The Mufti's violent legacy

Former Palestinian leader's vision of destroying Israel influences PA's curriculum.

Nazis al Husseini 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Nazis al Husseini 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, people in Israel stand in silence to recall the victims murdered by the Nazis and their allies. Tragically, the Palestinian Authority's curriculum and media still carry the legacy of Haj Amin Al Husseini, the former Mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Palestinian Arab community, who forged a pact with Adolf Hitler on November 28, 1941.
The Hitler-Mufti pact, presented as evidence against the Mufti in the Nuremberg war crimes trials, explicitly states that Hitler would exterminate the Jews in Europe, while the Mufti would enlist Nazi aid to exterminate Jews in Palestine. Then they would establish a “JudenRein” state of Palestine.
With such an agenda, the Mufti ensconced himself in Hitler’s bunker and recruited an Islamic unit of the Waffen SS to actively engage in the mass murder of Jews. On Nazi radio, he issued appeals in Arabic inciting Muslims to join the Führer's cause and prepare for the mass murder of Jews in Palestine.
The protocols of the Nuremberg trial testimony against the Mufti were published in Maurice Pearlman's 1946 book, "Mufti of Jerusalem."
Pearlman cites affidavits from senior SS prosecution witnesses who testified that the Mufti, working directly under Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler, was instrumental in ensuring that millions of Jews were murdered rather than ransomed.
The affidavit of Dieter Wisclicenty, an officer under Eichmann who appeared as a witness for the Nuremberg prosecution, is unambiguous on the Mufti's intentions:
"The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry for the Germans and had been the permanent collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of the plan. According to my opinion, the Grand Mufti, who had been in Berlin since 1941, played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews, the importance of which must not be disregarded, He had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with who had been in contact, above all before Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution of the Palestinian problem. In his messages broadcast from Berlin, he surpassed us in anti-Jewish attacks. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures."
While historians such as Bernard Lewis and Rafael Medoff cannot find corroborating evidence that the Mufti played a central role in the execution of the Final Solution, there is no question the Mufti loyally served the Nazi cause.
In 1961, when Eichmann was brought to justice in Jerusalem, Israel’s then foreign minister, Golda Meir, called for the Mossad to apprehend the Mufti and to sit him alongside Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem.
Pearlman traces the Mufti's escape to Cairo, where he influenced the newly formed Arab League to state in its charter that its purpose was to wipe out any forthcoming Zionist entity. Indeed, the Mufti-inspired charter would soon form the basis of the Arab league declaration of war against the nascent State of Israel in 1948.
The UK's refusal to arrest the Mufti in Cairo, Pearlman reports, caused the head of the Zionist revisionists in the US at the time, Ben Zion Netanyahu, father of Israel's current Prime Minister, to launch an unsuccessful campaign for the US to demand the arrest of the Mufti in Cairo.
A little known fact concerns the Mufti’s special relationship with a young relative in Cairo, whom he affectionately gave the name “Yassir Arafat." In December 1996, Haaretz interviewed Yassir Arafat's younger brother and sister, who said that the Mufti served as a surrogate father figure to the young Arafat.
In 1964, years after the Arab League failed to destroy the newly formed Jewish State, the Mufti returned to the Arab League and urged the group to launch the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization. The organization's covenant of purpose was almost identical to the charter of the Arab League: to exterminate new state of Israel. But the PLO's focus was organizing Arabs who remained in Israel and refugees who languished in United Nations refugee camps into an effective grass roots movement to liberate all of Palestine from Jewish rule.
Until 1967, Arabs who had fled Israel used the school books of Jordan and Egypt, which were rife with direct calls for Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews.After Judea and Samaria were liberated by Israel, the clauses in these books were deleted by the new Israel Civil Administration.
Yet in April 2000, seven years into the Oslo process, my employer, the Center for Near East Policy Research, visited a Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education laboratory in the Dutch consulate in Al Bira and found that the PA had re-introduced all the violent material.
Throughout the spring of 2000, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education was reported to be hard at work preparing new school books meant to promote peace and reconciliation with Israel.
At that time, the agency I work for, the Center for Near East Policy Research met with representatives from Italy, Belgium, Finland and Ireland, which each had poured funding into the PA Ministry of Education's new school books, believing that these would include a curriculum of peace.
In August 2000, our agency purchased five sets of the new PA school books from the PA Ministry of Education. Working with the late Jack Padwa, the former honorary chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, we shared the new books with the late Archbishop Pietro Sambi, then the Pope's ambassador to Jerusalem, with a request for the Vatican to examine the contents. Archbishop Sambi said the Vatican concluded that the books were “manuals of war." The Vatican asked Italy to withdraw its funding for the books, which Rome did.
Essentially, the PLO charter served as a basis for PA school books, demonizing Israel and praising those who kill Jews.
Arnon Groiss, a veteran journalist with a doctorate in Islamic studies, spent 11 years producing translations and analysis of Arab school books and concluded that the books represent a “curriculum of suspended war.”
Noa Meridor, examined and translated the new Palestinian Authority textbooks for Israeli intelligence, and concluded that the theme of murder through martyrdom pervaded the new PA textbooks.
Meridor states, the book stress “importance ascribed to battles, particularly those held in Palestine, and that Muslim who dies as a martyr for the sake of Allah (shahid) serves as a role model."
She also wrote that, “according to the textbooks, this kind of death is an honorable one and the Palestinian nation remembers for the better those who sacrificed their lives for Allah,” and that “The inculcation with the value of shahid is also done through repeated citations of the term “shahid” in every subject on the curriculum, even outside of thematic context: the word al-shuhada’ (the “shahids”) is used as an example within the context of studying the rules of the Arabic language, as are the sentences: “shahids live with their Lord” and “the warrior goes to war faced with one of the good options: victory or shahada [martyrdom for the sake of Allah].”
Meridor assessed that the new Palestinian Authority school books are “indoctrinated with the idea that death as a shahid is a highly important value, and the danger to-be lies in the student’s practical translation of this notion with regard to the struggle against Israel”
In conclusion, the new curriculum of the Palestinian Authority is imbued with the Mufti's vision of a Jew-free Palestine. It is taught in every educational institution of the Palestinian Authority as an ideal for Arab students.
Could the PA have had it otherwise?
A staff of educators at Beir Zeit University, an institution of higher education in the Palestinian Authority fostered a curriculum that stressed reconciliation with the Jewish state.
But, the Palestinian Authority rejected that curriculum.
The writer is the director of the Center for Near East Policy Research and Israel Resource News Agency, producer of the film, "For the Sake of Nakba," and author of "Where has all the Flour Gone: The Whims and Waste of UNRWA Arab Refugee Policy."