Netanyau on the Grand Mufti & Hitler: Are you kidding me?

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a bad man, a very bad man. If it was up to him, there would have been gas chambers un Eretz Israel. If it was up to him, there would be no Jews left in their homeland, in fact anywhere else in the world.

Bad people like him deserve that truth be told about them, and because they are SO bad, the truth is enough. There is no need to exaggerate about them, surely not to tell lies about them. What P.M Netanyahu said yesterday about the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and his role in the Jewish Holocaust was a complete distortion of the truth, and this is VERY bad, in fact, very damaging to the national interest of Israel and the Jewish people, a distortion of the truth, and not anything ”taken out of context’. What Netanyahu said is out of the historic context, and when dealing with such loaded subject as the Holocaust, it is doubly painful .

As we say in Hebrew, ”naar hayiti vegam zakanti”[I was a boy and now I am old…], but never have I thought , that I would have to write the following lines in response to a statement from the P.M of Israel. The Holocaust, Mr. Netanyahu was performed by the German people, led by the Nazi Party of Adolph Hitler. It was their deed, which reflected the long history of Protestant and Catholic antisemitism in Germany. The Palestinian National Movement led by the Grand Mufti, a despicable man by all accounts, had nothing to do with it. Pure and simple. The truth, and nothing but the truth.

The Grand Mufti met Hitler on 28 November 1941, telling him what he thinks about the Jews, as if Hitler needed any reminder. The meeting took place 5 months into Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion to the Soviet Union, in which the Killing Squads of the S.S, led by some of the finest academic brains of Germany, who volunteered to the task, were already slaughtering hundreds of thousands of our brothers. The meeting took place nearly 3 years after the Hitler speech on 30 January 1939, when he threatened to exterminate European Jewry. The Grand Mufti had nothing to do with it. To say otherwise is to lie, and lying on the Holocaust, by a P.M of Israel, is bad, and this is to use the mildest possible term. It is doubly embarrassing to read the comments of Mahmoud Abbas , a notorious Holocaust denier, who takes a ride on Netanyahu’s speech in order to gain some propaganda points. Many more such”nice guys”, as Abbas, among them Holocaust deniers of all stripes are celebrating today, and will celebrate for many days to come.

There is a buzz in social media in Israel, where so many make fun of the P.M. This may be a way to deal with such a major national embarrassment, but it is the Holocaust which we are talking about. Holocaust and humor? The only time in which I laughed in a movie dealing with the Holocaust, was when I watched Benigni’s ”Life is beautiful”, from 1997. I still feel guilty about that to this very day, but this was a movie which was clearly done with the intention of familiarizing ignorant audiences about the Holocaust, by using humor, so I could swallow it.  Others did not, such as a well-known Lefty, Kobi Niv, who wrote extensively against the movie, claiming it was Antisemitic.

What can be said then about Netanyahu’s speech? Well, Stupidity is something that comes to mind, as Netanyahu may be a lot of things, but he ain’t stupid. Ignorance maybe, but Netanyahu is not ignorant, as he is well-versed in Jewish history. Maybe propaganda?, somehow I adhere to this explanation. Netanyahu likes to evoke the memory and legacy of the Holocaust in a lot of his speeches. The latest example was the campaign of comparisons between the Holocaust and the Iranian nuclear program, as well as the Western reaction to all this, as Netanyahu liked to present it. But even in this case of the Iran deal, there was enough to be said, without resorting to Holocaust discourse, which seems exaggerated. Surely there is a lot to say against the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, against the bestial campaign of Palestinian terrorism nowadays, and on so many occasions before, and all that is the truth. No need therefore , to resort to what is SO obviously NOT the truth.

I can think of two reasons why this speech was delivered. One is because, Netanyahu has been throughout his career, and still now, a man of Hasbara. Here is the current atrocious wave of Palestinian terrorism, so Yallah , as the Arabs say, let us do some Hasbara. Hasbara though is NOT policy, rather the tool of policy, and Netanyahu, not always see these difference clearly. The other reason is somewhat more strategic and ideological, and goes beyonfd Netanyahu as a person. It has to do with the feeling among many in the Right-Wing, Nationalist camp in Israel, that the Palestinians are worse than the Nazis, that Palestinian terrorism and Islamic Jihadism are the modern day manifestations of the German war against the Jews between 1933 and 1945. It may be an understandable emotional instinctive reaction to the bestiality of Hamas and all the rest who really want to destroy us, but in the grand scheme of things, in the overall context of the Palestinian struggle against Israel, these years are NOT 1933-1945 revisited. Netanyahu made a terrible mistake. It is easier to espouse nonsensical stuff, like that in his speech yesterday, than to deal with the damage they cause, and the damage is enormous and will stay with us for a long time to come.

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina