Palestinians, Arabs, and the Holocaust
By Joseph Spoerl
Danish translation: Palæstinensere, arabere og Holocaust
Source: Behind the news in Israel, April 6, 2015
Published on December 10, 2015


One of the major Palestinian Arab arguments regarding the establishment of the state of Israel is that the West facilitated its founding out of guilt over the Holocaust. Palestinians insist that the Holocaust is a purely Western and Christian crime that has nothing to do with them or other Arabs. [1] For example, Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti writes as follows:

…Palestinians—and Arabs more generally—bear no responsibility whatsoever for the Holocaust, a European genocide committed against mostly European Jews, Roma, and Slavs, among others. It is therefore not incumbent upon Palestinians to pay in our lives, lands, and livelihoods the price for relieving Europe’s conscience of its collective guilt over the Holocaust. [2]

Jibril Rajoub, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and former Palestinian Authority security chief, asserted on July 24, 2014 that “it was the Nazis, not us, who did the Holocaust to them… We are paying the price for Europe’s crimes against them in the previous century.” [3] Likewise, PLO official Husam Zomlot recently stated that “the Nazis were responsible for it [the Holocaust]. The Palestinians had nothing to do with it. The Israelis were responsible for the Nakba.” [4]

This argument is part of the overall Palestinian narrative which maintains that Palestinians are the innocent victims of an injustice inflicted by others, especially Westerners and Zionists.

According to Barghouti, “the conflict is a colonial conflict…based on ethnic cleansing, racism, settler colonialism, and apartheid,” [5] and the state of Israel “was created through…[a] well-planned campaign of ethnic cleansing.” [6]

Thus, the nakba—the tragedy of the Palestinian refugees who were displaced by the war of 1948—is entirely the fault of the Zionists and their Western supporters, not of the Palestinians themselves. According to this narrative, in 1948, the Zionists were waging a war of preplanned ethnic cleansing, not a war of self-defense against Palestinian aggressors with genocidal intentions and a history of Nazi collaboration. Therefore, any accusation of genocide and genocidal hatred should be directed only at Westerners and Zionists, not at Palestinians or Arabs.

However, the claim that Palestinians and Arabs had nothing to do with the Holocaust is false. In fact, Arab and Palestinian leaders played a significant role in aiding and abetting the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews in Europe and they hoped to implement the genocide in the Middle East. A growing number of publications, including extensive original, high-quality archival scholarship, proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. Among the major authors are: Zvi Elpeleg, [7] Klaus Gensicke, [8] Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, [9] Matthias Küntzel, [10] Jeffrey Herf, [11] Wolfgang Schwanitz, [12] and Barry Rubin. [13] A careful examination of this history shows that it is neither fair nor accurate to portray the Arab-Israel War of 1947–9 as an unprovoked war of aggression by Zionists bent on the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs. In fact, it was a war of self-defense against a ruthless, pro-Nazi, and openly genocidal Palestinian leadership that enjoyed enormous popularity among the Arab and Palestinian masses.

The refusal of many Palestinians to face their moral and political failings honestly contrasts with their lip-service to achieving “peace with justice” in the Middle East. If they cared about justice, they would apportion a substantial share of the blame for the nakba or “catastrophe” of 1948 to themselves and would admit the existence of widespread Jew-hatred in the Arab and Islamic world and its role in undermining peace between Jews and Arabs from the 1920s to the present.

This essay will present a survey of the historical evidence of Arab and Palestinian complicity in the Holocaust. We shall divide the history into three periods: 1920–1941; 1941–1945; and 1945 to the present, and explain the relevance of this history to the present day, especially to the failure of the various attempts to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

I: 1920–1941

An important, but not the sole Arab collaborator with the Nazi program of genocide was the founding father of the Palestinian Arab national movement, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini. Works by pro-Palestinian apologists either ignore him altogether or mention him in order to minimize or deny his importance. For example, Edward Said’s influential book, The Question of Palestine, does not mention al-Husseini at all. [14] The American political scientist Virginia Tilley briefly notes al-Husseini, only to dismiss him as “unrepresentative” and states that he was “never a leader of more than a few reactionary Palestinian factions.” [15] The German historian of the Middle East, Gudrun Krämer downplays al-Husseini’s role in the Holocaust. [16]

In fact, Hajj Amin-al-Husseini was highly influential and extremely popular throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds. [17] The Husseini family of Jerusalem was one of the most powerful and respected clans in Palestinian Arab society for centuries. The Husseinis claim to be descendants of Hussein, the son of the Caliph Ali and his wife Fatima, daughter of Muhammad. [18] For centuries, the Husseinis had held important positions in Palestine, including Mufti of Jerusalem. [19] Under the British Mandate in Palestine, due in part to the power and prestige of his family, Hajj Amin al-Husseini served as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and president of the Supreme Muslim Council. Thus, he was the most powerful Arab official in British Palestine and controlled a large budget and a network of patronage that included imams of mosques, judges in the Islamic courts, Islamic schools, and Islamic endowments (waqf). [20] By virtue of these two offices, Husseini “became the most influential Arab in Palestine.” [21] In March 1935, the Husseini clan established its own political party, the Palestine Arab Party. [22] In 1936, at the outset of the Arab Revolt against the British and the Jews, al-Husseini was elected as head of the Arab Higher Committee, a ten-member committee that included the leaders of all six Palestinin Arab political parties and Palestinian Christians. [23]

In his testimony before the Peel Commission in 1937, Hajj Amin al-Husseini made it clear that he favored the wholesale expulsion (or worse) of most of the Jews in Palestine. [24] Indeed, according to historian Benny Morris, Husseini “consistently rejected territorial compromise and espoused a solution to the Palestine problem that posited all of Palestine as an Arab state and allowed for a Jewish minority composed only of those who had lived in the country before 1914 (or, in a variant, 1917).” [25] This would have meant either the expulsion or the slaughter of the majority of the Jews living in Palestine in the late 1930s. Al-Husseini never wavered from his hard-line rejection of any sort of compromise with the Zionist movement.

An important aspect of al-Husseini’s political activity was his outreach to the larger Islamic world. He devoted his efforts to “Islamize” the conflict with the Zionists. In fact he first rose to prominence during the annual religious festival of Nabi Musa in April 1920 by successfully inciting violence against Jews, thereby increasing his popularity among the Palestinian Arab masses. [26] In the early 1920s, al-Husseini embarked on a successful campaign to restore the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which had fallen into a state of disrepair. He traveled throughout Muslim countries in order to raise funds for this effort and brought the issues of Islamic holy sites and the Palestinian cause to the attention of Muslims. By doing so, he enhanced his own status among his co-religionists in and beyond the Arab world. When he addressed fellow Muslims, he often invoked the false and highly inflammatory accusation that the Jews planned to tear down the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in order to build a Jewish temple on their ruins. [27] In 1928–9, the Mufti again appealed to Islam in order to oppose Jewish efforts to bring benches and partitions to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. He repeated his accusation that the Jews were trying to destroy the Muslim holy sites, and, as in 1920, his words incited violence against Jews. [28] In 1931, al-Husseini convened a General Islamic Conference in Jerusalem that 28 attended by Muslim figures from twenty-two countries, including his close friend, the future secretary-general of the Arab League Abd al-Rahman Azzam and the leading Egyptian Muslim intellectual Rashid Rida. [29] The conference chose al-Husseini as its permanent president. [30]

In September 1937, in the midst of the Arab Revolt, al-Husseini organized an all-Arab conference in Bludan, Syria to rally opposition to the Peel Commission’s partition plan. The conference was attended by 400 delegates, including 124 Palestinian Arabs. Al-Husseini was not able to attend and did not leave the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as he feared arrest by British authorities for his part in fomenting violence in Palestine. However, it did not stop the delegates from electing him honorary president of the conference. [31] The election demonstrates the wide support al-Husseini enjoyed in Arab and Palestinian society. Elie Kedourie notes that “quite a number of well-known personalities took part in its deliberations, thus giving its proceedings a semi-official cachet.” [32] In the Mufti’s absence, “A Proclamation of the Grand Mufti to the Islamic World” was read to the assembled delegates.

This document, described by Jeffrey Herf [33] and Matthias Küntzel [34] as one of the foundational documents of twentieth-century Islamism, uses the Islamic tradition—the Qur’an, the biography of Muhammad (sira), and the sayings of Muhammad (hadith)—to construct the basis for hatred and distrust of Jews qua Jews (not just Zionists). The proclamation begins as follows: “Since the earliest days of their history, the Jews have been an oppressed people and there must be good reason for that.” [35] From the Egyptian Pharaohs to the Roman rulers of Syria and Palestine, rulers have felt compelled to drive the Jews out of their lands to ward off their evil ways and the diseases they introduce (which is “the reason that the Jews to this day are called microbes.” [note omitted]). [36] Al-Husseini then observes that “for that reason, the Arabs understand especially well when likewise energetic measures are undertaken in Germany against the Jews and they are driven off like mangy dogs.” [37]

In his proclamation, al-Husseini traces the Muslim war with the Jews to the birth of Islam: “The battle of Jews against Arabs is nothing new… The Jews hate Muhammad and Islam… The battle between the Jews and Islam began when Muhammad fled from Mecca to Medina…” and the Jews opposed him there and tried to discredit his teaching. [38] According to the Qur’an (Sura 4:51–52), “they are the ones Allah has cursed, and whomever Allah curses, you will find no helper for him.” [39] The Mufti applies this Qur’anic teaching to the plight of the Jews in 1937: “And it can be seen how this curse has come true. The Jews are scattered homeless across the entire world and nowhere do they find true help and support.” [40] Al-Husseini quotes the Qur’an, Sura 5:82, which states that “the Jews and idolaters harbor the strongest hostility towards those who believe.” He also introduces several sayings attributed to Muhammad by Muslim scholars: “it will never be possible to see a Jew and a Muslim together without the Jew having a secret intent to destroy the Muslim,” and “the day of judgment will only come when the Muslims have dealt the Jews a crushing blow, when every stone and tree behind which a Jew has hidden, speaks to the Muslim: ‘Behind me is a Jew. Strike him dead.’” [41] In his peroration, the Mufti concludes: “The verses from the Qur’an and hadith prove to you that the Jews have been the bitterest enemies of Islam and continue to try to destroy it. Do not believe them. They know only hypocrisy and guile… Do not rest until your land is free of the Jews…” [42] According to Matthias Küntzel, this speech was distributed in pamphlet form across the entire Arab world, and there is evidence that Nazi German agents helped with its production and distribution. [43] In 1938, the Nazis published a German translation in Berlin. [44]

