Following the controversy over his remarks suggesting that it was the Palestinian mufti who nudged Adolf Hitler to annihilate European Jewry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a clarification on his personal Facebook page Friday which stated that he had no intent to diminish the Fuhrer's responsibility for the genocide."Hitler and the Nazi leadership are responsible for the murder of six million Jews," the premier wrote. "The decision to move from a policy of deporting Jews to the Final Solution was made by the Nazis and was not dependent on outside influence. The Nazis saw in the Mufti a collaborator, but they did not need him to decide on the systematic destruction of European Jewry, which began in June 1941."In a speech last week to delegates at the 37th World Zionist Congress, Netanyahu seemed to suggest that Hitler initially had no intention of massacring European Jewry.According to Netanyahu, the Fuhrer changed his mind at the insistence of the Palestinian Arab leader of that era, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who argued that the expulsion of the Jews would result in their arrival en masse to Palestine, which at the time was under British Mandatory rule.Netanyahu made the claim as part of an effort to illustrate the Palestinian propensity to use the holy places in Jerusalem as pretexts for committing acts of violence against Jews."My grandfather came to this land in 1920 and he landed in Jaffa, and very shortly after he landed he went to the immigration office in Jaffa," Netanyahu told delegates on Tuesday. "And a few months later it was burned down by marauders. These attackers, Arab attackers, murdered several Jews, including our celebrated writer [Yosef Haim] Brenner.""And this attack and other attacks on the Jewish community in 1920, 1921, 1929, were instigated by a call of the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was later sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he had a central role in fomenting the final solution," the premier said. "He flew to Berlin. Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, 'If you expel them, they'll all come here.' 'So what should I do with them?' he asked. He said, 'Burn them'."The comments sparked a deluge of criticism from opposition politicians, historians, and Palestinians who accused the premier of exploiting the Holocaust to score propaganda points.
While Netanyahu backtracked on his comments on Friday, he noted that the Palestinian leader was one of the Nazis' most prominent cheerleaders."Still, the Mufti was one of those who supported the Nazi goal of destroying the Jews," the prime minister wrote. "He conducted his activities from Berlin during the war, disseminated virulent anti-Semitic propaganda on behalf the Nazis, recruited Muslims to the SS, demanded that after conquering the Middle East the Nazis destroy the Jewish national home and vigorously opposed the emigration of Jews – even children – from the Nazi inferno, knowing full well that this would seal their fate.""My remarks were intended to illustrate the murderous approach of the Mufti to the Jews in his lengthy contacts with the Nazi leadership. Contrary to the impression that was created, I did not mean to claim that in his conversation with Hitler in November 1941 the Mufti convinced him to adopt the Final Solution. The Nazis decided on that by themselves.""The interpretation of my remarks as though I absolved the Nazis of even one ounce of responsibility for the Holocaust is absurd."Netanyahu said that the mufti's role in history is more relevant today given that Palestinian violence is fueled by claims that Israel wishes to do harm to Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem."It was important for me to point out that even before World War II it was the Mufti who propagated the big lie that the Jews intend to destroy the al-Aksa mosque," the prime minister wrote. "This lie lives on and continues to exact a price in blood."The premier also criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for hailing the mufti as a "pioneer.""That the mufti remains an iconic figure among the Palestinian leadership today speaks volumes about that leadership’s real attitude towards Israel," he said.