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October 25, 2015 6:20 am

Bibi’s Bluster — and Blunder?

avatar by Jerold Auerbach

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem last week. Photo: Twitter.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem last week. Photo: Twitter.

According to his legions of liberal critics, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suffers, among other political ailments, from a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease. Their current source of outrage is Netanyahu’s assertion that during a 1941 Berlin meeting, Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini persuaded Hitler to “burn” Jews. By then, al-Husseini (appointed Grand Mufti, ironically, by Herbert Samuel, a British Jew) had fled Palestine to evade an arrest warrant for inciting the five-year-old Arab revolt. He met in Berlin with German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop and was officially received by Hitler the following week. Confirmed by official German records, that much is beyond dispute.

But Netanyahu went further. Hitler, he claimed in his address to the World Zionist Congress, only wanted to expel Jews from Germany. The Grand Mufti expressed his concern that Jews, if expelled, would come to Palestine. Hitler asked what should be done with them. According to Netanyahu, “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. [Husseini] said, ‘Burn them.'”

To support his claim, Netanyahu cited a statement by SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Dieter Wisliceny at the postwar Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals. Wisliceny, who served under Adolph Eichmann, testified that the Grand Mufti “played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews.”

Nearly 20 years ago, Mideast expert Bernard Lewis dismissed Wisliceny’s uncorroborated statement. Following Netanyahu’s reference to burning Jews, Israeli Holocaust expert Yehuda Bauer rejected his allegation in the absence of any “independent documentary confirmation of Wisliceny’s statements.” The Nazis, he pointed out, “had started annihilating the Jews half a year before Hitler and the Mufti met.”

The official German record of the meeting between Hitler and the Grand Mufti on November 28, 1941 (reprinted in The Times of Israel [October 21, 2015]) is revealing. The Mufti began by asserting, “The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely the English, the Jews and the Communists.” Therefore, he continued, “they were ready to cooperate with Germany with all their hearts… because of the suffering inflicted upon them by the English and the Jews.” Arabs had “the fullest confidence in the Fuhrer and looked to his hand for the balm on their wounds.”

Hitler responded with the assurance that “Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews.” He promised that “at some moment which was impossible to set exactly today… Germany’s objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power.” The Mufti expressed his gratitude for Hitler’s pledge of support.

Perhaps Netanyahu, whose father, Benzion, was a distinguished (and maverick) historian of Spanish Jewry, inherited a family trait for “fomenting incendiary controversy” (as Raphael Ahren wrote in The Times of Israel after the brouhaha erupted). If his allegation about the Mufti’s words stretched the truth regarding the palpable loathing of Jews he shared with Hitler , the nerve it touched among his liberal critics was revealing.

Leading the pack, predictably, was The New York Times. An editorial (October 22) lacerated Netanyahu for his “outrageous” misstatement, claiming that “the Holocaust is far too terrible a crime to be exploited for political ends, especially in the state linked so closely to the tragedy of the Jewish people.” To that display of moral arrogance, one can only respond: Tu quoque (“You, too.”) In Buried by The Times, Professor Laurel Leff has thoroughly exposed the dismal failure of “America’s Most Important Newspaper” to report the Nazi annihilation of European Jewry, largely confining its constricted coverage to inside pages featuring stories about New Jersey.

The Times editorial expressed outrage that Netanyahu would “demonize the Palestinians” by implying that their “resistance” (i.e. attacking and murdering Jews) is based “on a longstanding hatred of the Jews, and not on their occupation by Israel.” But Palestinian Arab hatred toward Jews was amply and violently displayed decades before Israel, no less “occupied” Palestine, even existed. It faulted him for suggesting “that the current wave of violence has been incited by Palestinian leaders” – while conceding two sentences later that President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah cronies have made comments that “seemed to fan the violence and even celebrate the killers.” Only “seemed”?

The Holocaust, the editorial concluded, “is not a history to be tampered with.” The Times should know. Should Netanyahu “have the decency to acknowledge that he was wrong,” what is to be demanded of The New York Times, which tampered with the history of the Holocaust while six million Jews  experienced its horrific cruelty.

Jerold S. Auerbach is writing a history of The New York Times, Zionism and Israel.