Jeffrey Herf observes that al-Husseini’s 1937 “Proclamation,” written only four years after the Nazis’ rise to power and well before al-Husseini’s arrival in Berlin, “was not a result of the impact of an external force, Nazism, with Husseini a passive receptor…. Husseini’s text of 1937 and 1938 is evidence that Islamism as a distinct political ideology had begun to take shape as a result of his own intellectual labors and those of other Islamist radicals in the 1930s.” [45] It also shows that theologically-based anti-Jewish stereotypes and polemics are deeply rooted in the Islamic tradition, beginning with the life of Muhammad himself. [46] The Islamic tradition provided the Mufti with ample material to demonize his Jewish opponents and transform the conflict over Palestine into a religious war. He did not need to learn antisemitism from his Nazi allies. As Schwanitz and Rubin have argued, “it is wrong to see al-Husaini and his fellow radicals as merely importing European anti-Semitism or being influenced by the Nazis. The two groups’ ideas developed in parallel from their own histories and political cultures.” [47] The Mufti’s 1937 proclamation disproves Virginia Tilley’s ill-informed assertion that “the Islamic tendency is a recent and still minority twist for a [Palestinian] national movement that, through its first half-century, was overwhelmingly secular.” [48] It also disproves her equally incorrect claim that Arab rhetoric against “the Jews” is merely a response to the Jews as a rival national identity and, therefore, not antisemitic in the common sense of the term. [49] The Mufti’s antisemitic rhetoric in 1937 also cannot be explained away as a reaction to the alleged misdeeds of the state of Israel that was established eleven years later. Finally, his audience represented a wide cross-section of Palestinian and Arab society. Therefore, his election as honorary president of the 1937 Bludan conference tells much about the world-view of Arab opponents of Zionism, which incorporated theologically-based anti-Semitism.

In 1937, al-Husseini fled Palestine and went to Lebanon, and in 1939, to Iraq. Zvi Elpeleg recalls that “in Baghdad, Haj Amin was welcomed by the leaders of the Iraqi regime with due ceremony and was cheered by the masses….[he] was now reaping the benefit of twenty years of efforts to involve the masses in the Arab world in the Palestinian issue, and to establish himself as protector of the holy sites and a pan-Arab and pan-Islamic leader.” [50] In Iraq he immediately joined with the pro-Nazi faction and began plotting a coup d’état which took place in 1941 with German assistance. In consequence, British forces invaded Iraq in order to regain control of the country and its valuable oil fields and pipelines. [51] The Mufti was “the driving force behind the effort to align Iraq with the Axis powers.” [52] “There can be no doubt whatsoever that, but for the Mufti’s ceaseless political agitation, the coup in Iraq would not have occurred in the first place.” [53] As al-Husseini and the other conspirators fled before the advancing British troops, there was a massive anti-Jewish pogrom in Baghdad on June 1 and 2, 1941. One-hundred seventy-nine Jews were murdered and 586 shops and warehouses looted. A committee of inquiry later named Hajj Amin al-Husseini as one of the figures who had incited the riots. Indeed, al-Husseini identified the Jews of Iraq as a “fifth column” that had subverted the pro-Axis coup. [54]

II: 1941–1945

Al-Husseini and his Iraqi accomplice, Rashid Ali al-Gailani, made their way from Iraq to Iran and then, via Italy, to Nazi Germany, and arrived in Berlin on November 6, 1941. The Mufti had been in contact with the Nazis for years. As early as 1933, right after Hitler became chancellor of Germany, al-Husseini reached out to the German consul in Jerusalem, assuring him that “the Muslims inside and outside Palestine welcomed the new regime of Germany and hoped for the extension of the fascist, anti-democratic governmental system to other countries.” [55] During the Arab Revolt of 1936–9, al-Husseini received German funds and weapons. In fact, Nazi funding enabled him to continue the revolt in Palestine until 1939. [56] In the summer of 1940, the Mufti sent a letter to Franz von Papen, the Nazi representative in Ankara, congratulating the Germans for their victory over France and soliciting further German support for the Arab cause. [57] Osman Kemal Haddad, the Mufti’s private secretary, traveled to Berlin in August 1940, demanding recognition of the right of the Arab states “to solve the Jewish question…following the German-Italian model.” [58] Haddad was in Berlin again in February 1941, expressing the willingness of the Arab peoples to do their part in helping the Nazis defeat “the English-Jewish coalition.” [59] We have noted that Al-Husseini and his Iraqi co-conspirators also received Nazi aid for their coup in Iraq in 1941. (It was only Hitler’s preoccupation with the impending invasion of the Soviet Union that prevented more effective assistance.) [60]

Impressed by al-Husseini’s charisma and his widespread support throughout the Arab world, by March 1941, the Nazis had decided that “the primary political route to the Arab world should be via the Grand Mufti and his secretary.” [61] In May 1941, Hitler authorized the creation of a special military mission under the code name “Sonderstab F” to serve as a high-level headquarters for the entire Middle East, and this unit maintained contact with the Mufti and al-Gailani. [62] Fawzi al-Qawuqji, who commanded the Arab Liberation Army in the 1947–8 war, served in this unit during World War II. [63] The other major commanders of anti-Zionist Arab guerrillas in 1947–8, Abd al-Qadir al-Husseini, a relative and close associate of the Mufti, and Hasan Salama, also spent the war years in Nazi Germany. [64] By July 1941, with a number of Arabs and Muslims in its ranks, Sonderstab F had established its headquarters at Cape Sounion near Athens. [65]

In the summer and fall of 1941, German strategists were planning the next phase of operations after the anticipated conquest of the Soviet Union, namely, the conquest of British forces and locations in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. “The utilization of the Arab independence movements,” led and inspired above all by Hajj Amin al-Husseini, was to play an important role. [66] German strategists were convinced that al-Husseini was “the most important leader of the Arabs,” and Hitler regarded him as “the principal actor of the Middle East.” [67] In order to secure al-Husseini’s cooperation, however, Hitler had to agree to certain basic conditions, one of which was the cessation of all Jewish emigration from Europe. The Mufti did not want any more Jews making their way to Palestine. On March 11, 1941, Hitler agreed to this condition. [68] On October 31, 1941, the Nazis ended the legal emigration of Jews from German-ruled areas. [69] Up until 1941, Hitler had seemed content to drive all the Jews out of Germany and German-occupied lands, often taking hefty ransom payments in the process. [70] But Hajj Amin al-Husseini insisted that Hitler and the Nazis end this method of “solving the Jewish question.” Thus, mass murder became “the final solution.”

This was the situation when the Grand Mufti met with Adolf Hitler in Berlin on November 28, 1941. The meeting lasted for an hour and thirty-five minutes. Hitler assured the Mufti that after defeating the Soviet forces, the Wehrmacht would wheel south through the Caucasus into Iraq and Iran and liberate the Arabs. “Germany’s objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power.” [71] Immediately after his meeting with al-Husseini, Hitler ordered Heydrich to organize a conference within ten days to prepare “the final solution of the Jewish question.” This was to be the infamous Wannsee Conference, which was postponed to January 1942 because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Germany’s subsequent declaration of war on the United States. [72] Rubin and Schwanitz summarize the Arab role in the Nazi choice of genocide for the Jews:

It is logical to believe that the Holocaust was a decision based on fanatical ideology rather than on German self-interest. Of course, Hitler’s virulent hatred of Jews and talk of wiping them out had begun in the 1920s. If al-Husaini or some counterpart had not existed, the Nazis would probably have acted in a similar fashion. But the influence of al-Husaini, al-Kailani, and their movements also reinforced, made more necessary, and accelerated a policy of genocide in Europe that the Axis’s [Arab] partners intended to spread to the Middle East. [73]

By the summer of 1942, when Rommel’s Afrika Korps seemed poised to conquer Egypt and cross the Suez Canal, the Nazis already had completed secret preparations to deploy an SS Einsatzkommando, or mobile killing unit, to the Middle East and North Africa. The instructions to this unit were “to take executive measures against the civilian population on its own authority”—exactly the instructions given to the Einsatzkommando units that followed the Wehrmacht into the Soviet Union in 1941, where they began the wholesale massacre of Jews. [74] The “Einsatzkommando Egypt” was deployed from Berlin to Athens on July 29, 1942 and waited for transfer to Africa under the command of SS officer Walter Rauff, “one of the key officers responsible for the mass destruction of the Jews,” the man “in charge of the technical equipment for the Einsatzgruppen in the Soviet Union.” [75] This unit “was to be deployed first in Egypt and then, after the conquest of Egypt, in neighboring Palestine, where they would doubtless have been engaged first and foremost in the mass murder of the Jewish population.[note omitted]” [76] The Einsatzgruppen in Eastern Europe relied heavily on the support of local collaborators. The Nazis had good reason to expect extensive help from such collaborators across the Arab world because “as numerous reports had long attested, a vast number of Arabs, in some cases already well organized, were ready to serve as willing accomplices of the Germans in the Middle East.” [77] German and Western intelligence services reported high levels of pro-Nazi sentiment throughout the Arab world, including Palestine, where “the extra-ordinarily pro-German attitude of the Arabs” was due “primarily to the fact that they ‘hope Hitler will come’ to drive out the Jews….” [78] The Mufti, al-Gailani, and Fawzi al-Qawuqji were actively assisting General Felmy, the commander of Sonderstab F at Cape Sounion near Athens, mainly in recruiting of Arabs. [79]

Al-Husseini also was planning the extermination of the Jews of Palestine and met with Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann for briefings on Germany’s “solution to the European Jewish question.” They secured a promise from Himmler that an advisor from Eichmann’s Jewish Affairs department would travel with him to Jerusalem after the conquest of Palestine in order to extend the “final solution” to that country. [80] In 1942, al-Husseini and al-Gailani encouraged their associates to attend Nazi training courses to become proficient in genocide and, therefore, three of al-Gailani’s and one of the Mufti’s associates visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in July 1942. The Nazi officer who led the tour reported that the Arabs were “extremely interested” in the treatment of Jews at Sachsenhausen. [81] Only the defeat of the German army both by the British at El-Alamein and by the USSR in the late summer and fall of 1942 saved the Jews of Palestine and Egypt from extermination. [82]

