- Text smaller
- Text bigger
Editor’s note: Kenneth Timmerman’s new book, “Preachers of Hate,” uncovers an ancient hatred that threatens the life and livelihood of every American. In the book, Timmerman explains the “new” anti-Semitism that targets not only Jews, but Americans specifically and the West in general. The book details how Muslim leaders are not just encouraging hatred of Jews and the West, but are spending a great deal of money to spread the kind of vitriol that spawned the terrorists responsible for September 11.
This is the final of three excerpts from “Preachers of Hate” featured this week on WorldNetDaily. In today’s offering, Timmerman presents the history of the Hitler-loving mufti who served as a model for Yasser Arafat. Yesterday’s installment describes the unmitigated hate for Jews and Israel displayed at a U.N. conference in South Africa. Part 1 examines the myth spread in the Muslim community that “the Jews” were responsible for the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Timmerman’s eye-opening book is available at ShopNetDaily.
To understand how anti-Semitism became a driving political force in today’s Middle East, mobilizing generations of youths and infecting military officers and political leaders, one has to return to the early days of the 20th century, when the centuries-long decline of Muslim culture that culminated in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I coincided with the acceleration of Jewish immigration to Palestine.
In 1918, the de facto mayor of Jerusalem, Musa Kasim Pasha al-Husseini, mentioned to Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann that he had received a copy of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” from a British officer of the military administration in Palestine.
The core anti-Semitic doctrine of a Jewish world conspiracy fell on willing ears among the Arabs of Palestine. It recalled Quranic lessons they had learned from childhood and “explained” the sense of helplessness they felt as Jews stepped up efforts to revive the ancient Jewish quarter of Jerusalem and bought abandoned tracts from willing Arab landowners to construct agricultural settlements where only desert had been before. Among the most receptive of the local Arab leaders to the conspiracy theories of the Protocols was another member of the al-Husseini clan.
Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husseini was a brilliant agitator and former Customs officer in the small Palestinian Arab town of Qalqilia who went on to become grand mufti of Jerusalem, the official “priest” and pre-eminent political leader of the Arabs. From his earliest years, Husseini was a ferocious opponent of Jewish immigration to Palestine.
During the Muslim festival of Nebi Musa on April 4, 1920, Haj Mohammad Amin’s followers went on a murderous rampage and, “inflamed by anti-Jewish diatribes, began attacking Jewish passers-by and looting Jewish stores.” He was subsequently convicted by a British military tribunal of inciting the violence, in which five Jews and four Arabs were killed and 211 Jews and 21 Arabs wounded.
After skipping bail, Haj Mohammad Amin took refuge in western Palestine and was sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison. The leader of the hastily organized Jewish self-defense force, Vladimir Jabotinsky, received a 15-year jail sentence for halting the killing spree.
But Haj Mohammad Amin was ferociously opposed to any form of cooperation between Jews and Arabs, which the fledging Zionist movement was trying actively to promote. When young Arab and Jewish intellectuals established “an evening school for the teaching of Hebrew to the Arabs, Arabic to the Jews, and English to both,” al-Husseini intervened to kill the project within a year.
His opposition to the Jews was unrelenting. “Remember, Abbady,” he told a local official who came from an old Jewish family in Jerusalem, “this was and will remain an Arab land. We do not mind you Jewish natives of the country, but those alien invaders, the Zionists, will be massacred to the last man. We want no progress, no prosperity [deriving from Jewish immigration]. Nothing but the sword will decide the future of this country.”
That may be the single most telling statement any Arab leader has made to explain the deep, unacceptable challenge Arabs feel when faced by the success of the Jews.
Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husseini emerged from hiding not long after his trial. In recognition of his status among the Palestinian Arabs, the British mandatory authorities disregarded his record of incitement and appointed him grand mufti in 1922.
But instead of calming the population, as the British seemed to wish, he led a second massacre of Jews on Aug. 23, 1929, in Hebron, where Jewish immigrants had established a thriving community on the site of Judaism’s second most holy city. Given al-Husseini’s new official status, the commission of inquiry appointed by the British Colonial Office treated him “with exceptional consideration,” allowing him to testify behind closed doors at his own home.
Al-Husseini is said to have “firmly asserted his belief in the authenticity of the notorious ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.'” He used the occasion to spread a libel – not the last of his career – that the Jews planned to “rebuild the Temple of Solomon at the seat of the Mosque of Omar,” known more familiarly as the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine on the Temple Mount. Still in his capacity as grand mufti, he led a third massacre of Jewish settlers in 1936.
