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.