Al-Husseini and his pro-Nazi Arab colleagues made other significant contributions to the Nazi war effort and the Holocaust. Jeffrey Herf has meticulously documented the role of the Mufti. According to transcripts from the U.S. State Department archives, al-Husseini was deeply involved in writing and broadcasting Arabic-language pro-Nazi propaganda via leaflets and short-wave radio broadcasts to the Middle East and North Africa. Together with other Arab expatriates, he crafted an enormous body of viciously anti-Semitic propaganda for the Nazis based almost entirely on Islamic sources, above all the Qur’an and the traditional biography and sayings of Muhammad. [83] This propaganda included outright incitement to genocide: “Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion.” [84] The Mufti openly informed his Arab audience that the Nazis “had set about annihilating them [the Jews] before it was too late. History will record this action as one of the wisest steps ever taken.” [85] “The world will never be at peace until the Jewish race is exterminated… The Jews are the germs which have caused all the trouble in the world.” [86] The Jews “have been the enemy of the Arabs and of Islam since its emergence.” [87] Tolerance toward the Jews was a “stupid plan and a shameful crime against the fatherland” and the only legitimate policy was the “expulsion of all the Jews from all Arab and Muslim countries. This is the only remedy. It is what the Prophet did thirteen centuries ago.” [88] The Mufti’s call for murder and ethnic cleansing would not fall on deaf ears. After 1948, 850,000 Jews were violently driven from Arab lands, stripped of their property and passports. [89] By one estimate, the Jews forced out of just three countries—Iraq, Egypt, and Morocco—were dispossessed of land that was more than five times the size of modern Israel. [90] (Hajj Amin al-Husseini complained that the Arabs were allowing the Jews to escape alive and again called for “liquidation not emigration.”) [91]

The Mufti also played a central role in recruiting Muslims from Bosnia, Albania, and the USSR to serve in Nazi military units and supervised the training of their Muslim chaplains. [92] Whenever Al-Husseini learned of efforts to secure the release of Jews from European countries under Nazi control, in exchange for ransom or for the release of Germans stranded abroad at the outbreak of war, he intervened forcefully to prevent the escape of the Jews (including children). [93] In his letters to Nazi officials objecting to such exchanges, he proposed that the Jews be sent “where they will be placed under strict control, e.g. Poland.” [94] The Mufti was well aware of the fate of the Jews in Poland. In his memoirs, he admits that his friend Heinrich Himmler had told him in the summer of 1943 that the Nazis already had liquidated some three million Jews. [95] As one German official noted, “the Mufti was a sworn enemy of the Jews and made no secret that he would rather see them all killed.” [96]

III: 1945 to the Present

Working with the Nazis, Hajj Amin al-Husseini spread his openly genocidal antisemitic propaganda in Arabic in millions of leaflets and short-wave radio broadcasts from 1942 until 1945. However, it did not turn him into a pariah after the war. In fact, upon his return to the Arab world (specifically, Egypt) in the summer of 1946, he was hailed by the masses as a hero. Pressure from his old friend, Abd al-Rahman Azzam, secretary-general of the Arab League, persuaded Western governments not to prosecute him for war crimes. [97] The Husseini clan and its political party, the Palestine Arab Party (PAP), agitated for his return and effectively “canonized” him for his wartime activities. According to Jeffrey Herf, for the PAP, the Mufti’s wartime activities were a source of pride, not of shame. [98] Quoting from an official report by American diplomats on the state of public opinion in Palestine as of November 1945, Herf writes as follows:

Officials in the American Embassy in Cairo commented on the PAP’s prominence. They regarded the party as “the most active political organization in the country and [one that] retains the allegiance of the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs….” The PAP profited from “the great respect and esteem which Hajj Amin al-Husayni enjoys in all levels of society” and gave no indication that it wanted or needed unity with other parties or factions. It continued to be “the most extreme of all parties in its uncompromising fight against Zionism,” never accepting that Jews had any rights in Palestine, and was doing all it could “to have Jamal al-Husayni [the Mufti’s brother and loyal ally] and Hajj Amin al-Husayni returned to lead the Arab cause.” [99]

Herf draws the obvious conclusion. By November 1945, Palestinian Arabs were well aware of the Mufti’s views, both from his activities and writings in Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s and from his Nazi radio broadcasts and leaflets. “Yet, far from bringing his political career to an end, Husseini’s wartime actions contributed to his appeal in the postwar years.” [100] Zvi Elpeleg makes the same point: “Haj Amin’s popularity among the Palestinian Arabs and within the Arab states actually increased more than ever during his period with the Nazis. When he returned to the Middle East from Europe, Arab leaders hurried to greet him, and the masses welcomed him enthusiastically.” [101] According to Bernard Lewis, in post-1945 Egypt and other Arab lands, “a pro-Nazi past was a source of pride, not shame.” [102] When al-Husseini appeared in Cairo in May and June 1946, U.S. Ambassador Pinkney Tuck observed that the warm welcome was “widespread and genuine.” [103] Klaus Gensicke speaks of “the waves of enthusiasm that shook the Arab world on his arrival in Egypt.” [104] Meir Litvak and Esther Webman note that “when the news of his [al-Husseini’s] arrival [in Cairo] broke, it aroused a wave of sympathy and enthusiasm, manifested in numerous press articles and pilgrimage to his home.” [105] The German historian Gudrun Krämer writes as follows: “even after the fall of the Third Reich [the Mufti’s] known involvement with Nazi Germany did not discredit him in the eyes of most Arab nationalists in Palestine and beyond.” [106] Especially profuse in his postwar praise of the Mufti was Hassan al-Banna, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose members were engaged in inciting pogroms against the Jews of Egypt at this time. [107] Indeed, al-Banna appointed al-Husseini leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, albeit in absentia, since British authorities would not allow him to enter Palestine. [108]

With the support of the Arab League Secretary-General Azzam, Hajj Amin al-Husseini resumed his position as the head of the Arab Higher Committee, the official body representing the Arabs of Palestine. [109] In fact, the Arab League made sure that the new AHC was composed only of the Husseinis and their allies, with Hajj Amin as president and his brother Jamal as deputy president. According to Benny Morris, the more moderate Palestinian Arabs, led by the Nashashibi clan, were “left out in the cold.” [110] Al-Husseini continued to reject any compromise with the Zionists that might have averted war. “The Mufti bluntly stated that, ‘as soon as the British forces were withdrawn, the Arabs should with one accord fall on the Jews and destroy them.’ [note omitted]” [111] In March 1948, he told an interviewer in a Jaffa newspaper that the Arabs did not intend merely to prevent partition but “would continue fighting until the Zionists were annihilated and the whole of Palestine became a purely Arab state.” [112] According to Rubin and Schwanitz, “once al-Husaini was allowed to reestablish himself as unchallengeable leader of the Palestinian Arabs, this ensured that no compromise or two-state solution would be considered, while making certain that Arab leaders would be intimidated and driven to war.” [113] The secretary-general of the Arab League, Azzam, a friend and champion of the Mufti, was equally recalcitrant. He rejected compromise and insisted that the fate of Palestine would only be settled on the battlefield. “You will achieve nothing with talk of compromise or peace,” Azzam told UN and Zionist diplomats in 1947. “For us, there is only one test, the test of strength.” [114] In October 1947, Azzam was quoted in an Egyptian newspaper as predicting that the impending war over Palestine “will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre.” [115] Azzam elsewhere reportedly predicted “We will sweep them into the sea,” a phrase also used by AHC representative Izzedine Shawa. [116]

Given this background, it is hardly surprising that fear of another Holocaust was a major motive driving Zionist forces to fight in 1947–8. [117] Zionist leaders were well aware that Hajj Amin al-Husseini had supported Hitler and the “final solution.” [118] The Jews of Palestine were outnumbered by Arabs two-to-one within Palestine and by a much larger factor if Arabs outside of Palestine are counted. Most Palestinian Arabs revered someone who had openly called for genocide against Jews—all Jews—and who rejected any compromise regarding Palestine. Furthermore, Hajj Amin al-Husseini had the support of at least three important Arab militia commanders who were fellow collaborators with the Nazis: Fawzi al-Qawuqji, Abd al-Qadir al-Husseini, and Hassan Salama. Since the Mufti’s arrival in Cairo in 1946, they had been planning their campaigns against the Jews of Palestine. [119] The secretary-general of the Arab League had made openly genocidal statements and also rejected compromise.

According to Benny Morris, at the outset of the war, Zionist leaders “could not know or guess how poorly the Arabs would organize for war or how incompetently and disunitedly their armies would perform.” The Jews of Palestine “were genuinely fearful of the outcome and the Haganah chiefs’ assessment on 12 May [1948] of a ‘fifty-fifty’ chance of victory or survival was sincere and typical.” [120] The phrase “victory or survival” is telling. Only victory would ensure survival for the Jews, given the nature and intentions of their enemy. Despite this dire situation, there was no Zionist plan for the systematic ethnic cleansing of Arabs, as Omar Barghouti falsely claims. [121] In fact, as we have shown above, the plan for ethnic cleansing in Palestine in 1947–8 was an Arab plan, not a Zionist one. The Zionist forces won the war of 1947–1949 at great cost. About one percent of the Jewish population was killed and two percent seriously wounded. [122] For the United States today, comparable casualties in a war would mean about nine-and-a-half million Americans killed or maimed. A war that inflicted such casualties on the United States would be cataclysmic, a war for national survival. As such, it would also leave a psychological mark on American society that would last for generations. Thus, it has been for Israel.

