Israeli PM criticized for his remarks on holocaust
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sparked a public uproar for saying that the Palestinian leader, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini persuaded the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust. Netanyahu was condemned by the Israeli opposition leader, Isaac Herzog for trivialising the Holocaust. Palestine Liberation Organisation's Secretary General Saeb Erekat described the remarks as absolving Hitler of the murder of millions of Jews.
Holocaust was the genocide of six million Jews during the World War II. The killings took place in Europe between 1933 and 1945. They were organised by the German Nazi party which was led by Adolf Hitler.
Addressing the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was the one who convinced Hitler to exterminate the Jews. Netanyahu said that Hitler had no intention of killing the Jews, but only to expel them. His comments came in the context of the current violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
"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 [to Palestine].' 'So what should I do with them?' Hitler asked and Mufti replied, 'Burn them'."
Prof. Meir Litvak, a historian at Tel Aviv University, called the speech "a lie" and "a disgrace." Prof. Moshe Zimmermann, a specialist of German history at Hebrew University said, "With this, Netanyahu joins a long line of people that we would call Holocaust deniers." Yad Vashem's (Israel's memorial to the Holocaust) chief historian said that Netanyahu's account was factually incorrect.
Haj Amin al-Husseini was a Palestinian nationalist leader who led violent campaigns against Jews and the British authorities in what was then British Mandate Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s. He fled the territory in 1937, but continued his campaign to oppose British plans to partition it into a Jewish state and an Arab one, allying himself with the Nazis during World War Two.
Husseini met Hitler in Berlin in November 1941, when he tried to persuade the Nazi leader to declare his support for the creation of an Arab state, according to German press reports at the time.
The claim that Haj Amin al-Husseini was the one to initiate the extermination of Jews was suggested by a number of historians at the fringes of Holocaust research, but was rejected by most accepted scholars. The argument was recently raised in a book by Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz - "Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East,"
Netanyahu during a Knesset (Israeli Parliament) speech in Jan 2012, described Husseini as "one of the leading architects" of the final solution (genocide of Jews).