But al-Husseini owes his place in history to a meeting that took place on Nov. 28, 1941, in Berlin, where he had gone to convince Adolf Hitler of his total dedication to the Nazi goal of exterminating the Jews, and offered to raise an Arab legion to carry out that task in the Middle East. For the mufti, the meeting with Hitler was the culmination of an eight-year effort to convince the Nazis to forge an alliance with the Palestine Arab Higher Committee he headed. Their once-secret pact, which I shall describe, marks the beginning of Nazi-style anti-Semitism as a mass movement in the Arab world.
The mufti first approached the Nazis through the German consul in Jerusalem in 1933, soon after Hitler seized power. “His objectives, as he explained on numerous occasions to German officials, were far-reaching. His immediate aim was to halt and terminate the Jewish settlement in Palestine. Beyond that, however, he aimed at much vaster purposes, conceived not so much in pan-Arab as in pan-Islamic terms, for a holy war of Islam in alliance with Germany against world Jewry, to accomplish the final solution of the Jewish problem everywhere.”
But Hitler’s government continued to express “a surprising lack of interest in the Arab world and its affairs.” One reason, historians agree, is that Hitler initially hoped the harsh Nazi policies would prompt German Jews to emigrate from Germany to Palestine, where he expected they would perish.
Captured Nazi documents published by the U.S. State Department in 1953 show that the mufti continued to petition the German Foreign Office for support. On July 21, 1937, a memorandum of conversation with German consul general Doehle in Jerusalem reveals the mufti once again pleading for Nazi support to fight the Jews. At that meeting, he agreed to dispatch a “confidential agent” to Berlin to maintain an open line of contact with the Axis powers.
What changed the German attitude toward the mufti and his cause was the publication in July 1937 of a report by the British Royal Commission, headed by Lord Peel, which for the first time recommended the partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Once the conclusions of the report were known, the German minister of foreign affairs, Konstantin von Neurath, sent out instructions to German legations in Britain and the Middle East explaining the new directives of the Nazi leadership:
“The formation of a Jewish state or a Jewish-led political structure under British mandate is not in Germany’s interest, since a Palestinian state would not absorb world Jewry, but would create an additional position of power under international law for international Jewry, somewhat like the Vatican state for political Catholicism or Moscow for the Comintern. Germany therefore has an interest in strengthening the Arab world as a counterweight against such a possible increase in power for world Jewry.”
Germany began broadcasting anti-Semitic propaganda in Arabic in the summer of 1938, fueling the passions of the mufti’s followers throughout the region. They planted anti-Semitic lies in the Arabic and Persian press and bred espionage and sabotage networks from the Persian Gulf to Palestine.
By 1939, when Hitler attacked Poland, and Britain and France declared war on Germany, the mufti realized his well-known pro-Nazi activities could land him in a British jail. Once again he packed his bags and fled Palestine, staying shortly in Lebanon (then under French control) before traveling onward to Iraq. Working with an old ally, Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, who became prime minister of Iraq in March 1940, the mufti “obtained promises of Axis support, and in April 1941 carried out an anti-British and pro-German coup” in Baghdad. In early June, al-Gaylani was overthrown, and his followers – tearing a page from the mufti’s playbook – went on a murderous rampage against Baghdad’s Jewish community.
Once the British arrived in Baghdad, the mufti sought refuge in neighboring Persia. Shah Reza Pahlavi, a nationalist general who seized power in 1925, was such a fan of Hitler’s theories of racial supremacy that he renamed his own country “Iran” shortly after Hitler’s rise to power. (Iran means “Aryan” in Persian.)
Soon Iran became unsafe as well. In October 1941, fearing the pro-Nazi shah would allow the Axis powers to disrupt the Allied supply line through Iran to Russia, the United States and Britain landed troops in Iran, arrested pro-Nazi government ministers and replaced the shah with his young son, Mohammad Reza.
The coup in Iran meant that Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husseini had to flee once again. He sought refuge in the Italian embassy in Tehran, and on Oct. 8, 1941, “with shaven beard, dyed hair and an Italian service passport,” he left for Italy with the rest of the Italian embassy staff now that the new shah had broken diplomatic relations with the Axis powers.
But the expulsion from Tehran presented al-Husseini with a tremendous opportunity he had so far been lacking: direct contact with Axis leaders. During an initial meeting with Italian military intelligence after his arrival in Rome, the mufti said he was prepared to join the Axis war effort “on the sole condition that they recognize in principle the unity, independence and sovereignty of an Arab state of a Fascist nature, including Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Trans-Jordan.”
