Genocide: Fictional and real

On January 21, 1944, Haj Amin called on all Muslims to collaborate with Hitler to destroy “World Jewry” as well as the British Empire.

Child Holocaust survivors (photo credit: REUTERS)
Child Holocaust survivors
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Exactly 70 years ago, in early October 1944, the Palestinian Arab nationalist leader, Haj Amin el-Husseini – then resident in Nazi-ruled Berlin – made an important speech to the imams of the Bosnian Muslim SS Division. He stressed the profound correspondence of spiritual and material interests linking Muslims to Hitler Germany since the Nazi seizure of power in 1933.
National Socialism and Islam, according to Haj Amin (whom the British appointed as grand mufti of Jerusalem back in 1920) had a parallel worldview, based on a common cult of obedience, discipline, an organic national community, the leadership principle, and the readiness to struggle. Above all, Islam taught the Muslims to fight Jewry to the bitter end, ever since the Prophet Muhammad had been “obliged” to drive them out of the Arabian Peninsula 1,300 years earlier.
Haj Amin, like the Islamic fundamentalists of our own day, saw the “struggle against Jewry” as the vital glue in the Nazi-Islamist alliance. He liked to emphasize that “almost a third of the Koran deals with the Jews.” More than four decades before the anti-Semitic Hamas Charter of 1988, he quoted the classic hadith that requires Muslims to fight and “kill the Jews wherever they can be found.”
Like today’s Islamists across the Middle East and beyond, the mufti of Jerusalem was convinced that a genocidal war against the Jews was indispensable to the larger confrontation to overcome the West. In that apocalyptic war, Islam and Nazism were truly bonded against America, Britain and the Jews. The obliteration of the Jewish National Home in Palestine was therefore an ideological as well as a national territorial and political imperative.
Like his ally, Adolf Hitler, the mufti of Jerusalem (who dominated the Palestinian national movement for almost 40 years), always regarded the Jews as a “disintegrative” element in history, deliberately provoking wars between the nations – including the First and Second World Wars.
As an Islamic fundamentalist true-believer, he insisted that all Muslims had a religious duty to expel Jews from their lands in accordance with the prophet’s teaching more than a millennium earlier. The Koran, he recalled, had defined the Jews as the “worst enemies of the Muslims.”
Thus, on January 21, 1944, Haj Amin called on all Muslims to collaborate with Hitler to destroy “World Jewry” as well as the British Empire.
Both the Hamas and the PLO can fairly claim to be true heirs of the mufti and of his genocidal project to make the Middle East judenstaatrein. Their common aim is to cleanse the region of a Jewish state.
The passivity and indifference of the “international community” to this specific threat is nothing new. For nearly 40 years the UN, the West, and the third world gave Yasser Arafat’s PLO a free pass despite its transparent aspiration to destroy the Jewish state. During the last 25 years the world has also turned a blind eye to Hamas’s war aimed at annihilating the Jewish state. It ignores the visceral “Protocols of Zion” style of anti-Semitism endemic to Hamas just as it denies the Islamist supremacist ideology which links it organically to all other jihadi movements. The unusual speed with which the US State Department rejected Prime Minister Netanyahu’s perfectly reasonable comment at the UN on this family resemblance spoke volumes.
The war that America and its allies are belatedly waging against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will never succeed as long as the West continues to whitewash the fact that it is fighting a global, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scriptures. By the same token, the question of Palestine will never be solved as long as the West and the “world community” remains in denial about the true nature of the Palestinian ideology and the ultimate aims of the Islamist creed. These goals have changed little since the heyday of Haj Amin and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1930s, with its ties to the Nazi movement.
This was much more than a mere marriage of convenience.
Western appeasement did not work then, any more than it will succeed today, whether the enemy be Nazism or radical Islam. Then, as now, there was a rising tide of global anti-Semitism which scapegoated the Jews rather than face down the true enemies of civilization. Then, as now, the anti-Semites (like today’s “anti-Zionists”) accused the Jews of “war-mongering,” of “racism,” “genocide” (pointing at Soviet Russia as engineering a Jewish-inspired mass slaughter of gentiles) and other fictional crimes.
This utterly mendacious propaganda, like Mahmoud Abbas’s recent accusations at the UN about Israel’s so-called genocide in Gaza – echoed in pro-Palestinian demonstrations across the globe throughout this summer – is pure anti-Semitic projection. It tells us nothing whatsoever about Israel but it is starkly revealing about the bloodthirsty fantasies of our enemies.
Robert S. Wistrich is author of A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (2010), and head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.