The victory of the Zionists notwithstanding, the Mufti continued to enjoy great prestige throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds. His bitter feud with King Abdullah of Jordan, however, meant that he never received the full backing of the Arab League. Nonetheless, the Arab League acceded to his demand for a Palestinian government. In July 1948, the League announced the formation of an “All-Palestine Government.” In September 1948, Hajj Amin al-Husseini was placed at the head of this government, his brother Jamal al-Husseini was named foreign minister, and another Husseini was made defense minister. [123] In September and October 1948, al-Husseini presided over the meeting of this government in Gaza, where “he received an enthusiastic welcome from the local residents and refugees.” [124] The Palestinian Arabs in attendance included heads of local municipalities, members of the national committees, religious and community leaders, tribal leaders and important professional figures. Calling itself the Palestinian National Council, this body unanimously chose al-Husseini as its president and approved the Husseini-dominated All-Palestine Government by a vote of sixty-four to eleven. It also signed the declaration of Palestine’s independence. [125] Inter-Arab feuding and power politics would prevent this government from ever functioning, although it existed nominally until the formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964. However, the historical record is clear. When given the chance, the Palestinian Arab community chose as its first leader a proponent of genocide and known Nazi collaborator who neither had renounced his past nor changed his opinions. This government was recognized by six Arab countries: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. [126]

Hajj Amin’s unsavory past did not prevent him from being welcomed repeatedly as a pan-Islamic leader. In 1951, he participated in a World Islamic Congress in Karachi, Pakistan. The congress elected him its president. He attended further Islamic congresses there “and his popularity soared in Pakistan.” [127] During the 1950s, he maintained his connections with armed cells and dispatched terrorists to attack inside Israel, thereby increasing his popularity in Arab countries. [128] In 1955, he attended the Bandung Conference in Indonesia in order to encourage support for the Palestinian cause in the developing world. This conference of Asian and African nations was an important step toward creating the “non-aligned bloc” of nations that has become extremely important to the Palestinian cause at the UN. At Bandung, the Mufti met Chou En-Lai of Red China, who assured him of China’s support for his “anti-colonial” struggle. [129]

In 1954, a year before the Bandung Conference, Hajj Amin published a series of articles in an Egyptian newspaper. These essays later were published as a book which went through at least three printings. There he repeated the same propaganda that he had broadcast during and after World War II:

• “Our battle with World Jewry…is a question of life or death, a battle between two conflicting faiths, each of which can exist only on the ruins of the other.” [130]

• The Jews “intend to rebuild the Jewish temple…on the site of the blessed al-Aqsa mosque.” [131]

• The Jews brought about Germany’s defeat in World War I. “This is the main reason for Hitler’s war against the Jews and for his strong antipathy towards them…. Germany’s revenge against the Jews was harsh, and it annihilated millions of them during the Second World War.” [11321]

• The Jews were behind the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. [133]

• The Jews have a specific character, “the Jewish character that has been their essence since the beginning of their existence. This character is one of the main reasons for their failure throughout their history, and it has caused people to hate and persecute them. One of the most conspicuous aspects of the Jewish character is their excessive arrogance and selfishness… There is no end to their greed…they have no mercy and they are known for their malice…they do not attribute any significance to others and do not recognize the rights of others. Therefore nations throughout history have despaired of living with them.” [134]

• “Reconciliation with the Jews is suicidal for the Arab nation…. Peace with the Jews will…enable the Jews to expand the borders of their country by annexing vast areas of Arab countries, which they strive to control… Through the political and economic ties that the Jews are attempting to form with the Arabs, in times of peace they will spread ideas and principles that contradict the spirit of Islam and Arab civilization…time and experience have proved that the Jews have no respect for agreements and accords.” [135]

The open expression of these views in the Egyptian press was regarded as acceptable by Egyptian publishers in the mid-to-late 1950s. It did not harm the Mufti’s standing in the Arab and Islamic worlds. As noted above, it did not prevent him from being welcomed by the African and Asian leaders in Bandung in 1955. It did not prevent the new leaders of Iraq, after the coup of 1958, from welcoming the Mufti repeatedly as an honored guest in Baghdad. [136] In May 1962, Hajj Amin served as head of the World Islamic Congress in Baghdad. “In the opening speech he issued a call to fight Zionism,” which, he alleged, aspired to conquer all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates. [137] In October 1962, he headed an official Palestinian delegation to Algeria to participate in Algerian independence celebrations. [138] In the early 1960s, he organized Islamic conferences in Saudi Arabia and Somalia. [139] Most remarkably, King Hussein of Jordan welcomed Hajj Amin to Jordan in March 1967 and allowed him to come to Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where “he was welcomed by the local shaikhs and cheered by the mass of worshippers.” [140] King Hussein allowed Hajj Amin back in Jordan in 1967, where he headed two successive conferences in Amman, a World Islamic Congress on September 16 and a Muslim-Christian Conference on September 18. These conferences condemned “the barbaric and inhuman acts being perpetrated by the Zionists and their desecration of the holy places.” [141] As late as 1968, Hajj Amin was receiving funds from Saudi Arabia. [142]

In the last year of his life, 1974, he was invited to attend a summit conference of Islamic countries in Lahore, Pakistan. “For many years, Hajj Amin had been the central figure at extra-governmental Islamic congresses.” At the 1974 Lahore gathering, however, Yassir Arafat, a new Palestinian leader took the spotlight. [143] On December 29, 1968, at a meeting at his home in Beirut, the Grand Mufti anointed Arafat as his successor. [144] By late 1968, Arafat was about to take over the PLO. “But Arafat would be all the more secure if he received the seventy-oneyear-old al-Husaini’s endorsement. Al-Husaini gave it after lecturing Arafat for several hours on how he should go about destroying Israel and replacing it with a Palestinian Arab state.[note omitted]” [145] Arafat and al-Husseini would eventually disagree about tactics, [146] but the former was in the front row of mourners at al-Husseini’s funeral in 1974, where he arrived with “tears in his eyes.” [147] At the funeral, “the presence of PLO members was especially conspicuous.” [148] PLO tributes to the deceased Grand Mufti were effusive in their praise of “the great Palestinian leader,” “the imam of the Palestinians.” [149] The tributes did not end with the funeral, as Zvi Elpeleg reports:

On the fortieth day after his death, a memorial was held in Haj Amin’s honor in the Islamic faculty of the Jordanian University in Amman. [King] Husayn directed the Prime Minister, Zaid al-Rifa’ai, to represent him at the memorial, and the eulogy was delivered by his advisor, ‘Abd al-Mun’im al-Rifa’ai. The Jordanian authorities did their utmost to make the memorial an impressive occasion. [150]

The tributes continue to the present day. On January 4, 2013, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority spoke at a celebration of the anniversary of the founding of the Fatah party and praised “the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husseini,” describing him as a “martyr” and a “pioneer.” [151] (This is akin to a German chancellor in 2013 praising Adolf Hitler as a “martyr” and “pioneer.”)

Praising and emulating the Mufti continues in other ways as well. Palestinian leaders across the ideological spectrum and Islamists of all stripes and nationalities continue to use the vitriolic, paranoid, antisemitic rhetoric of the Grand Mufti, including frequent incitement to genocide. [152] For example, at a rally commemorating the anniversary of the founding of Fatah, held in January 2012, the current Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein, the highest Muslim religious official in the Palestinian Authority, appointed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, was introduced with these words: “Our war with the descendants of apes and pigs is a war of religion and faith.” The current Mufti proceeded to quote a saying of Muhammad which was one of Hajj Amin’s favorites: “The Hour [of resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or trees will call: O Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” This event was broadcast on Palestinian Authority TV. In his sermons at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the current Mufti has been known to describe the Jews as “enemies of Allah.” [153] In May 2013, Mufti Muhammad Hussein accused the Israeli authorities of planning to build a Jewish temple on the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque—another of al-Husseini’s stock accusations against the Jews. [154] On July 24, 2014, in an interview on PA TV, Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub said that it was the behavior of the Jews that led the Nazis to massacre them. [155] On March 12, 2013, Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki spoke on the official Palestinian Authority TV channel, as follows: “Those Israelis have no religion and no principles. They are nothing but advanced tools for evil….in my view, Allah will gather them so that we can kill them.” [156] On May 13, 2005, the official Palestinian Authority TV station aired a Friday mosque sermon by Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris in which he argued that throughout history, rulers, including Hitler, have had to expel the Jews because of their corruption and that the Jews are a virus resembling AIDS. [157] In January 2013 and in November 2014, the official PA television station ran a “documentary” that made the following statement, echoing the Mufti’s 1937 “Proclamation to the Muslim World”:

Faced with the Jews’ schemes, Europe could not bear their character traits, monopolies, corruption, and control… (In 1290 King Edward I issued a decree banishing the Jews [from England].) Following him were France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Spain, and Italy. The European nations felt that they had suffered a tragedy by providing refuge for the Jews. Later the Jews obtained the Balfour Declaration, and Europe saw it as an ideal solution to get rid of them. [158]

The Palestinian group that most clearly reflects the world-view of Hajj Amin al-Husseini is Hamas, the name taken in 1987 by the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hajj Amin belonged to the Brotherhood and actively supported it throughout his life. [159] As German political scientist Matthias Küntzel has pointed out, Hamas is truly the ideological heir to Hajj Amin al-Husseini in the Palestinian community. [160] The Hamas Covenant or Charter (1988) is replete with the antisemitic themes emphasized by Hajj Amin: Palestine is a sacred Islamic endowment (waqf) that belongs only to Muslims and every inch must be liberated from the Zionists (articles 11, 14, 15); there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by jihad; peace talks and international conferences are “a waste of time and a farce” (article 13); there is an international Jewish conspiracy, comprising the Freemasons and the Rotary and Lions Clubs, that controls the world media and finance. This group was the cause of both world wars and the collapse of the Islamic Caliphate, controls the UN, and is behind all wars wherever they occur (articles 17, 22, 28, 32); the Zionist plan knows no limits and seeks to conquer from the Nile to the Euphrates and beyond (article 32); the Zionist conspiracy is behind all types of trafficking in drugs and alcohol and aims “to break societies, undermine values,…create moral degeneration, and destroy Islam” (article 28). The Hamas Covenant cites the hadith about killing the Jews hiding behind rocks and trees that al-Husseini included in his 1937 appeal to the Muslim world (article 7). It also invokes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (article 32). [161] Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar has asserted in speeches and in a book that the Jews have deserved and provoked all the persecutions and expulsions that they have suffered, e.g. at the hands of the Egyptian Pharaoh, European Christians, and Adolf Hitler. Al-Zahar has the following message for the Jews: “There is no place for you among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed for annihilation.” [162]

