Jerusalem's mufti, Haj Amin el-Husseini - then and now idolized by Palestinian-Arab masses - who spent World War II in Berlin as a tireless and fanatic co-conspirator in the Nazi "Final Solution to the Jewish Problem," fancied himself a poet.
He inscribed in his diary a selection of verses, which he was given to reciting over the airwaves in German-sponsored radio propaganda addresses to the Arab and Muslim world. Among his proudest creations and one he repeated particularly often was the following (which, alas, loses most of its zest in translation):
"The Jews bring the world poverty, malice and misery.
"They tortured their innocent prophets, killed Yihyeh (St. John the Baptist) and rejected Issa (Jesus).
"They destroy virtue in all countries... They plunder, grab and exploit... They are the bearers of anarchy and cause suffering in the world.
"They are like moths that eat away at all good everywhere... They are monsters and the basis of all evil in the world.
"Even Nebi Mussa (Moses) denounced them.
"Their professions of sympathy are masks and your knives already slit their throats."
Today such bloodcurdling imagery appears less popular among more sophisticated Arab/Muslim spokesmen. They deem fiery throw-the-Jews-into-the-sea oratory less effective than contentions that the Christian world - manipulated by the nefarious Jewish global cabal - seeks to expiate at the expense of peaceable Arabs whatever guilt Jewish guile imposes on it. Christians, they aver, whined about Jews and unconscionably forced a Jewish state into Islam's exclusionist midst following what the Jews claim was a Holocaust.
THIS GOES over big with credulous foreigners and the intellectually indolent, who hanker for facile formulas, especially the sort which are ostensibly iconoclastic and wallop Jews from yet another direction. The additional perk is that this presentation of the Arabs as the Holocaust's ultimate victims doesn't per force negate Holocaust-denial.
Indeed fiendishly hypocritical Islamo-fascist criteria allow Holocaust-justification and Holocaust-denial to thrive simultaneously. Hence the Palestinians' new champion, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, innovated nothing in his harangues. His oratory manifests trends already evident way back. His approach is merely a particularly shrill composite with a retro nod to unabashed annihilation-rhetoric, which worldlier Arab/Muslim leaders find counterproductive when appealing to non-domestic audiences.
Nonetheless both the urbane and the primitive no-holds-barred schools of Islamist propaganda managed to convince most international opinion that Israel was born in sin as part of a post-war payoff by the West at the expense of aggrieved Arabs, who were wholly outside the fray, forced for no fault or involvement of their own to bear Europe's ostensible burden.
Like it or not, the past becomes an indispensable part of Israel's present case and, without debunking outrageous distortions, Israel will be increasingly viewed as the illegitimate offspring of Western connivance.
Reminding the world over and over that visceral Arab enmity predated so-called occupation, the establishment of a Jewish state or the Holocaust - and indeed that it contributed significantly to the unparalleled tragedy of European Jewry - becomes an imperative rather than an esoteric preoccupation.
It's vitally relevant to emphasize that purportedly blameless local Arabs eagerly awaited German conquest of Eretz Yisrael, plotted the annihilation of its Jews and all their brethren throughout the Mideast, hoarded arms, spied for Rommel and even named their children after him. Decades later, there are still many Arabs among us with Hitler, Eichmann and Rommel for first names.
But most damning were the activities of their adulated mufti - "prime minister" of the pan-Arab government-in-exile - whose enthusiastic disciples they were. Jennie Lebel's book Haj Amin and Berlin (whose English version remains unpublished due to financial constraints) offers a painstakingly documented listing of all mufti-foiled deals to exchange Jewish children and spare them from murder.
Their blood indelibly stains Husseini's record and the legacy of his ardent adherents.
Lebel's list includes the mufti's sabotage of plans to allow the emigration of 80,000 Romanian Jews, save 5,000 Jewish orphans from Transnistria to which Romanian Jews were deported, swap 10,000 Jewish orphans in Slovakia and Hungary and groups of children in fascist Croatia.
Thousands of children from Macedonia were handed over for execution in Treblinka by Bulgaria at Husseini's explicit insistence. Eichmann and Himmler consented to the April 1943 agreement to exchange 4,000 Jewish children and 500 adult escorts from the Balkans via Bulgaria for 20,000 Germans "of child-bearing age," but the mufti fired an angry protest to Bulgarian premier Bogdan Piloff, insisting the children be put "under active control in Poland" - a euphemism for gas chambers.
Dieter Wisliceny, Eichmann's deputy, who was subsequently executed for his war crimes, testified at the Nuremberg Trials that he had already given orders to transfer the aforementioned 10,000 Jewish orphans to Theresienstadt in preparation for the projected exchange, only to be informed by Eichmann that everything was canceled due to the mufti's agitation.
"The mufti," according to Wisliceny, "was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser to Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan... He was one of Eichmann's best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I heard him say, accompanied by Eichmann, that he had visited incognito the gas chambers at Auschwitz." The late Simon Wiesenthal claimed Majdanek too was on Husseini's itinerary.
Nazi official Wilhelm Melchers testified in Nuremberg on August 6, 1947: "The mufti was protesting everywhere" against releasing Jews. He "was an accomplished foe of the Jews and didn't conceal that he would love to see them all liquidated." Husseini told Melchers that "the Jewish national home must disappear" and "he doesn't care where the Jews end up. They should all go to the devil." Ahmadinejad's sentiments precisely.
The second of two parts