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If You're Going to Blame the Mufti, Blame the Zionists

Oct. 22, 2015

Israeli PM Netanyahu has given a speech blaming Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, for the Holocaust. According to Netanyahu, Hitler originally planned to expel the Jews, but the Mufti protested that they would come to Palestine, and urged Hitler to kill them instead.

Two comments are in order here:

1) Netanyahu’s story is historically inaccurate: the genocide against the Jewish people was in place during the Nazi invasion of Russia, well before the Mufti’s meeting with Hitler in November 1941. The Mufti did not know about the mass extermination camps until much later in the war. And Hitler did not need the Mufti to inspire him to launch the Holocaust. However, it is true that the Mufti objected many times to proposals to allow Jews to leave Europe, due to his fear that they might come to Palestine, and as a result thousands were killed.

To the extent that the Mufti’s collaboration did lead to the deaths of Jews, we must take the argument a step further and ask: who was responsible for making the Mufti into an anti-Semite in the first place? Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner wrote:

It should be manifest that until the great public pressures for the establishment of a Jewish State, the Mufti had no interest in the Jews of Warsaw, Budapest or Vilna. Once the Jews of Europe became a threat to the Mufti because of their imminent influx into the Holy Land, the Mufti in turn became for them the incarnation of the Angel of Death. Years ago, it was still easy to find old residents of Yerushalayim who remembered the cordial relations they had maintained with the Mufti in the years before the impending creation of a Jewish State. Once the looming reality of the State of Israel was before him, the Mufti spared no effort at influencing Hitler to murder as many Jews as possible in the shortest amount of time. This shameful episode, where the founders and early leaders of the State were clearly a factor in the destruction of many Jews, has been completely suppressed and expunged from the record." (The Jewish Observer, October 1977)

Netanyahu’s claim echoes the thesis of a recent book, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, by Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz. Reviewing that book in Tabletmag, David Mikics makes a statement similar to that of Rav Hutner:

Yet Rubin and Schwanitz’s claim also has serious, troubling implications. Where did al-Husaini’s passionate hatred of Jews come from? Indisputably, from the Jewish colonization of Palestine. So, if you follow Rubin and Schwanitz’s logic—as they themselves fail to do—Zionism is responsible for the Holocaust. No Zionist colonization of Palestine would mean no Arab anti-Semitism, which means no al-Husaini, which means no Final Solution. The authors use a historical life to advance their political reading of the Arab-Israeli conflict—without thinking through the risks of loading their political agenda onto historical analysis.

2) If we are going to start pointing fingers at those who inspired Hitler, Zionists themselves are going to be implicated too. Rabbi Moshe Schonfeld writes in “Holocaust Victims Accuse,” page 43:

The German ambassador to the United States sent to Hitler the minutes of the Conference of Zionist Leaders and the World Jewish Congress in New York. At this conference, Stephen Wise, in the name of the entire Jewish people, declared war against Germany. When he read the report, Hitler went mad. He fell flat on the floor, bit the carpet and raged: “Now I’ll destroy them, now I’ll destroy them.” He then gathered together all the Nazi leaders to a conference in Wannsee, Germany (January 1942), where they formulated the detailed plans of the “final solution.”

Who comprised the battalions of this “warring people” whom Stephen Wise ordered into the midst of battle? In the front lines stood the prisoners of the ghettoes, a vast army of six million men, women and children – fuel for the crematoria. Stephen Wise sat secure at a safe distance from the dangers, while in the name of the helpless, he declared war against mighty Germany.

Already in 1933, this “war against Germany” had begun. In March, 1933, when Hitler became the undisputed leader of Germany and began restricting the rights of German Jews, the American Jewish Congress announced a massive protest at Madison Square Garden and called for an American boycott of German goods.

Daily Express

On March 24, 1933, the London Daily Express published an article announcing that the Jews had already launched their boycott against Germany and described a forthcoming "holy war". The Express urged Jews everywhere to boycott German goods and demonstrate against German economic interests.

The Express said that Germany was "now confronted with an international boycott of its trade, its finances, and its industry....In London, New York, Paris and Warsaw, Jewish businessmen are united to go on an economic crusade."

The article went on, "worldwide preparations are being made to organize protest demonstrations."

Daily Express

On March 27, 1933 the planned protest at Madison Square Garden was attended by 40,000 protestors (New York Daily News headlines: "40,000 Roar Protest Here Against Hitler").

Similar rallies and protest marches were also held in other cities. The intensity of the Jewish campaign against Germany was such that the Hitler government vowed that if the campaign did not stop there would be a one-day boycott in Germany of Jewish-owned stores.

Hitler's March 28, 1933 speech ordering a boycott against Jewish stores and goods was in direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership.

Rabbi Michoel Ber Weissmandel wrote of this boycott:

They ridiculed the humble ways of the old generations and they mocked the Torah way of placating the nations by restraint and quiet diplomacy, and thus the majority of Jewry were misled into the policy of Nationalism and of demanding their rights with vociferousness. This was at a time when most of Europe lay helpless under the feet of the evil Hitler and his allies who clustered around him. At that time these unthinking men (the Jewish “leaders”) rose up in their places of security in the free lands and they cast ridicule upon Hitler and enraged him by their irresponsible demonstrations and speeches… and they kindled his wrath by the reckless boycott. All this was in the year 5693 (1933), when the nations were still at peace with this evil one and there was no other way than humility and negotiation by persuasion. But these self-ordained leaders acted according to the opposite of wisdom and the opposite of the oath imposed by G-d (not to arouse the nations by open opposition) and they had a great share in arousing the frenzy of the mad dog to the highest degree.” (Min Hameitzar)

And in his “Ten Questions to the Zionists” he wrote:

These are the "statesmen" who organized the irresponsible boycott against Germany in 1933. This boycott hurt Germany like a fly attacking an elephant - but it brought calamity upon the Jews of Europe. At a time when America and England were at peace with the mad-dog Hitler, the Zionist "statesmen" forsook the only plausible method of political amenability; and with their boycott incensed the leader of Germany to a frenzy.

The Satmar Rebbe, in the introduction to Al Hageulah V’al Hatemurah, p. 11, wrote similarly:

But [the Zionists] do the opposite [of the path of Yaakov Avinu]: they provoke the nations in a terrible way, recklessly abandoning the blood of Jews. Did they not declare war against the terrible enemy in Germany? And then his voice was heard on the radio saying, “The Jews declared war against me, therefore I will answer them.” And so he did, unfortunately: right afterwards, the frightful killings began. It is impossible to understand how they could be so cruel, knowing that a large percentage of the Jewish people were under his power, and they could do nothing about it – how could they be so cruel and abandon Jewish blood? And they did many other such things that caused the loss of Jewish lives, unfortunately. Some of them are brought in the book “Min Hameitzar” written by my late friend Rabbi Michoel Dov, may he rest in peace.

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