Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday clarified his comments about the connection of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, to the Holocaust, which had caused an uproar.
Writing on Facebook, Netanyahu made clear that it was Adolf Hitler and the Nazi leadership who were responsible for the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust.
“In no way did I intend to absolve Hitler of his responsibility for the Holocaust. Hitler and the Nazi leadership are responsible for the murder of six million Jews,” he stressed. “The decision to move from a policy of deporting Jews to the Final Solution was made by the Nazis and was not dependent on outside influence. The Nazis saw in the Mufti a collaborator, but they did not need him to decide on the systematic destruction of European Jewry, which began in June 1941.”
“Still,” continued Netanyahu, “the Mufti was one of those who supported the Nazi goal of destroying the Jews. He conducted his activities from Berlin during the war, disseminated virulent anti-Semitic propaganda on behalf the Nazis, recruited Muslims to the SS, demanded that after conquering the Middle East the Nazis destroy the Jewish national home and vigorously opposed the emigration of Jews – even children – from the Nazi inferno, knowing full well that this would seal their fate.”
“My remarks were intended to illustrate the murderous approach of the Mufti to the Jews in his lengthy contacts with the Nazi leadership,” the Prime Minister explained, adding, “Contrary to the impression that was created, I did not mean to claim that in his conversation with Hitler in November 1941 the Mufti convinced him to adopt the Final Solution. The Nazis decided on that by themselves.”
“The interpretation of my remarks as though I absolved the Nazis of even one ounce of responsibility for the Holocaust is absurd,” he stressed.
“It was important for me to point out that even before World War II it was the Mufti who propagated the big lie that the Jews intend to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. This lie lives on and continues to exact a price in blood.”
“The Mufti was a war criminal who collaborated with the Nazis and who opposed the creation of a Jewish state in any boundaries. In 2013 President Abbas praised him as a Palestinian ‘pioneer.’ That the Mufti remains an iconic figure among the Palestinian leadership today speaks volumes about that leadership’s real attitude towards Israel,” concluded Netanyahu.
Netanyahu last week suggested that Adolf Hitler was not planning to "annihilate" the Jews until he met al-Husseini in 1941, in a comment that was sharply criticized by his political opponents and the White House which Thursday night condemned his "inflammatory rhetoric."
The Prime Minister later doubled down, clarifying he did not absolve the genocidal Hitler of any responsibility.
Several historians have already backed Netanyahu’s comments, such as Middle East Forum scholar Dr. Wolfgang Schwanitz who said last week, "It is a historical fact that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini was an accomplice whose collaboration with Adolf Hitler played an important role in the Holocaust. He was the foremost extra-European adviser in the process to destroy the Jews of Europe."
Dr. Yosef Sharvit, a historian of the Jewish History and Contemporary Judaism department at Bar-Ilan University, also said that Netanyahu's statement was important in setting things in order regarding the history of the Holocaust.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)