The claim that the Jews deserved the Holocaust has in fact become common among Islamists. [163] Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, “easily one of the most admired and best-known representatives of Sunni Islam today,” [164] regarded as the highest religious authority by Hamas and the global Muslim Brotherhood, [165] has also asserted that Hitler meted out divinely sanctioned punishment upon the Jews and has called for Muslims to impose a similar punishment, calling openly for genocide (“kill them, down to the very last one”). [166] Qaradawi has also said that the Jews of today bear responsibility for their forefathers’ crime against Jesus. [167] He has presented detailed Islamic legal justification for indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians, in effect, a shariah-based case for genocide. [168] In 2010, on official Hamas television, Hamas Deputy Minister for Religious Endowments, Abdallah Jarbu, denied the humanity of the Jews, described them as microbes, and called upon Allah to “annihilate this filthy people who have neither religion nor conscience.” [169] Writer Mukhlis Barzaq, a member of Hamas, stated that the fate of the Jews should be “complete killing, total extermination and eradicating perdition.” Even in Hamas’ children’s publication, al-Fatih, one may find the prayer: “O God, exterminate the Jews the tyrannical usurpers.” [170] On May 2, 2014, a children’s program on official Hamas television featured the host interviewing a little girl who said she wished to be a police officer when she grows up, “so that I can shoot Jews.” The host responded: “All the Jews? All of them?” She replied: “Yes.” The host remarked: “Good.” [171] In her study of Hamas leaflets published in its first five years (1987–1992), Esther Webman notes many themes that also may be found in the writings and speeches of Hajj Amin al-Husseini. [172] Many more examples of extreme Jew-hatred from Hamas officials and media outlets could be adduced, including incitement of genocide. [173]

IV. Post-1945 Germany and the Arab World: A Comparition

After the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945, West German society began a painful and ongoing process of self-examination and self-criticism, referred to in German as Vergangenheitsbewältigung, roughly translatable as “overcoming the past.” It means dealing honestly with the past in order to do better in the future. [174] German politicians, teachers, scholars, journalists, and religious leaders came to understand the importance of fighting traditional negative stereotypes of Jews, Gypsies and other minority groups. They insisted upon rigorous standards of evidence in journalism and academic research in order to avoid irrational conspiracy theories and took students to concentration camps, which were preserved as memorials and museums. The teaching of history in German schools did not evade an honest presentation of a shameful past. One may fault the de-Nazification process for not going far enough, but at the very least, the ex-Nazis who survived the war and went on to make successful careers in German society could no longer openly espouse Nazi ideas. If they did so, they faced exposure and ostracism.

Historian Jeffrey Herf has noted a striking contrast between Arab and German societies after 1945. He points out the example of ex-Nazi official Kurt Georg Kiesinger, who resumed his career and even became the chancellor of West Germany in 1966. Herf notes that “his success as a politician presupposed that he had publicly abandoned his convictions of the Nazi era and did not advocate either violent anti-Semitism or dictatorship.” In contrast, according to Herf, “after the war Haj Amin el-Husseini, unlike Kiesinger, did not change his views. Moreover, he did not have to change them as a precondition for continued political prominence.” [175] More important, Palestinian, Arab and Islamic societies obviously saw nothing wrong with his persona or his world-view. [176] In fact, Rubin and Schwanitz note that after World War II the Middle East was the region that was most receptive to Nazis fleeing prosecution in Europe. Some four thousand Nazis found refuge there, while between 180 and 800 escaped to Latin America. Only in the Middle East were Nazis “able to continue their careers in government, the military, and propaganda work” [177] without renouncing their past or changing their opinions. Hajj Amin was not an exception.

The Palestinians mentioned in the opening paragraph of this article may not share the world-view of Hamas and Hajj Amin al-Husseini, but their dishonesty or ignorance regarding Arab and Palestinian history is symptomatic of a society that neither grasps the vital importance of Vergangenheitsbewältigung nor undertakes the hard work that it entails. The following examples show the difficulty of facing the past in Arab society:

• Hamas won the Palestinian Authority elections in 2006 and continues to have great support in Palestinian society despite (or because of ?) its violent Jew-hatred and complete rejection of peaceful compromise with Israel. As of July 2014, 35 percent of the residents of the West Bank and Gaza had a favorable opinion of Hamas (and 32 percent in Lebanon, 39 percent in Jordan, 38 percent in Egypt). [178] While these figures do not represent a majority, they indicate a large minority. (By comparison, 35 percent of American voters identify as Democrats and 28 percent as Republicans.) [179] According to public opinion polls in late August 2014, Hamas actually was favored to win both presidential and parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories. Moreover, a majority of West Bankers support the use of the violent methods of Hamas in Gaza in the West Bank as well. [180] As of late September 2014, polls continued to show a Hamas lead over Fatah in both hypothetical presidential and legislative elections. [181] This may be compared to polls showing the Nazi Party winning elections in Germany in August and September 2014. [182] Hamas leaders remain honored guests in Muslim countries such as Turkey and Qatar. Indeed, according to Ely Karmon, “ever since Turkey invited the Hamas leadership to Ankara back in 2006, Turkey’s leadership has neither criticized Hamas’ violent activities nor succeeded in influencing its strategy, whilst protesting loudly Israel’s retaliatory actions.” [183] In the fall of 2012, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal attended the annual convention of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party in Ankara, where he received a standing ovation. [184]

• The Muslim Brotherhood won the elections in Egypt after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. Its teachings are an amalgam of totalitarian, anti-Western and antisemitic ideas and its website published the statement in May 2011: “All the nations have dealt with the [Jewish] character in the same manner: by excising this tumor that has harmed all of humanity.” [185]

• Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi continues to attract a large audience throughout the Muslim world and his popular show (boasting 60 million viewers) [186] on the Al Jazeera network called upon Muslims to punish the Jews as Hitler did, and invoked Allah to “kill them, down to the very last one.”

• In the same January 2013 speech honoring Hajj Amin al-Husseini as a “pioneer,” PA President Mahmoud Abbas also praised two of the original founders of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Abd al-Aziz Rantisi, as well as the founder of the Iranian-aligned Islamic Jihad, Fathi Shikaki as “our fortunate martyrs.” [187] On March 2, 2012, Abbas, who frequently is called a moderate, was asked how there could be true reconciliation between Hamas and his Fatah party if one of the parties does not change its ideology. Abbas answered that there are no ideological differences between them. [188] Indeed, the various “reconciliation” agreements between Hamas and Fatah have never required Hamas to alter its ideology or propaganda.

• In 2014, Professor Mohammed Dajani of Al-Quds University visited Auschwitz with a group of Palestinian and Israeli students as part of an effort to foster Israeli-Palestinian understanding. (The Israeli students also visited Palestinian refugee camps.) As a consequence of his visit to Auschwitz, Professor Dajani was subjected to abuse, intimidation, and death threats from his fellow Palestinians, and resigned from his university post. [189] If this is what happens to a Palestinian educator who merely tries to teach about Nazi war crimes, what would happen to one who spoke honestly about Palestinian and Arab complicity in the Holocaust? The treatment of Professor Dajani is not surprising. As Robert Wistrich has noted, “Palestinians and other Arabs have rarely if ever criticized the Mufti’s complicity in the Holocaust.” [190]


This paper has presented sufficient evidence to refute the common Palestinian argument, stated by Omar Barghouti, that “Palestinians—and Arabs more generally—bear no responsibility whatsoever for the Holocaust.” In fact, we have shown that Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the most influential and popular leader among the Palestinian Arabs from 1920 through 1949, played an important role in the Holocaust that in no way diminished his standing among the Arab and Palestinian masses after 1945. Had Rommel defeated the British in Egypt in 1942, or had Hajj Amin al-Husseini sufficient forces to defeat the Zionists in 1947–1948, there is no question that many Palestinian Arabs would have participated in a massacre of the Jews of Palestine.

Moreover, the widespread adoption of Hajj Amin al-Husseini’s antisemitic rhetoric by Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim leaders shows another kind of complicity in the Holocaust. When Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders say that Hitler gave the Jews the punishment they deserved, they are vicariously participating in and endorsing the Holocaust. When they deny the humanity of the Jews, or refer to Jews as sub-humans (“brothers of pigs and monkeys,” “microbes”), or identify the Jews as the source of all corruption on earth, or assert that the Jews are out to destroy Islam, they provide a warrant for genocide. Scholars of genocide note that dehumanizing language is one of the early stages of genocide. According to expert Gregory Stanton, “denial of the humanity of others is the step that permits killing with impunity.” [191] Stanton also observes that the Genocide Convention identifies incitement to commit genocide as a punishable offense alongside of genocide itself. [192] From Hajj Amin al-Husseini in the 1930s to the leaders of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood today, dehumanization of Jews and public incitement of genocide have become rhetorical staples of Palestinian and Arab society. Jeffrey Herf has pointed out that Hajj Amin al-Husseini’s world-view made him “a true comrade in arms and ideological soul mate” of Hitler. Their meeting on November 28, 1941 “was not a clash of civilizations but a meeting of hearts and minds, and a convergence from different starting points.” [193] The rhetoric of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood shows that these groups share the same world-view of al-Husseini that made the latter fond of Hitler. Hence, Hamas and the Brotherhood are also Hitler’s “ideological soul mates.” World-views matter: Hitler’s world-view led to war and genocide. [194] There is no reason to expect less from Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and similar Islamist groups (Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Iranian regime, Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, [195] etc.).

The fact that Germany largely overcame its Nazi past after 1945 was an essential step toward reassuring its neighbors that it was no longer a military threat and made it possible for Germany eventually to be integrated into NATO and the European Union, thereby ensuring the peace and security of the continent. Similarly, a more honest and self-critical approach to their own history and culture on the part of Palestinians and Arabs is a necessary condition for peace with their Jewish neighbors. The rhetoric of the Mufti in the 1930s and 1940s shows that Palestinian Arab hostility to the Zionist project was not based simply on a principled defense of the right of national self-determination but on a visceral hatred for Jews. The persistence of such hatred in Palestinian society has done much to undermine efforts at reconciliation and the “peace process” and has persuaded many Israeli Jews that they have no real partner for peace on the Palestinian side.

