Apologies to the Fuhrer

Netanyahu’s attempt to place the mufti at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shows just how bankrupt the extremists in Israel have become. It’s a declaration of all-out war on the Palestinian people. It’s ‘us or them.’

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Adolf Hitler, 1943.
Adolf Hitler, 1943.Credit: AP
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

One meeting changed the course of history, the meeting on November 28, 1941 between Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. The mufti convinced the leader of Nazi Germany, who only wanted to imprison the Jews in concentration camps, to exterminate them instead.

So our apologies, fuhrer, for having slandered you for the past 80 years, when the true enemy, the embodiment of evil, was actually the leader of the neighboring people — and not the Nazi killing machine, the concentration camps or the doctrine of racial purity. It was the Palestinian mufti. At long last we discover that the terrible atrocity was the handiwork of a leader whose people were under colonialist rule for 500 years — more than 90 percent of them illiterate, most of them peasant farmers whose homes had no electricity.

Now comes Benjamin Netanyahu with this grave accusation, shattering all the theories that tie Aryan race theory and the genocide to capitalist industrial development. On the other hand, those Palestinians, who Netanyahu has always insisted are not a people and thus have no right to a state, in fact constitute a superpower that affects the course of history — in the most negative way possible, of course. He needs to make up his mind: Are they a people or aren’t they? Are we talking about a great power or a random collection of individuals?

It’s true that the mufti does not come out looking well through the lens of history. He embraced the primitive idea that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Incidentally, there were Jews who embraced this way of thinking in their war against the British. And rather than set out a policy of national liberation that also comports with universal values, the mufti adopted a benighted position that did nothing to advance the Palestinian national interest.

Just the reverse, in fact — his words and deeds were a gift to groups that worked against the Palestinian national cause. The mufti gave them an excuse. If Haj Amin al-Husseini hadn’t appeared in Palestinian history, Netanyahu would have invented him. In the days of the British Mandate, there was a popular saying among the Zionist leadership: “Count on the mufti” — that is, to come out with some declaration that would justify an attack on the Palestinians.

But with all due respect to the mufti, he was just a man who was wanted by the British, who fled from place to place to avoid capture. And even when the British gave him permission to return to Palestine at the end of World War II, he opted to fight the Zionists from Cairo instead.

Netanyahu’s attempt to place the mufti at the center of the conflict shows just how bankrupt the extremists in Israel have become. How ready they are to gamble everything. It’s a declaration of all-out war on the Palestinian people. It’s “us or them.”

The territory into which Netanyahu is dragging us, Arabs and Jews alike, is terrible. Until now Israeli opposition figures Isaac Herzog, Yair Lapid and Shelly Yacimovich could use the pretext of the war on terror to justify their support for him. But that’s too dangerous now. Netanyahu is bringing a terrifying tsunami down upon us.

In conclusion, I have just one small request for the prime minister: Please, stop abusing us. We were expelled from my parents’ land in the village of Ma’alul. Most of my compatriots are refugees outside their homeland. And now you’re turning us into damned Nazis. Enough already. Can’t you find another people somewhere that you can harass?

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