When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hitler got the idea of perpetrating the Holocaust from Haj Amin al-Husseini, as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem from 1922 to 1948 spiritual leader of the Arabs in Palestine, he predictably ignited a firestorm. In fact, as this Israel Network video (4:56) shows, the mufti’s role in the Nazi genocidal enterprise was that of eager collaborator and cheerleader, though not as instigator. (He also eagerly incorporated Soviet communism into his totalitarian arsenal.)
Scholar Jeffrey Herf recently addressed this issue in a Times of Israel posting:
The now widely accepted international consensus among historians of the Holocaust is that Hitler had both made the decisions to implement the Final Solution and had communicated those decisions to key actors in the Nazi regime at the latest a month before his meeting with Husseini on November 28th….
…Hitler had referred to “the total destruction of the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe…. It is [in] the extension of the Final Solution beyond the shores of Europe… that Haj Amin al-Husseini came to play a prominent role.”
But Bibi’s overstatement raises anew the Nazi-Arab connection; the Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on Congress to defund the Palestinian Authority for publishing a Nazi-era children’s book. Bibi’s remarks, juxtaposed with the Palestinian campaign to knife Jews inside Israel, and ferocious opposition to cameras on Temple Mount that would detect Palestinian abuse of Muslim holy places, tees up a long overdue reassessment of what passes for the “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians.
Herf cites Netanyahu’s clarification of his original remarks, as being absolutely on point:
“My intention was not to absolve Hitler of his responsibility, but rather to show that the forefathers of the Palestinian nation, without a country and without the so-called ‘occupation’, without land and without settlements, even then aspired to systematic incitement to exterminate the Jews.”
Progress is not possible during the Obama administration, given the attitudes of the president, his key advisers, and powerful anti-Israel activists. With a new president in 2017 there may be a chance to begin taming the monster that is Palestinian nationalism, arising from mid-20th century politics and without any history of a national people.
At Gatestone Institute, Shoshana Bryen catalogues serial genocidal incitements from 2000 onward, including “war game” camps; videos featuring kids saying they wish to kill Jews or be martyrs (or both); torching a Jewish holy site; and declaring another Jewish holy site to be a Muslim holy site. Palestinian “textbooks” are rife with anti-Jewish incitement and mythical history of Jews and Arabs.
In his piece on Palestinian incitement, national security and Mideast expert Douglas Feith indicts Team Obama for practicing moral equivalence by equivocations—“cycle of violence,” “violence in both sides”—that equate terror with self-defense measures. He writes:
Imagine how the American public would react to a political group that incited supporters to knife people on the streets of New York, Cleveland, Denver, and Seattle. Fear, indignation, and anger would translate into furious insistence that the government put an end to the evil. No political grievance would be accepted as an excuse for the savagery….
Feith notes President Obama’s call for both sides “to try to tamp down rhetoric that may feed violence or anger, or misunderstanding.” He writes of “evenhandedness”:
Commenting on mindless evenhandedness, Winston Churchill once said he couldn’t be “impartial as between the fire brigade and the fire.” But the Obama administration’s failure here is worse than evenhandedness. It’s the insistence that normal standards of behavior — ordinary ideas of right and wrong — don’t apply to Palestinians attacking Israelis.
Feith notes also that in the 1990s Israeli leaders thought that such verbal incitement was a sop to Palestinians, in that they were making peace with the Jewish state. Israeli leaders today are sadder and wiser, as even Arab shopkeepers express virulent hatred of Jews.
In his Oct. 22, 2015 testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mideast maven David Makovsky called false alarms that Jews were destroying the al-Aqsa Mosque the equivalent of “yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.” Such venomous demagoguery over Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem goes back nearly a century:
Sadly, the charge that Israel is out to destroy the mosque is not new. This claim was made in 1929, resulting in riots in Hebron that killed 63 people. More recently, fatal violence surrounding the Temple Mount occurred in 1991 (20 killed), 1996 (87 killed), 2000 (153 killed within the first month of violence), and 2014 (9 killed). [T]his does not mean that all Palestinians favor this…. more than 400 Jews were saved in 1929, when many found refuge in the homes of Palestinians.
