Germany Just Had to Remind Benjamin Netanyahu Who Was Responsible for the Holocaust


After decades of near universal condemnation for the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, it’s time to give Adolf Hitler a bit of a break—or at least that’s the eyebrow-raising approach that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to support on Wednesday.

In a speech delivered at the 37th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, Netanyahu described a meeting between Hitler and then Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini, in which he implied it was actually al-Husseini who wanted to exterminate Jews from Europe. Hitler? Apparently he just needed a little encouragement. 

From his controversial speech:

And this attack and other attacks on the Jewish community in 1920, 1921, 1929, were instigated by a call of the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was later sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he had a central role in fomenting the final solution. He flew to Berlin. Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, “If you expel them, they’ll all come here.” “So what should I do with them?” he asked. He said, “Burn them.” And he was sought in, during the Nuremberg trials for prosecution.

Politicians and historians were quick to denounce Netanyahu’s speech, the theme of which was “10 big lies.” 

“He moves the responsibility of the Holocaust, for the destruction of the Jews, to the mufti and the Arab world,” Professor Moshe Zimmerman of Hebrew University said in response. “This is a trick intended to stain the Arabs of today because of the Arabs of the past.”

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the international community in its criticism.

“All Germans know the history of the murderous race mania of the Nazis that led to the break with civilization that was the Holocaust,” said Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert.

“This is taught in German schools for good reason, it must never be forgotten. And I see no reason to change our view of history in any way. We know that responsibility for this crime against humanity is German and very much our own.”

Netanyahu’s remarks come amid escalating tensions and deadly attacks between Israelis and Palestinians this past month.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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