Bibi Netanyahu has joined the Holocaust revisionists.
Relying on completely fictional "evidence," he made a speech which argued that ultimate responsibility for the murder of Europe's Jews belongs not to Adolf Hitler but to Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Al-Husseini was the leader of that era's Palestinian resistance movement against British imperialism. Bibi came perilously close to saying that those evil, evil Palestinians made
Hitler build death camps.
The best analysis of Netanyahu's mad remarks comes to us by way Josh Marshall
. Being a trained historian, he offers most of the necessary background details.
Marshall is, arguably, too harsh on al-Husseini, whose primary motivation was ridding his land of the British invaders, an honorable goal. True, the Grand Mufti fell into a very dishonorable alliance
. But can't the same be said of FDR, who joined forces with Stalin? Hellish partnerships were the order of the day.
Of course, Bibi's revisionist scenario is ridiculous on its face. Anyone who has done any reading on the matter knows that Hitler considered al-Husseini a racial inferior. Der Fuehrer
hid his contempt for the man only because the Grand Mufti was, for a brief period, politically useful. The idea that Hitler would seek advice from al-Husseini on an important matter is laughable.
Among pro-Israeli conspiracy researchers (yes, such people exist
), al-Husseini's name comes up whenever the plight of the Palestinian people is mentioned. It has become something akin to an autonomic response. If you say anything against Israel's policy of "mowing the lawn" in Gaza, you'll hear an exasperatingly irrelevant lecture about what al-Husseini did nearly three-quarters of a century ago.
Operation Cast Lead? Racist laws? Calls for ethnic cleansing? Justifiable! Why? Haj Amin al-Husseini -- THAT'S why!
What these people forget -- or rather, want us
to forget -- is that the Nazis often sought to align themselves with people who felt themselves to be the victims of British, American and Russian oppression. This Machiavellian strategy traded on the fact that many of those people had legitimate grievances. Al-Husseini was hardly alone.
The obvious example: India.
Subhas Chandra Bose was an Indian nationalist freedom fighter who, unlike Gandhi, felt that violence was both justifiable and effective. Like al-Husseini, Bose was unabashed about his pro-Nazi (and pro-Japanese) sympathies -- although he was also, paradoxically enough, an admirer of the USSR. There are several photos of Bose hobnobbing with Himmler, who no doubt considered Bose to be racially superior to a Semite like al-Husseini.
Yes, it is certainly fair to state that Bose spent the war years on the wrong side of the history. Does that fact mean that he was wrong to oppose British rule in India?
(Incidentally, the death of Subhas Chandra Bose in 1945 remains India's greatest political mystery. Some view it as their version of the JFK assassination.)
A second example: Ireland. This neocon blogger
offers documentation which -- he says -- demonstrates that the Irish Republican Army once favored the Nazi cause. I have not studied the issue but am willing to stipulate, for now, that the documents prove the case. So what? Should we argue that the IRA's cause was unjust simply because, many decades ago, the organization's leadership once made the foolish decision to befriend the enemy of an enemy?
A third example: North America.
Throughout the 1930s, there was a relatively popular American Nazi movement which aligned itself with the Klan and other nativist groups. This dark alliance is documented in a number of books; I would recommend the works of John Roy Carlson (Under Cover
and The Plotters
) and Charles Higham (American Swastika
and Trading With the Enemy
These domestic fascists championed a surprising cause: The American Indian.
The following passage comes from Wyn Craig Wade's history of the Ku Klux Klan, The Fiery Cross
. "Kuhn" refers to Fritz Julius Kuhn, leader of the German-American Bund in the 1930s. At the time, one of his goals was to insure that his organization was not perceived as a front group for a foreign power (which it was).
As a token gesture, he changed the "Sieg Heil!" salute to "Free America!" His next project was that of merging the Bund with some native American organization that would shield it from charges of being a "foreign" agency. Kuhn's fondest hope was to form an alliance between the Bund and the American Indian. He correctly reasoned that you couldn't get a more native American than the Indian; he also decided that they were "a type of true Aryan."
The Bund distributed reams of literature to Indian reservations, and Indians were always honored guests at Bund rallies. At Camp Nordland in New Jersey, Chief New Moon, who called himself "a full-fledged Nazi," was a very popular speaker; and if it can be believed, he often spoke on the urgent need for a Nazi-Indian "entente against Communism." Equally popular was Chief Red Cloud, leader of the Siletz tribe, who appeared in full, authentic Indian costume -- except his fringe had been replaced with hundreds of shiny little swastikas. Red Cloud toured the entire northwestern United States and Canada in search of Indians willing to join the Bund. And he held audiences spellbound with stories that the Jews represented the chuck-na-gin of his people, or "the children of the devil."
At this point, I should also mention American fascist leader William Dudley Pelley, whom I've always considered one of this country's most fascinating kooks. (He was also a mystic who wrote a bizarre series of channeled books called The Soulcraft Scripts
.) Pelley proclaimed himself to be a strong advocate of Indian rights, and there is no reason to doubt his sincerity. Of course, the fact that he was "good" on that issue doesn't mean he that he was right about anything else.
The vast majority of this nation's citizenry don't know that there was an American Nazi movement in the 1930s, or that some terribly misled Native Americans fell under its sway. Such things are not taught in schools. It is forgotten history.
But let's try a thought experiment: What if the government were to decide, once again, to wage a genocidal war against the original inhabitants of this land? What would happen then?
You can be sure of one thing: This forgotten history would suddenly become very, very famous.
We would hear about it incessantly, every time we turned on the teevee. Demagogues would arise, speaking of the events of the 1930s as though they happened last week -- and they would portray a handful of pro-Nazi Native Americans as representatives of all Indians in all eras. A propaganda campaign would drill that "chuck-na-gin
" business into every American skull. A home-grown Bibi Netanyahu would speak darkly of "the Nazi-Indian alliance."
Wounded Knee? The Trail of Tears? Justifiable! After all, there were Indian leaders who spoke at Nazi rallies in the 1930s!
In this society, argumentum ad Hitlerum
has become the ultimate rhetorical trump card. It is particularly galling to see this card played by the greatest advocate of intolerance and violence in the modern world.
I consider Bibi Netanyahu to be the world's most dangerous racist. Decent people must not allow this evil man to justify his genocidal dreams by using a falsified version of history.