustee of the International Society for Science and Religion, Cambridge University, and founding editor of Periodica Islamica and International Journal of Islamic and Arabic Studies

Addressing the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, narrated an alleged conversation between Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husseini, at their meeting in Berlin in November 1941: “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, 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?’ Hitler asked. He said, ‘Burn them.’” Netanyahu ended his speech by saying, “The facts win over the fiction if they’re repeated clearly, responsibly, firmly. This is what I ask all of you to do for the sake of the Jewish state and for the sake of the Jewish people.”

Palestinian leader convinced Hitler to exterminate Jews: Israeli PM

It would appear that the Palestinian now is the latest fiction being cast as the new ‘fact’ that perpetrated the Jewish Holocaust. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945, (Series D, Vol. XIII, London, 1964, pp.881 ff), include an official transcript of the Hitler-Husseini meeting of November 28, 1941. According to the transcript, it was not Mufti al-Husseini but Hitler himself who resolved that he “would carry on the battle to the total destruction of the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe”.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has forcefully refuted Netanyahu’s claim. Its secretary general, Saeb Erekat, has said that “on behalf of the thousands of Palestinians that fought alongside the Allied troops in defence of international justice, the state of Palestine denounces these morally indefensible and inflammatory statements … It is a sad day in history when the leader of the Israeli government hates his neighbour so much that he is willing to absolve the most notorious war criminal.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also rejected Netanyahu’s suggestion and admitted German culpability for the Jewish Holocaust by saying that “we abide by our responsibility for the Shoah (Holocaust)”. She saw no reason to revise history in the light of the new insinuation against Palestinians. Repudiating Netanyahu’s apology for Hitler, several Israeli scholars themselves took the initiative to isolate ‘fact’ from fiction. Professor Dan Michman, the head of the Institute of Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Memorial), said that Hitler met with Mufti al-Husseini but only after the Final Solution had begun. Similar views have been expressed by another Israeli professor, Dina Porat, a specialist in Holocaust Studies: “Hitler did not need anyone to encourage the Final Solution. In terms of the facts, there’s no debate … all these actions, Hitler’s obsessions, have no link to the mufti.” According to Porat, Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews pre-dates his meeting with al-Husseini. Moreover, there are references in Hitler’s Mein Kampf and his remarks in the Reichstag in 1939, where he threatened to “exterminate the Jewish people”.

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There is consensus that the decision to implement the Final Solution was made by Hitler prior to his meeting with al-Husseini. The Mufti, therefore, was not in a position to influence Nazi policies against European Jews. Portraying him otherwise is to falsely turn him into something larger than life. Under the prevailing circumstances and the British occupation of Palestine, al-Husseini as an Arab nationalist leader sought help from Germany against the Allied forces. Though Barry Rubin and Wolfgang Schwanitz, in their recent work Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East highlight al-Husseini’s support for Hitler, they make no mention of the so-called Hitler-Husseini dialogue as alleged by Netanyahu. Yet their book is being ‘credited’ as the inspiration for Netanyahu’s statement regarding al-Husseini’s supposed instigation for the Jewish mass extermination. What an amazing incident of intellectual deception that an earlier documented history, The Israel-Arab Reader, co-edited by one of the above authors (Rubin), did contain the transcript of the Hitler-Husseini dialogue that served as a source for its reproduction by the Jewish Virtual Library.

Nonetheless, these authors make a veiled attempt to put the onus of the Holocaust upon Muslims and Arabs by saying that “Hitler reached the conclusion to exterminate the Jews because of his desire to nurture Husseini, who opposed the transfer of Jews to pre-state Israel”. This statement, without any moral or ethical justification, is meant to foment hatred against Muslims and Arabs by making the Holocaust survivors and others believe that millions perished just because Hitler wanted to appease Muslims and Arabs. This is a petty attempt to conceal the facts of centuries of ruthless persecution of Jews and anti-Semitism throughout Christendom — that culminated in the Holocaust. Calling Netanyahu a historical revisionist, Gilad Atzmon, an Israel-born British political activist and writer, has said that “Berlin has recently become the new Jerusalem for the Israelis. Thousand (sic) of young Israelis have moved to Berlin in recent years in a migration wave that in Hebrew is called, ‘Olim le-Berlin’ (Ascending to Berlin)… PM Netanyahu joined the call of the Israeli youth, and he has finally vindicated Hitler and the Germans.”

