“Know your enemy,” said the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, “and know yourself – that is the recipe for victory a hundred times over.”

Do we in the civilized world know ourselves? There is no consensus on most of the big issues that confront us. For example, which is the more important, individual rights or the protection of society? Political battles are being fought between those who prioritize one above the other, as the West struggles to come to grips with the threat from domestic terrorism bred and sponsored by Islamist extremists,

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As for knowing our enemy, we are even more deficient. That the civilized world is confronted by Islamist terrorist groupings, some loosely-knit, some unified under the banner of Islamic State – that much is widely recognised. Also reasonably well understood is that all jihadists despise the West and its values, and all are intent on disrupting and eventually destroying our way of life. What is less well known, perhaps, is that the origins and philosophy of all are intimately associated with Nazism in its most malignant anti-semitic manifestation.


In his seminal 2011 article, “How Anti-Semitism Prevents Peace”, Professor David Patterson traces the modern jihadists’ virulent hatred of Jews, a prime element in their declared philosophy, to three founding fathers: Muslim Brotherhood architect Hassan al-Banna, jihadist ideologue Sayyd Quth, and the leader of the Palestinian Arabs from 1920s to the 1940s, the Jerusalem mufti Hajj Amin Husseini.

Al-Banna was an open admirer of Hitler and Nazi methods of anti-semitic propaganda. Modern jihadists, taking their lead from him, repeatedly deny the Holocaust and extol the long-discredited forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as proof of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy. This approach is embedded in the charter of Hamas, the extremist terrorist group that seized power in Gaza back in 2008.

The Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg argued that Jews must be annihilated because all Jews were evil and were poisoning the Aryan race. Sayyd Quth followed the same line but gave it an Islamist twist. Jews, he held, were “by nature determined to fight God’s truth and sow corruption and confusion.” Jihadists must eliminate this source of evil.

In January 2009 the Egyptian cleric, Muhammad Hussein Yacoub, gave a televised address. “If the Jews left Palestine to us,” he said, “would we start loving them? Of course not… They are enemies not because they occupied Palestine… Our fighting with the Jews is eternal, and it will not end until the final battle…until not a single Jew remains on the face of the earth.”

In short, the Islamist message is that hatred of Jews and their extermination is obligatory for Muslims, as it was for Nazis.

The jihadist who more than any other espoused the Nazis’ loathing of Jews and their aim of eliminating them, was Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the one-time mufti of Jerusalem. “He who kills a Jew is assured of a place in the next world” was his rallying cry to the Arabs of Palestine in 1929, when they went on a frenzy of killing that left 133 Jews dead.

Just two months after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Husseini met the Nazi general consul in Jerusalem, Heinrich Wolff, and arranged for the Nazis to provide support for the Brotherhood. The Arab revolt that he instigated in 1936 was, he indicated, engineered with the help of the Nazis.

In October 1937, shortly after the Peel Commission had recommended partition as the best way to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict, Husseini had his first meeting with Adolf Eichmann in the Gestapo’s Department of Jewish Affairs. In May 1941 he issued a fatwa announcing a jihad against Britain and the Jews. By November that year he was back in Germany, conferring with Hitler. Before the end of the year, Husseini again met Eichmann, now responsible for carrying out the “Final Solution” − the Holocaust. Eichmann’s deputy later stated that the mufti was directly involved in its initiation and execution, and in advising Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and its architect.

On 2 November 1943, at a rally in the Luftwaffe Hall in Berlin, Husseini declared: “The Germans know how to get rid of the Jews … They have definitely solved the Jewish problem. [This makes] our friendship with Germany… permanent and lasting…”

In a series of broadcasts, he proclaimed that there are “considerable similarities between Islamic principles and those of National Socialism.” He enjoined Muslims to “kill the Jews wherever you find them.”

As the war turned against Germany, Husseini began to fear that it might end before the extermination of the Jews could be accomplished. He wrote to Himmler twice, urging greater speed in completing the enterprise.

The modern jihadist movement has remained faithful to its origins. The 1968 final version of the Palestinian National Charter envisages no peaceful outcome to the struggle, but − turning facts on their heads − asserts that “claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history”. Jews not only have no place in Israel, but no place anywhere: “Israel is … the geographical base for world imperialism... Israel is a constant source of threat vis-à-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world.”

Yasser Arafat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), declared that “the end of Israel is the goal of our struggle…Peace for us means the destruction of Israel and nothing else.”

Subsequently leading PLO official, Salah Khalaf, asserted: “an independent state on the West Bank and Gaza is the beginning of the final solution” – using the chilling Nazi code for the extermination of European Jewry. The phrase was echoed by Fatah leader Sakhr Habash, shortly after Israel left the Gaza Strip, and Fatah’s Sixth General Assembly in 2009 asserted that “the struggle will not stop until the Zionist entity is eliminated and Palestine is liberated.”

The Hamas charter expands on the theme of the God-approved duty of every Muslim to kill Jews. Patterson asserts that Hamas, true to its core Nazi beliefs, asserts that “evil is rooted not only in the Jews, but in Judaism itself. The only way to liberate humanity is to cast the satanic Jew into hell − and, as the embodiment of God on earth, Hamas takes the lead in that endeavour. Hamas is humanity’s saviour.”

Patterson declares, not without reason, that by refusing to name the evil they confront, world leaders remain wilfully blind to it. Maintaining that the media are complicit in this, he castigates world leaders for refusing to refer to Islamist fascists as either Islamists or as fascists. He might well have widened his criticism to the blind eye turned by the West to the virulent anti-semitism inherent in Islamist philosophy, and its continuous dissemination across the Muslim world – not exclusively by jihadists. To counter your enemy effectively, you have to know him. The West has some way to go.


The writer’s latest book is: “The Search for Détente: Israel and Palestine 2012-2014”. He writes the blog “A Mid-East Journal” (www.a-mid-east-journal.blogspot.com).




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