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  • Jonah

    As a Christian my discernment cannot depict as accurately as Jewish insight regarding what seems to me as intellectual slop. We are feed slop on a daily basis and if we attempt to stand against it we are feed more slop by the liberal media…..but I can tell you a Christians religious perspective or what we have been taught about hitlers grand mufti. That he was Arrafats relative, and that Islam was prepping Hitler to be something akin to the 12th imam. The third riche meant the 3rd millinia from Jesus or what us Christians call the 7th millinia from Adam. Hitler was suppose to be the 12 imam styled messianic antichrist and rid the world of Jews for the coming 1000 year 7th milliniam. The Iranians were somehow lineinally affiliated with Germany. They identified themselves as Nazis. Hitler was about fifty years before his time and now Iran and Palestine are again attempting to do a repeat of World War Two. Islam keeps attempting to pound a square peg into a round hole. They are the idiotservonts from hell….hellbent on delivering the world the antichrist…..and this incessant Islamic caliphate movement will lead to Armmeggedon. Scripture states Very clearly that everyone who participates with them will be crushed and judged as goat nations. Israels objective is to survive this onslaught, with Gods help, until it plays itself out scripturally. That also means surviving the medias onslaught against you. Intellectuals can’t seem to connect the religious root of current events and let me tell you scripturally they are about to be bit in the behind by a pit bull that will not let loose regardless of how much flamboyant rhetoric they throw at it. Liberal intellectuals will continue to feed you slop, recognize it for what it is and keep soldiering on. Not all liberals are bad some are misinformed and if confronted with the truth may change their minds…before its to late…goat heaven is right round the bend and if they don’t change their attitude it will be their end.

  • The claim of PM Binyamin Netanyahu caused a lot of people to pay attention to a most evil Islamic slanderer and murderer the Jewish people and to the fact of the co-operation between Nazis and Islam before and during 2nd WW.

    This mufti is still the “spiritual leader” of Islamic terror in the Jewish State Israel, against Judaism and against non-Muslims.

  • PermReader

    Netanyahu was absolutly right that Mufty convinced Hitler to kill the Jews.Hitler`s decision of Holocaust of Wansee conference in 1942, preceded other decisions ,for instances , Jews` emigration- was the O.A.Eichmann`s occupation.So people and circumstances influenced the finite solution.Liberals` hysterical howl shows their painful anti-semitic point.Liberal`s anti-semitism needs it`s researcher,and of course is connected with Arabs and other Muslims.Terms “Islamofascism”and “anti-semitism” is equaly hateful for “liberals”.

  • Sister M. Michele S.C.M.C.

    Just being aware of some basic history of the last century, one can safely come to the conclusion that the anti-antisemitism in Germany and its environs though somewhat burnt out at the conclusion of WWII was rekindled and perpetuated in The Middle East. What is in favor of such evil and cancerous hatred and ignorance today is the assistance of social media in helping to advance such ideologies. World leaders who refuse to condemn and take action against such evil also encourage the injustice, violence, and bloodshed. Learning history can shed light on the path of the present and future; it enables one to recognize the dangers, the lies, and puts a face on evil.

  • Erica Ling

    Bibi knew exactly what he was doing.Great!

  • steven L

    It is difficult for antisemites to recognize their blinding antisemitism. Probably a lot still need to be discovered on Muslim and Western antisemitism. The bins of history are cavernous.
    The Mufti a precursor of ISIS.

  • B’H
    Authors that have a need to qualify and corroborate the
    Hatred of Jews are themselves Jew Haters.
    A New Yorker may no longer but the New York Times due to
    ALL the self Hating Jews.
    We did have a Temple, We have been dispersed and G-d willing
    We will continue to survive and be Lights upon the Nations

  • ted weiss

    the pali vermin is antisemitic [period the libos and arabs whave a problem with the truth

  • Ron

    I’d love to know how many of Bibi’s critics actually fought for the birth of Israel ?
    When you have someone like Bibi, out of respect, you give them a wide berth !

  • Edna

    Sorry Mr. Auerbach,

    You are the one who seems to be afflicted with “foot in mouth” ailment.

    Bibi was absolutely right. Haj Amin el Husseini fled Palestine to meet Hitler and his murderous acolytes. He did not go there to plead for the safety of Jews!!! He met the NAZI hoods to persuade them to “eliminate” Jews, and thus became another pro-Holocaust advocate.

    Herbert Samuel eventually tried to appease the Arabs by appointing the muderous Muft, who contrary from your statement had indeed been imprisoned, and eventually released from Prison by the British.

    Samuel was trying to avert more bloodshed by the anti-Semitic Arabs.

  • Edward Paul Campbell

    The Grand Mufti, a relative of Arafat, a rabid anti-Semite, had already been organising pogroms against Jews in Palestine from the late 1920’s onwards. It is interesting to note that: the end of the Ottoman Empire; Palestine pogroms against Jews; the rise of Adolf Hitler; the Great Depression; and the emergence of the Muslim Brethren – all happened within the same time frame. In other words, Islamic Plan B. A perfect storm.