After Netanyahu comments, Germany says responsibility for Holocaust is ours

Historical revisionism is often condemned as an attempt to deny the claim that more than six million Jews perished in the Holocaust as a result of crimes committed by the Nazi regime. Spreading hate against Jews; expressing any doubts about the occurrence of such atrocities; denying the Holocaust; and exonerating the Nazi party or Hitler of their wickedness is regarded as part of anti-Semitism. An increasing number of European and Latin American countries have legislations proscribing anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Any violation of these laws may result in imprisonments and fines. Robert Kahn recounts the principal Holocaust-denial trials and scandals of the 1970s through the 1990s. It remains to be seen how Netanyahu’s statement that “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews” would stand the rigour of legislative scrutiny. Netanyahu expressed somewhat similar thoughts in his address to the Knesset in 2012. As JJ Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Forward, aptly sums it up, if Netanyahu’s goal is, “as he says it is, to discourage slander, demonisation and incitement, practicing those very things is a bad first step”.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Khan
    Nov 10, 2015 - 12:05AM

    The word Holocaust has become synonymous to the killing of only Jewish people. Though the Jewish number was quite high, the Polish, roma people, communists, prisoners of war, and other “inferior beings” were the casualties as well. The Nazis were just ruthless.Recommend

  • Vinod chauhan
    Nov 10, 2015 - 2:28AM

    Nothing surprise me about Muslims. The Islamic conquest of India was very brutal. millions of Hindus were slaughtered.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Nov 10, 2015 - 5:55AM

    What Netanyahu said was true. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a Nazi collaborator.Recommend

  • vinsin
    Nov 10, 2015 - 4:57PM

    Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husseini played a very big role in Holocaust. He could have saved many Jews but he didnt. Holocaust generally gets narrow to Jews but it includes high number of Romani people. Historically Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, animist, Mesopotamian, American Indians, Mayan, Eqyptian, and Pagans are most persecuted people in the history of world.Recommend

  • Skywalker
    Nov 10, 2015 - 10:37PM

    Title should say Arabs instead of Muslims. A muslim in the subcontinent should not be held responsible for Arab deeds.Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 10, 2015 - 10:50PM

    The Germans and the Jews had been living together for 2000 years.
    To paraphrase a senior German Jewish foreign minister, the Jews are as European as the Normans or the Franks.
    They had a falling out, one side murdered the other.

    Now they blame the Palestinians.

    The pope must have known what was going on.
    I bet half of Europe knew what was going on.
    But they done nothing.

    Why did Netanyahu not mention this?
    Because he was off to Germany the next day, perhaps he wanted some new submarines or other such weapons for free.Recommend

  • raw is war
    Nov 11, 2015 - 6:10AM

    @vinsin:

    We can blame Christians and Muslims for the torment.Recommend

  • Peace!
    Nov 11, 2015 - 6:37PM

    Netan-whatever-his-name is a lunatic. When the Germans have come out and re-accepted the blame for the holocaust (rightfully so), stop blaming the “Arabs and Muslims” for everything. Hitler wasn’t a naïve little 18-year-old who wouldn’t know what he wanted to do; he believed in White supremacy and he was a plain-Jane racist. History says that he had planned on making Europe a “white-only” region.

    @ajeet: Dude please, read books on and about world history; and in this case, about the holocaust. O and, you’re still reading Pakistani newspapers? WHY????

    @VinodChauhan: You’ve been making up for those lost lives for a while now through the Babri Mosque massacre, Gujrat riots and Kashmir.”
    And stop reading our newspapers!Recommend

  • Thoal-loo-lo
    Mar 24, 2016 - 12:03AM

    I sincerely hope that you are well and happy wherever you are.
    I hardly recognized you with no beard
    & mostach .
    Please let me know more about your whereabouts and any good news .
    Thoal-loo-loRecommend

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