Makovsky notes the history of the Jewish temples and of prayer on Temple Mount:
Ancient Jewish history was defined by the Temple eras — one lasting 410 years and another lasting 420 years. When the Temples were destroyed, so were the first two Jewish commonwealths, ending finally in 70 C.E. It took until 1948, or close to 1,900 years, for that longing for sovereignty to be restored. At the Camp David summit in 2000, Yasser Arafat famously angered President Bill Clinton by denying that the Temples existed — saying they were located instead in Nablus or even Yemen. Clinton reportedly responded that every Sunday school student in Arkansas knew this was not the case….
The vast majority of Jews in Israel and around the world do not attempt to pray on the Temple Mount. If Jews have not ascended the Temple Mount, it is not because it is not holy but because it is too holy. From 1967 to today, the Chief Rabbinate has forbidden Jews from visiting the area, believing this should only occur during the messianic age….
Scholar Barry Shaw notes that in 1950 Jordan illegally annexed the West Bank and in 1953 Jordan annexed East Jerusalem, declaring it “the alternative capital of the Hashemite Kingdom.” (The Hashemites are the lineal descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, tossed out of Saudi Arabia by the militant Wahhabi sect nearly a century ago.)
Former ambassador Dennis Ross, who was intimately involved in Mideast Arab-Israeli peace efforts with three administrations (Bush 41, Clinton I & II, Obama I) sees the need for a “détente”—French diplomatic parlance for “relaxation of tensions,” normally used in reference to improving relations with adversaries—between the U.S. and Israel, in light of deteriorating diplomatic relations under Obama. Ross explains in the Times of Israel that because Obama sees Israel as the stronger party, he puts the onus on Israel and cuts the Palestinians endless slack.
Two major handicaps pro-Israel advocates face in condemning Palestinian atrocities are the hyperbolic condemnation of far lesser Western sins and the delusion that peaceful majorities matter more in the long run than violent minorities. As to the first, the orgy of self-flagellation we engaged in after the low-grade abuses of Abu Ghraib were revealed in 2004 morally disarmed us from successfully demonizing the genuinely evil, such as slow-motion beheadings, most recently by ISIS, but done in 2001 in the torture execution of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The moral difference between the two is akin to that between illegal parking and murder. Had we applied the same logic during World War II, our wartime internment of 112,000 Japanese-Americans would have disentitled us to prevail over the barbarism of Japan’s militarist regime. Americans then—most of them, at least—knew better. And not only did Abu Ghraib hyperbole energize our enemies who scorn our constant self-flagellation; we were scorned as well by our allies.
As to the second, in a withering sally (4:52) at the expense of a monumentally self-absorbed Muslim-American law student at a 2014 forum, author Brigitte Gabriel demolishes this trope. She points out that cohesive, resolute, violent minority factions frequently matter far more than diffuse, passive, pacific majorities, citing Nazi Germany, militarist Imperial Japan, and the Soviet and Chinese communists; all perpetrated genocides despite the great majority of their subjects not desiring them to do so. On September 11, 2001, 19 Muslims out of 2.3 million living in the U.S. brought America to its knees, demolishing globally iconic buildings and nearly decapitating the federal government and Wall Street.
Beyond specific handicaps, there is a fiction widely believed: that had he not been assassinated, the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin would have concluded a final peace with the Palestinians, one that has eluded his successors. Caroline Glick debunks this:
Rabin was not the architect of the Oslo process. Shimon Peres and his associates negotiated the initial deal at Oslo behind Rabin’s back.
But… he maintained a healthy skepticism of its chances of success. And as the terror attacks mounted… Rabin began considering cancelling the process….
… In an interview on the 15th anniversary of her father’s murder, Dalia Rabin explained that her father was on the verge of cancelling the deal and turning back the clock.