New York Times correspondent Steven Erlanger has noted perceptively that the war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza in 2014 “is really just another round in the unresolved Arab-Israeli War of 1948–49.” [196] If we pay careful attention to the ideology, rhetoric, and objectives of Israel’s enemy in Gaza, it is clear that they are identical to those of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the ideological soulmate of Adolf Hitler who led the Palestinians to war in 1948.


[1] Robert S. Wistrich, Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (New York: Schocken Books, 1991), 246–247.

[2] Omar Barghouti, BDS: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2011), 231.

[3] Jibril Rajoub, “The New Nazis Are Perpetrating a Holocaust in Gaza,” Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Clip No. 4385, July 24, 2014,

[4] Ian Black, “Palestinian professor: no regrets over taking students to Auschwitz,” Guardian, June 13, 2014,­resigns-students-auschwitz. For two additional examples, see: “Hamas, like all Palestinians, refuses to be made to pay for the criminals who perpetrated the Holocaust.” in: Azzam Tamimi, “Hamas Will Make A Deal,” Guardian, January 29, 2006,; and Ussama Makdisi, “Gun Zionism,” in: The Hill, September 4, 2014,

[5] Barghouti, BDS, 172.

[6] Ibid., 67.

[7] Zvi Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti: Haj Amin al-Hussaini, Founder of the Palestinian National Movement, trans. David Harvey, ed. Shmuel Himelstein (London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd., 1993), and idem, Through the Eyes of the Mufti: The Essays of Haj Amin, Translated and Annotated, trans. Rachel Kessel (London and Portland, Oregon: Vallentine Mitchell, 2009).

[8] Klaus Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis: The Berlin Years, trans. Alexander Fraser Gunn (London and Portland, Oregon: Vallentine Mitchell, 2011). It was first published in German as: Der Mufti und die Nationalsozialisten: Eine Politische Biographie Amin el-Husseinis (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2007).

[9] Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, Nazi Palestine: The Plans for the Extermination of the Jews in Palestine, trans. Krista Smith (New York: Enigma Books and the United States Holocaust Museum, 2010). It was first published in German as: Halbmond und Hakenkreuz: Das Dritte Reich, die Araber, und Palästina (Darmstadt: Wissenschftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2005); and Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, “Elimination of the Jewish National Home in Palestine: The Einsatzkommando of the Panzer Army Africa, 1942,” Yad Vashem Studies, 35 (2007): 111–142.

[10] Matthias Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism, and the Roots of 9/11, trans. Colin Meade (New York: Telos Press, 2007). It was first published in German as: Djihad und Judenhaβ: Űber: den neuen antijüdischen Krieg (Freiburg: Ca Ira, 2002).

[11] Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009; paperback edition 2010); and Jeffrey Herf, “Nazi Propaganda to the Arab World during World War II and the Rise of Islamism,” in: ed. Charles Asher Small, Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity, Volume IV: Islamism and the Arab World (New York: ISGAP, 2013), 81–90.

[12] Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Islam in Europa, Revolten in Mittelost: Islamismus und Genozid von Wilhelm II. Und Enver Pascha über Hitler und al-Husaini bis Arafat, Usama bin Ladin und Ahmadinejad sowie Gespräche mit Bernard Lewis (Berlin: trafo Wissenschaftsverlag, 2013).

[13] Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014).

[14] Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage Books, 1992). The name of Hajj Amin al-Husseini does not appear in the index of this book, nor is he mentioned or even alluded to anywhere in the text.

[15] Virginia Tilley, The One-State Solution (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005), 164–165.

[16] For discussion and critique of Gudrun Krämer’s views on al-Husseini, see: Schwanitz, Islam in Europa, Revolten in Mittelost, 314–319.

[17] On al-Husseini’s popularity across the Arab and Muslim worlds, see: Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 7, 10–11, 49, 56–57, 67, 76, 78–81, 102, 108, 117–118, 125, 131–132, 171– 173, 180; Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 240–244; Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 182–183. A US intelligence assessment of May 1941 reported that al-Husseini was seen throughout the Middle East as “the greatest leader of the Arab peoples now alive,” in: Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 6.

[18] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 1.

[19] Ibid., 2.

[20] Ibid., 7–15; cf. Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 8–14.

[21] Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 13.

[22] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 34–35.

[23] Ibid., 41–42.

[24] Ibid., 44–46; Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010), 32–33; Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), 408–409.

[25] Morris, 1948, 408. See also: I. A. Abbady, “Will Massacre All Zionists, Said Mufti 30 Years Ago,” New York Post, December 29, 1947.

[26] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 5–7.

[27] Ibid., 15–16. See also: Wistrich, Antisemitism, 244.

[28] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 16–26.

[29] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 118.

[30] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 28.

[31] Ibid., 47–48. Bernard Lewis notes that the only European to attend the Bludan conference was, significantly, a German. Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice (New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1999), 148.

[32] Elie Kedourie, “The Bludan Conference on Palestine, September 1937,” Middle Eastern Studies, 17 (1981), 107–125, especially 108.

[33] Herf, “Nazi Propaganda to the Arab World during World War II and the Emergence of Islamism.” See also: Herf, “Preface to the Paperback Edition” of Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, ix-xvii.

[34] Matthias Küntzel, “Das Erbe des Mufti,” Tribune: Zeitschrift zum Verständnis des Judentums, 46 (2007): 151–158. Also available on the author’s website:

[35] Hajj Amin al-Husseini, “Proclamation of the Grand Mufti to the Islamic World in 1937,” in: Andrew G. Bostom, The Mufti’s Islamic Jew-Hatred: What the Nazis Learned from the “Muslim Pope” (Washington DC: Bravura Books, 2013), 25. This book provides a complete English translation of the Mufti’s proclamation from the German text and annotations tracing its specific components to various elements of the Islamic tradition.

[36] Ibid., 25–26.

[37] Ibid., 26.

[38] Ibid., 26.

[39] Ibid., 31.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid., 32.

[43] Matthias Küntzel, “Das Erbe des Mufti,” 153.

[44] Dr. Mohamed Sabry, Islam-Judentum-Bolschewismus (Berlin: Juncker und Dünnhaupt Verlag, 1938). See: pp. 22–32 for the Mufti’s “Proclamation” (“Islam-Judentum: Aufruf des Grossmufti an die Islamische Welt im Jahre 1937”).

[45] Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, x-xi, “Preface to the Paperback Edition.”

[46] See: Haggai Ben-Shammai, “Jew-Hatred in the Islamic Tradition and the Koranic Exegesis,” in: ed. Shmuel Almog and trans. Nathan H. Reisner, Antisemitism Through the Ages (Oxford: Pergamon Press and the Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1988), 161–169; Robert S. Wistrich, Antisemitism, 195– 267 and Muslim Anti-Semitism: A Clear and Present Danger (New York: The American Jewish Committee, 2002),; Georges Vajda, “Jews and Muslims according to the Hadith,” in: ed. Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism (Amherst NY: Prometheus Books, 2008), 235–160; Menahem Milson, “Arab and Islamic Antisemitism,” Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Inquiry and Analysis Series, Report No. 442, May 27, 2008,; Joseph S. Spoerl, “Muhammad and the Jews According to Ibn Ishaq,” Levantine Review, 2 (2013), 84–103,

[47] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 95; cf. 159, 253. Cf. Schwanitz, Islam in Europa, Revolten in Mittelost, 411. Neil J. Kressel accurately observes that “far from being a by-product of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Jew-hatred has roots in the long history and complex theology of Islam.” Neil J. Kressel, “The Sons of Pigs and Apes”: Muslim Antisemitism and the Conspiracy of Silence (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2012), 1.

[48] Tilley, The One-State Solution, 203.

[49] Ibid., 162.

[50] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 56.

[51] Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 48–52; Mallmann and Cüppers, Nazi Palestine, 66–68; Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 56–63; Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, 150.

[52] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 60.

[53] Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 50.

[54] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 61–62; Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 51. See also: “The Report of the Iraqi Commission of Inquiry on the Farhud” (1941), in: Norman Stillman, Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1991), 405–417.

[55] Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred, 28.

[56] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 97.

[57] Mallmann and Cüppers, Nazi Palestine, 63.

[58] Ibid., 64. See also: Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, 157.

[59] Mallmann and Cüppers, Nazi Palestine, 64.

[60] Ibid., 65–68.

[61] Ibid., 65. See also: Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 48.

[62] Mallmann and Cüppers, Nazi Palestine, 69.

[63] Ibid., 75, 126–127.

[64] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 38–39. See also: Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 199.

[65] Mallmann and Cüppers, Nazi Palestine, 75.

[66] Ibid., 74–75; Schwanitz, Islam in Europa, Revolten in Mittelost, 149.

[67] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 6.

[68] Ibid., 161.

[69] Ibid., 161, and Schwanitz, Islam in Europa, Revolten in Mittelost, 146.

[70] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 160; Schwanitz, Islam in Europa, Revolten in Mittelost, 146–150.

[71] Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 77–78; Wistrich, Antisemitism, 245–246.

[72] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 162; Schwanitz, Islam in Europa, Revolten in Mittelost, 154–159.

[73] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 160.

[74] Mallmann and Cüppers, Nazi Palestine, 116–117.

[75] Ibid., 118–119.

[76] Ibid., 118.

[77] Ibid., 124–125.

[78] Ibid., 133–134; cf. 132–139, 160, 163–164.

[79] Ibid., 126–127.

[80] Ibid., 129; Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 163.

[81] Mallmann and Cüppers, Nazi Palestine, 130; Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 169, note no. 54.

[82] Mallmann and Cüppers, Nazi Palestine, 154–166.

[83] Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 185–186, 197, 213, and passim.

[84] Ibid., 213.

[85] Ibid., 106.

[86] Ibid., 184.

[87] Ibid., 185.

[88] Ibid., 187.

[89] Martin Gilbert, In Ishmael’s House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010), 235. See also: Maurice M. Roumani, “The Silent Refugees: Jews from Arab Countries,” Mediterranean Quarterly 14 (2003): 41–77; Adi Schwartz, “A Tragedy Shrouded in Silence: The Destruction of the Arab World’s Jewry,” Azure, 45 (Summer 2011), 47–79; Norman Stillman, Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times, 141–180.

