Critics of Prime Minister Netanyahu have gleefully seized on his unfortunate misstatement concerning the role played in the Holocaust by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem. But much of the criticism raining down on Mr. Netanyahu stems from a desire to undermine the prime minister’s central point – that the Palestinians’ unyielding antagonism toward Israel has a history.
As is clear from the historical record, the grand mufti saw Hitler’s Final Solution as a way of ridding the Middle East of its Jews and ensuring that no other Jews would ever find their way there. So Mr. Netanyahu’s inaccurate assertion that the grand mufti played a central role in the origins of the Final Solution, while regrettable, is in fact largely irrelevant, given the mufti’s close relationship with the Nazis and his full-throated support for the annihilation of the Jews.
Yet despite the fact that the grand mufti has been dead for more than 40 years, the Obama administration characterized the prime minister’s statement as “inflammatory rhetoric” that served to stoke tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
Funny, but it’s impossible to find such similarly strong linkage by administration officials regarding PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s recent statements that Palestinian blood shed in defense of the Al Aqsa mosque against Jewish interlopers is “pure” and that the Jews, with their “filthy feet,” will never be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount.
Of course, there’s a good reason why liberals go out of their way to whitewash or ignore the constant stream of anti-Jewish declarations by Mr. Abbas and other Palestinian leaders: to acknowledge the deep-seated hate revealed in those statements would be to upend a key pillar in the liberal narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A New York Times editorial last week inadvertently gave us a glimpse into that line of thinking; the paper called Mr. Netanyahu’s comments “outrageous” because they were designed “to give the impression that [the Palestinian] resistance is based solely on a longstanding hatred of the Jews, and not on their occupation by Israel or any other grievance….”
But does anyone really believe the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world would not seize any available opportunity to destroy Israel and cleanse the Middle East of Jews if they could? And isn’t the current Arab posture of seeking a political modus vivendi with Israel solely a function of their having lost several wars of annihilation they mounted against the Jews of the Middle East?
Mr. Netanyahu was wrong to suggest that it was the mufti who somehow inspired Hitler to attempt to rid the world of Jews, but the fact remains that the mufti was one of Hitler’s most enthusiastic cheerleaders, and the lust for Jewish blood is still very much an intrinsic part of the Palestinian cultural, political, and religious landscape.