In her words, “People who were close to my father told me that on the eve of his assassination he considered ending the Oslo process. He wasn’t a blind man who sprinted forward.”
WSJ’s Bret Stephens shreds the “make peace with enemies” canard:
To wit: You do not make peace with enemies. You make peace with former enemies—either because you have defeated them, as we defeated the Axis Powers in World War II; or because they collapse, as the Soviet Union did after the fall of the Berlin Wall; or because they have defeated you and you’re able to come to terms with the outcome from a safe distance. Witness Vietnam.
On rare precious occasions, both sides realize their interests are best served through a negotiated settlement they’re prepared to honor. That was the miracle of 1977, when Egypt’s Anwar Sadat flew to Israel to show he sincerely accepted the Jewish state’s right to exist. He paid for the gesture with his life.
Enemies, however, do not make peace…
That, Stephens writes, is exactly what Israel has been trying to do in the 22 years under Oslo: make peace with enemies who show no serious intention of making peace. Stephens cites an Israeli scholar’s study of 330 polls of Palestinian opinion. While 93 percent think use of chemical weapons by Israel would be a crime, only 25 percent think that in the converse case of Palestinian use against Israel. He notes that various polls over the past decade show solid Palestinian majorities favoring naming streets after terrorists (61 percent), stab or run over Israelis (78 percent), supporting terrorism inside Israel proper (by a 6 to 1 margin), opposing a two-state solution (over 80 percent v. 12 percent for), and holding an unfavorable opinion of Jews (94 percent). A majority sees no Jewish state in 30 to 40 years.
The prime minster received the Irving Kristol Award from the American Enterprise Institute. Here is his award interview (49:15) with AEI scholar Danielle Pletka, given in lieu of a formal speech. He said: “Nobody makes alliances with the weak; and nobody makes peace with the weak.” He added, as to Israel’s value to America: “Imagine the Middle East without Israel; now, imagine a Middle East with three Israels: one in Afghanistan, one in Libya, and one near Yemen.” As to the $3 billion annual military aid we give Israel, Bibi noted that it would take 500 years to run up our $1.5 trillion tab for the Afghan and Iraq II wars. Of the Palestinian conflict, he said:
The core of the conflicts in the Middle East is the battle between modernity and early, primitive medievalism. The core of the persistent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel in any boundary…. We got into these territories as the result of the conflict, and what Arab propaganda has done by endless repetition is to turn the result of the conflict into its cause.
Compare America’s return on its investment in Israel with the $20 billion it has totally wasted on the Palestinian Authority—aid intended for the highest per capita recipients of foreign largesse—instead squandered on the elites and on supporting terrorism against Israel.
The next administration, if so inclined—only certain GOP candidates would do this—should relegate the Arab-Israeli conflict to the back pages, letting the Israelis deal with the problems with minimal ignorant interference from us or our allies. Forcing the West to see the malignancy that is modern Palestinian nationalism in all its ugliness makes possible an end to the foolish fantasy of peace anytime in the next generation. As with the former Soviet Union, the West must prevail against Islamism—and a rejectionist Palestinian nationalism that seeks to destroy Israel—in a protracted conflict.
Sound strategy begins with setting priorities. Try these: preventing Russia from swallowing up Ukraine and the Baltics; preventing China turning the western Pacific into a Chinese lake; preventing Islamism in its various poisonous forms from gaining territory anywhere—especially in the Mideast; and, above all, preventing a nuclear-armed Iran from triggering a regional nuclear arms race; destroying what’s left of the nuclear nonproliferation regime; and preventing a nuclear war in which Israel—and/or America—is devastated.
Can any candidate for the presidency (from those who support it) provide sufficient leadership and public communication skills to implement such a strategy? I am not confident anyone can.
There is one person I think is fully up to it. Alas, he is prime minister of Israel. We may need a constitutional amendment that lets Bibi run, to recover from the fallout from America’s national security implosion.