[90] Gilbert, In Ishmael’s House, 330–331.

[91] Schwanitz, Islam in Europa, Revolten in Mittelost, 197.

[92] Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 132–158.

[93] Ibid., 117–129. Cf. Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, 155–156.

[94] Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 118, 125.

[95] Ibid., 123. See also: Schwanitz, Islam in Europa, Revolten in Mittelost, 176, 180–184; Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, 157; and Wistrich, Antisemitism, 246.

[96] Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 122.

[97] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 197; Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 233–234.

[98] Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 239.

[99] Ibid., 241.

[100] Ibid.

[101] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 180.

[102] Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, 160.

[103] Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 242.

[104] Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 182.

[105] Meir Litvak and Esther Webman, From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 297.

[106] Gudrun Krämer, “Anti-Semitism in the Muslim World: A Critical Review,” Die Welt des Islams, 46 (2006), 243–276, especially 263. See also: Gudrun Krämer, Hasan al-Banna (Oxford: Oneworld, 2010), p. 77.

[107] Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 243–244 (al-Banna’s praise) and 239–240 (pogroms).

[108] Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred, 36–37, 48.

[109] Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 182–183; Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 240; Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 83.

[110] Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 23.

[111] Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 183. On the Mufti’s refusal to compromise over Palestine, see also: Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 192–200; and Morris, 1948, 408–409.

[112] Morris, 1948, 408–409.

[113] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 200–201.

[114] Cited in Efraim Karsh, Fabricating Israeli History, second revised edition (London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2000), 74–75.

[115] David Barnett and Efraim Karsh, “Azzam’s Genocidal Threat,” Middle East Quarterly, 18 (2011), 85–88.

[116] Morris, 1948, 490, note no. 19.

[117] Ibid., 397, 399.

[118] Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 183–184.

[119] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 199.

[120] Morris, 1948, 400–401; cf. Anita Shapira, Israel: A History (Waltham MA: Brandeis University Press, 2012), 163.

[121] Barghouti presumably has in mind “Plan D” (tochnit dalet), the Haganah’s plan for handling the threatened pan-Arab invasion. Palestinian and pro-Palestinian historians often allege that this was a blueprint for wholesale ethnic cleansing, but it was not. See: Shapira, Israel: A History, 161; Morris, 1948, 120–121; Martin Gilbert, Israel: A History (New York: Harper Perennial, 2008), 166–167; Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010), 235–237.

[122] Morris, 1948, 406.

[123] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 99–100.

[124] Ibid., 102.

[125] Ibid., 104.

[126] Ibid., 110.

[127] Ibid., 124–125.

[128] Ibid., 129–131.

[129] Ibid., 131–132.

[130] Elpeleg, Through the Eyes of the Mufti, 26.

[131] Ibid., 24; cf. 99, 147.

[132] Ibid., 102.

[133] Ibid., 101.

[134] Ibid., 150–151.

[135] Ibid., 125–126. The Mufti repeatedly asserts that the Jews wish to conquer the whole Middle East: cf. ibid., 25, 103–104, 130, 148, 152. See also: Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, 155.

[136] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 133–137.

[137] Ibid., 137.

[138] Ibid., 137.

[139] Ibid., 141.

[140] Ibid., 150–151.

[141] Ibid., 154.

[142] Ibid., 155.

[143] Ibid., 162.

[144] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 237.

[145] Ibid., 237. See note no. 7 on p. 319 and the photo on p. 238 for the archival source.

[146] Ibid., 239–241.

[147] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, photo opposite 129, and 162–163.

[148] Ibid., 163.

[149] Ibid., 162–163.

[150] Ibid., 164.

[151] “PA President ‘Abbas Commemorates ‘Martyrs’ From Fatah, Hamas, Other Factions— Including WWII Nazi Ally Grand Mufti Hajj Muhammad Amin Al-Husseini and Mandate-Era Terrorist Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 5127, January 9, 2013,

[152] See: Wistrich, Muslim Anti-Semitism, and Kressel, “The Sons of Pigs and Apes,” as well as the data-bases of Palestinian Media Watch,, and the Middle East Media Research Center, MEMRI,, for numerous examples. See also: Itamar Marcus, “Kill a Jew—Go to Heaven: The Perception of the Jew in Palestinian Society,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 17:3–4 (2005),; and Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Deception: Betraying the Peace Process ( Jerusalem: Palestinian Media Watch, 2011).

[153] Marcus and Zilberdik, “PA Mufti: Muslims’ destiny is to kill Jews,” Palestinian Media Watch, January 15, 2012,

[154] Palestinian Media Watch, “PA Personalities: PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein,”

[155] “Jibril Rajoub: The New Nazis are Perpetrating a Holocaust in Gaza,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 4385, July 24, 2014, clip/en/4385.htm.

[156] “Fatah Central Committee Member Abbas Zaki: Allah Will Gather the Israelis So We Can Kill Them,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 4191, March 12, 2014,

[157] “Palestinian Friday Sermon by Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris: Muslims Will Rule America and Britain, Jews Are a Virus Resembling Aids,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 669, May 13, 2005,

[158] Marcus and Zilberdik, “Antisemitic ‘documentary’ demonizes Jews on PA TV,” Palestinian Media Watch, November 17, 2014,

[159] Elpeleg, The Grand Mufti, 115, 120, 124–128; Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 240–254; Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred, 36–37, 44–46, 48, 52, 58; Gensicke, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, 190.

[160] Matthias Küntzel, “Das Erbe des Mufti,” 158.

[161] “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement—Hamas,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series No. 1092, February 14, 2006, Azzam Tamimi argues that the Covenant no longer reflects the thinking of most Hamas leaders. See: Azzam Tamimi, Hamas: A History from Within, second ed. (Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2011), 147–156. This claim should be rejected as false because Hamas has had 26 years to revoke or revise the Covenant and has done neither. Statements from Hamas leaders and official Hamas media outlets in Arabic continue to echo the Covenant, especially its paranoid antisemitism (see below). Tamimi’s assertion is based entirely upon interviews he conducted with major Hamas leaders, who knew that he was writing a book in English for a Western audience. It is clear from the evidence submitted by the U.S. government prosecutors in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial that Hamas leaders practice deliberate deception when addressing Western audiences, invoking Muhammad’s saying that “war is deception” as their justification. See: Lorenzo Vidino, The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 177–186. Azzam Tamimi is at least an ardent supporter of Hamas and probably also a member of Hamas. See: A. Pashut, “Dr. Azzam Al-Tamimi: A Political-Ideological Brief,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Inquiry and Analysis Series, MEMRI, Report No. 163, February 19, 2004, Therefore, Tamimi’s book and the interviews on which it is based are manifestations of a strategy of deliberate deception. They should not to be taken at face value. An additional piece of evidence is the statement by Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar that Hamas “will not change a single word in its covenant,” in: Matthew Levitt, Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006), 248.

[162] “Hamas Leader Mahmoud al-Zahar Justifies Persecution of Jews in History and Promises that Jews ‘Are Headed to Annihilation,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 3373, November 12, 2010,; “Hamas senior Mahmoud al-Zahar has recently given a vicious anti-Semitic speech to justify the elimination of Israel and the deportation of Jews from the ‘entire territory of Palestine.’ The speech contains themes reminiscent of those found in Al-Zahar’s anti-Semitic book, No Future Between Nations, found on board the Mavi Marmara,” Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, November 11, 2010,

[163] Meir Litvak and Esther Webman, From Empathy to Denial, 193–214.

[164] Bettina Gräf and Jakob Skovgaard Petersen, Global Mufti: The Phenomenon of Yusuf al-Qaradawi (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 1.

[165] Husam Tammam, “Yusuf Qaradawi and the Muslim Brothers: The Nature of a Special Relationship,” in: Gräf and Petersen, Global Mufti: The Phenomenon of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, 55–83. On Qaradawi’s authority specifically within Hamas, see: Martin Kramer, “Hamas: ‘Glocal’ Islamism,” in: Noah Pollack ed., Iran’s Race for Regional Supremacy: Strategic Implications for the Middle East ( Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2008), 71,

[166] “Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi On Al-Jazeera Incites Against Jews, Arab Regimes, and the U.S.; Calls on Muslims to Boycott Starbucks and Others; Says ‘Oh Allah, Take This Oppressive, Jewish, Zionist Band of People…And Kill Them, Down to the Very Last One,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 2183, January 12, 2009,; “Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Allah Imposed Hitler Upon the Jews to Punish Them—‘Allah Willing, the Next Time Will Be at the Hand of the Believers,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 2005, February 1, 2009, en/2005.htm.

[167] “Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradhawi: The Jews of Today Bear Responsibility for their Forefathers’ Crime Against Jesus,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 1249, August 26, 2006,

[168] “Al-Qaradhawi Speaks In Favor of Suicide Operations at an Islamic Conference in Sweden,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 542, July 24, 2003, See also: Joseph S. Spoerl, “Hamas, Islam, and Israel,” The Journal of Conflict Studies, 26 (2006), 3–15,

[169] “Hamas Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments: Jews are Bacteria, Not Human Beings,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 2415, February 28, 2010, See also: “Deputy Hamas Minister of Religious Endowments Abdallah Jarbu’: Only a Madman Would Think Jews Are Human,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 2430, March 19, 2010,

[170] Meir Litvak, “The Anti-Semitism of Hamas,” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics, and Culture, 12:2–3 (2005),

[171] Marcus and Zilberdik, “Hamas to kids: Shoot all the Jews,” Palestinian Media Watch, May 5, 2014,

[172] Esther Webman, Anti-Semitic Motifs in the Ideology of Hizballah and Hamas (Tel Aviv: The Project for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Tel Aviv University, 1993), 17–22.

