The South Lawn of the White House.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- Comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the week, which implicated the former grand mufti of Jerusalem in the decision to proceed with the Holocaust, amount to inflammatory rhetoric stoking tensions on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians, the White House said on Thursday.
In a speech on Tuesday, Netanyahu said that Palestinian Haj Amin al-Husseini was directly responsible for encouraging Adolf Hitler not just to expel Jews from Europe, but to exterminate them. Netanyahu has since clarified that he had no intention of absolving Hitler for responsibility for the Holocaust.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the Obama administration has no doubt who was responsible for the genocide, which involved the systematic murder of six million Jews.
"The inflammatory rhetoric needs to stop," Earnest said.
Netanyahu: 'Palestinian mufti convinced Hitler to massacre Europe's Jews'
On Wednesday, the State Department declined to characterize Netanyahu's specific remarks as incitement, but added: "Scholarly evidence does not support that position," referring to the prime minister's historical account.
Earnest's comments come just hours after Netanyahu met with Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin to discuss the violence across Israel and the West Bank in recent weeks.