July 25, 2009 by Alan M. Dershowitz
Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Hamas, the terrorist organization that specializes in targeting civilians, has now decided, according to a New York Times headline, to shift “from rockets to culture war” in an effort to garner public support for its cause. Part of its ongoing public relations campaign is to portray the Israelis as the “new Nazis” and the Palestinians as the “new Jews.” In order to bring about this transformation, it must engage in a form of Holocaust denial that erases the historical record of widespread Palestinian complicity with the “old Nazis” in perpetrating the real Holocaust. It has become an important part of the mantra of Hamas supporters that neither the Palestinians people nor its leadership played any role in the Holocaust. Listen to Mohammad Ahmadinejad talking to students at Columbia University:
If [the Holocaust] is a reality, we need to still question whether the Palestinian people should be paying for it or not. After all, it happened in Europe. The Palestinian people had no role to play in it. So why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price of an event they had nothing to do with?...The Palestinian people didn’t commit any crime. They had no role to play in World War II. They were living with the Jewish communities and the Christian communities in peace at the time.
The conclusion that is supposed to follow from this “fact” is that the establishment of Israel in the wake of the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people was unfair to the Palestinians. Central to this claim is that neither the Palestinian people nor their leadership bore any responsibility for the Holocaust, and if any reparations are owed the Jewish people, it is from Germany and not from the Palestinians. The propounders of this historical argument suggest that the West created the Jewish state out of guilt over the Holocaust. It might have been understandable if a portion of Germany (or Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, France, Austria, or other collaborator nations) had been allocated for a Jewish homeland—but why Palestine? Palestine, according to this claim, was as much a “victim” as were the Jews.
I hear this argument on university campuses around the United States, and even more so in Europe. The truth is that the Palestinian leadership, supported by the Palestinian masses, played a significant role in Hitler’s Holocaust.
The official leader of the Palestinians, Haj Amin al-Husseini, spent the war years in Berlin with Hitler, serving as a consultant on the Jewish question. He was taken on a tour of Auschwitz and expressed support for the mass murder of European Jews. He also sought to “solve the problems of the Jewish element in Palestine and other Arab countries” by employing “the same method” being used “in the Axis countries.” He would not be satisfied with the Jewish residents of Palestine—many of whom were descendants of Sephardic Jews who had lived there for hundreds, even thousands, of years—remaining as a minority in a Muslim state. Like Hitler, he wanted to be rid of “every last Jew.” As Husseini wrote in his memoirs, “Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: ‘The Jews are yours.’”
The mufti was apparently planning to return to Palestine in the event of a German victory and to construct a death camp, modeled after Auschwitz, near Nablus. Husseini incited his pro-Nazi followers with the words “Arise, O sons of Arabia. Fight for your sacred rights. Slaughter Jews wherever you find them. Their spilled blood pleases Allah, our history and religion. That will save our honor.”
In 1948, the National Palestinian Council elected Husseini as its president, even though he was a wanted war criminal living in exile in Egypt. Indeed, Husseini is still revered today among many Palestinians as a national hero. Yasser Arafat, in an interview conducted in 2002 and reprinted in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds on August 2, 2002, called Husseini “our hero,” referring to the Palestinian people. Arafat also boasted of being “one of his troops,” even though he knew Husseini was “considered an ally of Nazis.” Today many Palestinians in East Jerusalem want to turn his home into a shrine. (Ironically, it is this home that was bought by a Jew to build the controversial Jewish housing development in East Jerusalem.)
It is a myth, therefore—another myth perpetrated by Iran’s mythmaker-in-chief as well as by Hamas and by many on the hard left who seek to demonize Israel—that the Palestinians played “no role” in the Holocaust. Considering the active support by the Palestinian leadership and masses for the losing side of a genocidal war, it was more than fair for the United Nations to offer them a state of their own on more than half of the arable land of the British mandate.
The Palestinians rejected that offer and several since because they wanted there not to be a Jewish state more than they wanted their own state. That was Husseini’s position. Hamas still takes that position. Perhaps their new “culture war” will finally cause them to reconsider—and to accept the two state solution.
Printed with permission from www.hudson-ny.org Read the entire article HERE
Baruch atem b'Shem, Yeshua