[173] “Article on Hamas Website: Our War Against the Occupation is A Religious War Against the Descendants of Apes and Pigs,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 5885, November 18, 2014, report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/8230.htm; “Former Jordanian MP Abd Al-Mun’im Abu Zant: Jews Permit Cannibalism, Use Human Blood in Passover Matzos,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 4498, September 2, 2014, http://www.memritv. org/clip/en/4498.htm; “Preacher on Hamas TV: The Jews are the Enemies of Mankind,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 4477, August 31, 2014,; “Hamas Sermon: We Pledged Before The Commanders Of The Jihad To Die For The Sake Of Allah; We Have Gathered The Zionists From All Corners Of The Globe So That It Will Be Easier To Slaughter And Kill Them,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 4442, August 22, 2014,; Itamar Marcus, “Hamas TV: Every Muslim mother ‘must nurse her children on hatred of the sons of Zion,’” Palestinian Media Watch, August 3, 2014,; “Top Hamas Official Osama Hamdan: Jews Use Blood for Passover Matzos,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 4384, July 28, 2014, http://www.memritv. org/clip_transcript/en/4384.htm; “Hamas Sermon from the Gaza Strip: Our Doctrine Entails Exterminating the Jews,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 4376, July 25, 2014,; “Editor of Hamas Paper: Murder of Palestinian Teen in Jerusalem Reminiscent of Jews’ Custom of Baking Matzos With Blood,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 5788, July 3, 2014,; “Hamas MP Al-Astal: We Must Massacre Jews, Impose Jizya Poll Tax on Them,” Middle East Media Research Institute,” MEMRI, Clip No. 4202, March 6, 2014, http://www.; “Former Hamas Official: In the Past, the Jews Slaughtered Christian Children on Passover; Today They Torment and Kill Palestinians Instead,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 5295, May 6, 2013,; “San Antonio, Texas-Based Iraqi Cleric Qays Bin Khalil Al-Kalbi on Hamas TV Station: God Chose the Jews to be Apes and Pigs, Slayers of Prophets,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 5203, February 27, 2013,; “Advisor To Hamas Government In Gaza: Israel Must Disappear,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 5000, October 11, 2012,; “Hamas MP Marwan Abu Ras: The Jews Are Behind Every Catastrophe on Earth,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 3598, September 12, 2012, transcript/en/3598.htm; “Hamas Official Ahmad Bahr Preaches for the Annihilation of Jews and Americans,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 3538, August 10, 2012,; “Egyptian Cleric Salah Sultan: People Worldwide ‘Thirst for the Blood of the Jews,’” Middle East Research Institute, MEMSRI, Clip No. 3523, July 27–August 3, 2012, http://www.; “Hamas MP Sheikh Yunis Al-Astal: Allah Punished the Jews throughout history and Will Use the Islamic Nation to Punish Them Again,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 3484, June 12, 2012,; “Hamas Preacher in Gaza Sermon Cites Antisemitic Hadith and Calls: Death to the Jews and to America,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch No. 4344, MEMRI, December 8, 2011,; “Hamas Preacher from Khan Yunis, Gaza: Al-Aqsa Cannot Remain under the Control of ‘Apes and Pigs,’ ‘Asses carrying Books,’ and ‘Panting Dogs,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 3347, February 24, 2012,; “Deputy Speaker of Hamas Parliament Ahmad Bahr: We Will Sweep the Siblings of Pigs and Apes out of Our Land,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 3146, September 23, 2011,; “92-Year-Old Palestinian Woman in a Right-of-Return Demonstration On Hamas TV: Palestinians Should Massacre the Jews Like We Massacred Them in Hebron,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 3841, May 16, 2011,; “Hamas MP and Cleric Yunis Al-Astal: The Jews Were Brought to Palestine for the ‘Great Massacre’ through which Allah Will ‘Relieve Humanity of Their Evil,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch No. 3840, MEMRI, May 16, 2011, en/2934.htm; “Osama Hamdan, Head of the Hamas Foreign Liaisons: Armed Confrontation Will Continue to Be ‘the Backbone of the Resistance,’ the Israelis Must Return to Their Countries of Origin,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 2949, May 4, 2011,; “Former Hamas Minister of Culture ‘Atallah Abu Al-Subh: ‘The Jews Are the Most Despicable and Contemptible Nation to Crawl upon the Face of the Earth,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 2897, April 8, 2011, http://www.; “Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad: The Americans and the Jews Are Abhorred Worldwide; The Americans Are Led by the Jews, ‘Outcasts Who Live Off Corruption and Plundering,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 2734, December 14, 2010, http://www.memritv. org/clip_transcript/en/2734.htm; “On Hamas TV Friday Sermon: Calls to Annihilate the Jews, Who Are Compared to Dogs,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 2080, April 3, 2009,; “Hamas Cleric Muhsen Abu ‘Ita: The Annihilation of the Jews in Palestine One of the Most Splendid Blessings for Palestine,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 1877, July 13, 2008,; “Speaker of Palestinian Legislative Council Ahmad Bahr Refers to Jews as ‘Brothers of Pigs and Apes,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 1553, August 21, 2007,; “Acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Sheik Ahmad Bahr from Hamas, Declared during a Friday Sermon at a Sudan Mosque that America and Israel Will Be Annihilated and Called upon Allah to kill the Jews and Americans ‘to the Very Last One,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 1426, April 13, 2007, ; Steven Erlanger, “In Gaza, Hamas’ Insults to Jews Complicate Peace,” New York Times, April 1, 2008,; Matthew Levitt, Hamas, 110–111, 125–126, 132, 134, 137, 141; Anti-Defamation League, “Hamas in their own Words,” May 2, 2011,


[175] Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, xi-xii (Preface to the 2010 paperback edition).

[176] Recent polling data confirms extremely high levels of anti-Jewish prejudice across the Islamic and Arab worlds: Pew Research Center, Global Attitudes Project, July 21, 2011, “Muslim-Western Tensions Persist: Common Concerns About Islamic Extremism” (see especially pp. 42–43 of the pdf ), Between July 2013 and February 2014, the ADL conducted a world-wide survey of anti-Semitic attitudes which found anti-Jewish prejudice to be greatest in the Middle East and North Africa, where 75 percent of the respondents agreed that “people hate Jews because of the way they behave,” Surveys also indicate very low levels of support in Arab countries for the basic civil liberties that are essential to liberal democracy (because of adherence to shariah). See: Arno Tausch, “A Look at International Survey Data about Arab Opinion,” Middle East Review of International Affairs, 17 (2013), 57–74,; Pew Research Center, Religion and Public Life Project, “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics, and Society,” April 30, 2013,; Pew Research Center, Global Attitudes Project, “Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah, Most Embrace a Role for Islam in Politics,” December 2, 2010 (especially pp. 31, 35 of pdf ),; “Muslim Public Opinion on US Policy, Attacks on Civilians, and al Qaeda,” April 24, 2007,, Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland (especially pp. 15, 21, 22 of pdf ),

[177] Rubin and Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 209. See also: Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, 160.

[178] Pew Research Center, “Concerns about Islamic Extremism on the Rise in Middle East, Negative Opinions of al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah Widespread,” July 1, 2014,

[179] Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, “A Closer Look at the Parties in 2012, GOP Makes Big Gains among White Working-Class Voters,” August 23, 2012,

[180] “Special Gaza War Poll,” Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, September 2, 2014,

[181] “Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 53,” Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, September 29, 2014,

[182] See: Joseph S. Spoerl, “Hamas: An Islamic Nazi Party,” New English Review, September 2014,

[183] Ely Karmon, “Drama, but not yet a reconciliation: Israel and Turkey,” Haaretz, March 27, 2013,­and-turkey-1.511951.

[184] Tim Arango, “Turkey and Egypt Seek Alliance Amid Upheaval of Arab Spring,” New York Times, October 19, 2012, .

[185] B. Chernitsky, “Antisemitic and Anti-Israel Articles on Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Website,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Inquiry and Analysis Series Report, MEMRI, No. 785, January 13, 2012,; on the illiberal aspects of MB ideology, see: Joseph S. Spoerl, “What a Muslim Brotherhood State Looks Like,” New English Review, June 2013,; Joseph S. Spoerl, “The World View of Hasan al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood,” New English Review, December 2012,

[186] Alexander Smoltczyk, “Islam’s Spiritual ‘Dear Abby’: The Voice of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” Der Spiegel, February 15, 2011, According to the New York Times, Qaradawi’s “program ‘Islamic Law and Life’ on Al Jazeera satellite television makes him about the most influential cleric among mainstream Sunni Muslims, the majority sect.” Neil MacFarquhar, “Muslim Scholars Increasingly Debate Unholy War,” New York Times, December 10, 2004, p. A1,

[187] “PA President ‘Abbas Commemorates ‘Martyrs’ From Fatah, Hamas, Other Factions— Including WWII Nazi Ally Grand Mufti Hajj Muhammad Amin Al-Husseini and Mandate-Era Terrorist Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No. 5127, January 9, 2013.

[188] “PA President Mahmoud Abbas: There Are No Disagreements between Fatah and Hamas,” Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI, Clip No. 3352, March 2, 2012, See also: Marcus and Zilberdik, “Fatah: ‘One God, one homeland, one enemy, one goal’ unite Hamas, Fatah, and Islamic Jihad,” Palestinian Media Watch, July 9, 2014,

[189] Ian Black, “Palestinian professor: no regrets over taking students to Auschwitz,” Guardian, June 13, 2014,

[190] Wistrich, Antisemitism, 246. On the general failure of Arab and Palestinian writers to deal honestly with the career of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, see: Litvak and Webman, From Empathy to Denial, 297–307.

[191] Gregory H. Stanton, “The 8 Steps of Genocide,”

[192] Ibid.

[193] Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 76; cf. 154, 172.

[194] Eberhard Jäckel, Hitler’s Weltanschauung: A Blueprint for Power, trans. Herbert Arnold (Middletown CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1972).

[195] The centrality of antisemitism to contemporary Islamist ideology is illustrated by the November 2008 terrorist attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba in Mumbai, India. There are virtually no Jews in Pakistan, and there are few Jews in India. Jews have nothing to do with the historic tensions between India and Pakistan, and yet the Islamist terrorists went out of their way to target the Chabad-Lubavitch house in Mumbai, where they massacred the Jewish residents: See: Tufail Ahmad, “Pakistan’s Jewish Problem,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Inquiry and Analysis Series Report No. 676, MEMRI, March 13, 2011, Ahmad shows “how Pakistani opinion makers—barring a small segment of liberal intelligentsia— are deepening the anti-Jewish mindset that is typical across the Islamic world.”

[196] Steven Erlanger, “Gaza Conflict Is Just the Latest Round in a Long War,” New York Times, August 14, 2014,

Joseph S. Spoerl is professor of philosophy at Saint Anselm College.