Progressive Zionists Speak Out Against PM’s Statement on the Nazi’s Final Solution, Call Claims about Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1940s “False”

Progressive Zionists Speak Out Against PM’s Statement on the Nazi’s Final Solution, Call Claims about Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1940s “False”

Partners for Progressive Israel is appalled and horrified by remarks made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the World Zionist Congress prior to his trip to Berlin. The revisionist and false claim that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, inspired the mass-murder of Jews as part of the Nazis’  Final Solution is insulting to both those who suffered in the Shoah and to Palestinians. The Palestinians were not responsible for the Mufti’s political affiliations then, and should not be characterized as eternal enemies now. Husseini did not inspire Hitler, as by the time the two met in 1941, the Final Solution was already well underway.

Randi Weingarten, representing PPI as a first-time delegate to the World Zionist Congress (ongoing at the time of this writing), had strong words on the subject.  Weingarten, who is President of the 1.6 million member American Federation of Teachers, said: 

“This is insulting to both the Jews who perished, as well as others who suffered at the hands of the Nazis and their allies during the Holocaust years, as well as to the Palestinian people. Today’s Palestinians were not responsible for the Mufti’s political alliances over seven decades ago.

“Israel has real needs — as do Palestinians. Security is of course one of them, but long term peace and prosperity only comes with attention to basic civil and human rights. The Prime Minister’s speech took Israel backwards with his incendiary comments. Leaving an impression that Palestinians were responsible for Hitler’s genocide was shocking and racist, and points to a bigger underlying problem than just the need to correct the record.”

Judy Wall, co-president of Partners for Progressive Israel, noted that “reputable Holocaust historians have refuted the claim that Husseini inspired Hitler, as by the time the two met in 1941, Hitler had already begun to implement the `Final Solution’ as a clear part of the policy of Nazi Germany.”

Wall said that “Netanyahu’s attempted abuse of the memory of the Shoah to suit his political beliefs is an insult to the Palestinian people, an insult to the memory of all who suffered and died, as well as the remaining survivors, and their descendants.

“The German government has rightfully rejected Netanyahu’s falsehoods, and we do as well. At this time of heightened tensions and provocations, the last thing the situation calls for is an Israeli Prime Minister who attempts further incitement by the egregious  falsification of history.”

Partners for Progressive Israel is a progressive American Zionist non-profit dedicated to human rights, social justice, and a peaceful, negotiated two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. PPI’s delegates participated in the World Zionist Congress under the Hatikvah Slate.


  1. Lilly Rivlin October 21, 2015 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Excellent statement. I commend you on the promptness and clarity of your

  2. Edward Goldstein October 21, 2015 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    I agree with Lilly Rivlin. This is an excellent statement and prompt, too. I am also very glad that delegates at the Congress spoke up against this travesty.

  3. Ralph Seliger October 21, 2015 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    While I basically agree with the statement, I would have added something on the appalling character and vicious antisemitism of the Grand Mufti Husseini. He was a violent hater of Jews, who actively allied with the Nazis in a number of ways, including a full endorsement of the Final Solution.

    The fact that he was the most prominent leader of the Palestinian national movement in the 1930s and ’40s has long made it more difficult for many Jews to trust in the possiblity of peace — especially with the rise of Hamas and repeated instances of violence against unarmed Israeli civilians to this day. Obviously, Israelis and Palestinians need to find ways to transcend this history — which includes many misdeeds by Israelis toward Palestinians as well. Netanyahu’s distortions of history do not help.

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  4. Shirley Rausher October 21, 2015 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    While Ralph’s comment may be true, and I am not disputing it, the timing of Netanyahu’s statement is both erroneous and flagrant in its delivery at this time, meant to inflame (I suspect) more violence. It is at least ill-timed, and possibly worse. Our PPI message, I agree, was rapidly and appropriately stated, and joined in by others at an important international conference. Well done!

  5. Alan J Weisbard October 22, 2015 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    I rather doubt that PM Netanyahu’s tendentious and clearly false historical assertion was meant to inflame more violence. I think it more likely that it was intended to distract attention from Israel’s harsh reprisals and apparent “shoot to kill” policies, and to provide some perverse justification for Israel’s unwillingness to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians. Netanyahu appears to be trying to create his own “blood libel” and pin it on the Palestinians of all generations. For those who venerate truth in relationship to the horrors of the Holocaust, this is and should be an abomination. That said, it is historically accurate to acknowledge the grievous actions of the Grand Mufti in multiple regards, and to challenge those Palestinians of our day who celebrate his hateful anti-Semitic, as well as anti-Zionist, actions and take him as a positive model. Both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs have to move beyond their destructive stereotypes of one another and find, or create, more positive models conducive to living in peace. Identifying the current generation of Palestinians as Nazis is false and destructive, as are efforts, all too fashionable on the far left, to paint Israelis as today’s Nazis. The real Nazis constituted a unique nadir in human civilization. Whatever their faults and shortcomings, neither Palestinians nor Israelis approach that level of depravity.

  6. Barbara Kay Kiontharana October 22, 2015 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    I glad that PM Netanyahu made this gaff, if only to shine a light on his point of view. Now it’s clear to many more that he needs to leave office and let others try to heal Israel and Palestine.

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  7. Ted October 23, 2015 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Dear Ralph,

    Always good that when others speak out that you shift the “progressive” debate back to Palestinian responsibility, including for the holocaust, despite the total outrageousness of Netanyahu’s statement!

    You noted the Mufti “was the most prominent leader of the Palestinian national movement in the 1930s and ’40s.” Can you remind us who placed the Mufti in his position (Hint – the British) ? Was he ever was elected by Palestinians as their leader (Hint – no)?

    Hoping to hear your views,


    • Ralph Seliger October 23, 2015 at 10:59 am - Reply

      Yes, the British Mandate authority created the office of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and appointed Husseini. While Ted and others are free to disagree with me, the Mufti’s hateful history should remind us that both sides played, and continue to play, a part in this ongoing tragic conflict — with the current plague of random attacks being but the latest episode. People like Ted and Netanyahu (in different ways) argue their narrow-minded one-dimensional narratives at the expense of working toward peaceful reconciliation.

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