    Even if Bibi made a mistake – the important fact is that the grand- mufty was a virulent jew- hater and that he planned and asked Hitler to assist the palestinians in building a duplicate of Aushwits in the Dotan valley ( near Nablus ) for the furpose of exterminating there all the jews of Palestine together with all the jews of Egypt, Iraq , syria Yemen and even all of North Africa – in the event that Romel would succed in his campaign against Montgomery .And what is more relevant today is that Hamas , ISIS, Hizbollah and the Islamic movement inside Israel as well as the moslem Brotherhood of Egypt share this virulent and genocidal hatred of jews witj Haj Amin El-Husseini .

  • Dear Mr Auerbach, thank you very much. I’m so tired of the arab-USA admin-coalition’s incessant needle pricks of criticism of Mr Netanyahu. The man is doing a marvellous job of trying to keep Israel out of a full-blown war (and critics call him ‘soft on terror’). He works hard to stop arab-muslim terror attacks & his own supreme court thwarts him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much ( and so much of it arising from sheer lack of patriotism & envy of the PM) poison projected against an Israeli PM. With Mr Orban and a few others, he’s one of the few world leaders who is not selling out his own country to win the goodwill of the world.

  • Elizabeth Ben

    “Both Shiite and Sunni Muslims invoke the infamous hadith attributed to Muhammad: ‘The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: “Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.” Each Friday this genocidal hadith is quoted in sermons across the Islamic world, including among U.S. Muslim communities.” — from “Stop Ignoring Islam’s antisemitic doctrine,” by Andrew Bostom, NY Daily News, 5-27-2009

  • Elizabeth Ben

    “Both Shiite and Sunni Muslims invoke the infamous hadith attributed to Muhammad: ‘The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: “Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.’ Each Friday this genocidal hadith is quoted in sermons across the Islamic world, including among U.S. Muslim communities.” — from “Stop Ignoring Islam’s antisemitic doctrine,” by Andrew Bostom, NY Daily News, 5-27-2009

  • The judges at the Eichmann trial Jerusalem also also accepted SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dieter Wisliceny’s testimonial record concerning the Mufti’s complicity in the Holocaust. If his credibility is good enough for the judges at Nuremberg and the judges in Jerusalem who judged Eichmann, it is good enough for Bibi!

  • ART

    PM Netanyahu was showing to the uninfomed that arab anti Jewish hatred pre dates 1967 or even 1947. The arab hatred goes way way back. Jews were forced to live as dhimini paying taxes (protection money) to live as vassals in the Holyland (ISRAEL). The arab narrative as adopted by the NYT ignores the caliphate quest to re establish sharia control over ALL lands ever under muslim control, this includes Hungary, parts of Austria, Poland, Spain Potugal Greece, Macedonia, India,Bosnia, Serbia. The tragic and ugly part is that Both shia and sunnie muslims follow this view

  • The Nuremburg prosecutors had enough confidence in SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dieter Wisliceny to present his testimony to the judges at Nuremberg. He was part of Eichmann’s inner circle and much closer to the Final Solution which was not crafted until January 20, 1942 at Wannsee than Bernard Lewis or Yahuuda Bauer…It is interesting how Bibi’s critics have no problem throwing the judgments at Nuremberg under the bus.

  • Let’s just resign ourselves to the certainty that no matter the accusation against Bibi or Israel, no matter how untethered to reality, Bibi and Israel are always guilty.

  • Emanuel

    Bibi was right! It’s OUR history, it doesn’t belong to anarchist liberals or those extremist Jews who are suicidally liberal, they can get out and go join their comrades in Syria. Bibi sparked “moral” outrage among those who have no morals, listen to the little girls cry “the Holocaust is a history not to be messed with” that’s right! ladies and you do nothing to prevent it from happening again but you defend those who want to repeat it. It’s time to purge the troublemakers from our ranks, democracy fails when anarchists are allowed to infiltrate the system.

    • Michael Palmer

      Emanuel, Couldn’t have said it any better. Bravo. Even the HuffingtonPost said that instead of teaching their kids about peace, tolerance and mutual respect, Palestinian youth are incited to Hate and now they are doing exactly what they have been taught.There is a LONG STRAIGHT LINE from Al Husseini to Arafat to Abbas. They are all one and the same, criminals and terrorists.

    • Diogenes

      Did the Grand Mufti ghost-write “Mein Kampf,” which made clear Hitler’s genocidal fantasies years before he met the Mufti? Just because The New York Times failed in its responsibility to report the Nazi war against the Jews while it was occurring does not mean that it is wrong to point out the inaccuracies of Netanyahu’s claims.

    • Atilla

      ” In an age of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act ”

      George Orwell

    • Edna

      I agree wholeheartedly with you, and would like to add that Mr. Auerbach find another subject for his book, as the famous historian Sir Martin Gilbert has already written on the subject.

      Mr Auerbach will thus be shooting himself in the foot, writing a non objective “self hating” Jew sort of manuscript, that we Jews, during these difficult times, need like we need a hole in the head!!!