The mutual admiration that once existed between the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, and German Nazis is a historical fact that appears to have become too uncomfortable to deal with for some in the West. In Germany, the district court in Munich recently sentenced German journalist Michael Stürzenberger to six months in jail for posting, on his Facebook page, an historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a senior Nazi official in Berlin in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of “inciting hatred towards Islam” and “denigrating Islam” by publishing the photo. The court found Stürzenberger guilty of “disseminating the propaganda of anti-constitutional organizations”. The totalitarian impulse, evidently, is still very much alive within parts of the German judiciary. Stürzenberger is appealing the verdict.
While this verdict, on the face of it, appears only to affect the question of freedom of speech in Germany, the ramifications – state suppression of historical facts – have potential implications for Israel, because attempts to revise and control the past affect Israel’s ability to present the historical truth.
In this case, the historical truth consists of the fact that the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini of Jerusalem loved the Nazis and the Nazis rather liked him back. Hitler even speculated that the mufti was a ‘man with more than one Aryan among his ancestors’.
The Left will probably find it interesting that a Nazi helped formulate one of its most repeated falsehoods about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi ideologue, came up with the following screed in 1922 and the Left is still peddling it a hundred years later: “In Palestine the Jews are using the old method of exploiting and driving out by legal means the real population which has lived here for thousands of years,’ Rosenberg said.
According to the late historian of antisemitism, Professor Robert S. Wistrich, Hitler ‘regarded Zionism as a mask for the hidden Jewish goal of achieving world power’. The Nazis wanted to reinforce the Arab world as a counterweight to what they saw as ‘the worldwide Jewish peril embodied in Zionism’. Haj Amin, as it turned out, was more than happy to oblige.
According to Wistrich, the mufti’s own wartime objective was a united, independent Arab state encompassing Palestine, Transjordan, Syria and Iraq (so much for being a ‘Palestinian’). Hitler assured the mufti that Germany’s war against the Jews included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine. The mufti on his part said that it was the duty of all Muslims to expel the infidel Jews from the Arab lands, that there could be no toleration of Jews, and that this had been the teaching of Mohammed 1300 years earlier. The mufti, according to Simon Wiesenthal, even enjoyed visits to Auschwitz and Majdanek, where ‘he paid close attention to the efficiency of the crematoria, spoke to the leading personnel and was generous in his praise for those who were reported as particularly conscientious in their work’. Haj Amin, it would appear, was as devoted a Nazi as the Germans he admired.
by Judith Bergman