There is no Israeli orator tougher and more pugnacious than Benjamin Netanyahu, but even his allies expressed bewilderment — and shock — Wednesday after the prime minister asserted that a Palestinian religious leader gave Adolf Hitler the idea to annihilate the Jews.
In a speech here Tuesday evening, Netanyahu sought to explain the surge in violence in Israel and the West Bank by reaching for historical antecedents. He said that Jews living in what was then British Palestine faced many attacks in 1920, 1921 and 1929 — all instigated by the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who allied himself with the Nazis during World War II.
Then Netanyahu dropped his bombshell. He said: “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?’ he asked. He said, ‘Burn them.’ ”
Netanyahu, the son of a historian, said the mufti played “a central role in fomenting the Final Solution,” as the Nazis termed their plan to exterminate the Jews.
Angela Merkel has disputed Netanyahu’s claim and said that Germany was responsible. Merkel manned up. When will Netanyahu stop beating the drums of war?
He apparently wants strife and turmoil in the middle east. Perhaps if it all went away, some of his followers would no longer need him. He really needs to stop with the war mongering.
Conditions are bad enough in Israel without Netanyahu playing on Israeli fears. People are already afraid. The prime minister ought to be toning down the rhetoric and trying to quell fears, rather than exacerbating an already terrifying situation. He ought to be seeking peace, not war, if the region is to ever become a welcoming place to live, where three major world religions live and worship in peace and prosperity.
Shame on Netanyahu.