His handlers offered him a modest stipend to fund his efforts (1 million lire, or around $40,000); but more important, they recommended that Mussolini receive him in person. Al-Husseini later described his meeting in Rome with Il Duce on Oct. 27, 1941, as a total triumph. Mussolini, he wrote, expressed unremitting hostility to the Jews. Calling Mussolini “a veteran anti-Zionist,” al-Husseini went on to quote him as uttering steadfast opposition to a Jewish state in Palestine. The Jews, Mussolini reportedly said, “have no historical, racial or other reason to establish a state in Palestine. If the Jews want it, they should establish Tel Aviv in America.” It was an ominous foreshadowing of the comments Hamas leaders made to me more than five decades later in Gaza.
From Rome, the mufti traveled to Berlin, where he was greeted enthusiastically by the Islamische Zentralinstitut and the assembled Muslim leaders of Germany as the “F?hrer of the Arabic world.” In a speech kicking off his visit, he called the Jews the “most fierce enemies of the Muslims” and an “ever corruptive element in the world.”
The mufti also met with SS leader Heinrich Himler and Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, who were tasked with preparing the fateful interview with Hitler. The mufti had sent no fewer than 15 drafts of a joint declaration he wanted Hitler and Mussolini to issue with him, announcing the intention to apply Hitler’s Final Solution to the Jews of the Middle East.
When the language had been scrubbed and the declaration sent to Hitler’s staff, it was chillingly explicit: “Germany and Italy recognize the illegality of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. They recognize the right of Palestine and other Arab countries to solve the question of the Jewish elements in Palestine and in other Arab countries as required by national Arab interests, and in the same way as the Jewish question in the Axis lands is being solved.”
The mufti found his soul mate in the German f?hrer, who was prepared to accept him as an “honorary Aryan” because of the red beard and blue eyes he had inherited from his Circassian mother. He began the meeting in Hitler’s ornate reception room in the Reich Chancellery with a lengthy panegyric, dutifully shortened in the official Foreign Ministry “Record of Conversation,” which nevertheless preserves the distinct Oriental flavor of the mufti’s supplication.
The grand mufti began by thanking the f?hrer for the great honor he had bestowed by receiving him. He wished to seize the opportunity to convey to the f?hrer of the Greater German Reich, admired by the entire Arab world, his thanks for the sympathy he had always shown for the Arab and especially the Palestinian cause.
They were therefore prepared to cooperate with Germany with all their hearts and stood ready to participate in the war, not only negatively by the commission of acts of sabotage and the instigation of revolutions, but also positively by the formation of an Arab Legion. The Arabs could be more useful to Germany as allies than might be apparent at first glance, both for geographical reasons and because of the suffering inflicted upon them by the English and the Jews.
Hitler was receptive to the spirit and ultimate goals of Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, although he was unwilling for strategic reasons to commit troops as yet to liberate the Arab countries from the British. As World War II historian Bevin Alexander has argued, this was Hitler’s fatal mistake.
The f?hrer replied to the mufti that Germany’s fundamental attitude on these questions, as the mufti himself had already stated, was clear. Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine.
Germany was just then engaged “in a life and death struggle with two citadels of Jewish power,” Hitler explained, “Great Britain and Soviet Russia.” He didn’t have the manpower or resources to deploy additional military forces in the Middle East. But once the war against Russia and Britain was won, he added, “Germany’s objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power. In that hour, the mufti would be the most authoritative spokesman for the Arab world.”
The deal was cut. Although the mufti was disappointed that help was not forthcoming immediately, he nevertheless was flattered by Hitler’s unbending personal commitment to his cause and “thanked him profusely,” according to the official account. He remained Hitler’s guest for the remainder of the war.
During his years in Germany, the mufti performed numerous services for Hitler’s murderous cause. At one point, he got wind that Adolf Eichmann, then a deputy to SS intelligence boss Reinhard Heydrich who is considered by most historians to be the architect of the Final Solution, was trying to cut a deal with the British government to exchange German POWs for 5,000 Jewish children who also could have fled to Palestine. “The Mufti’s protests with the SS were successful and the children were sent to death camps in Poland instead.” At another, he lobbied Hitler personally to block a plan to allow Jews to leave Hungary, again claiming they would settle in Palestine and reinforce a new center of world Jewish power.
In 1943, the mufti traveled to Bosnia, where he helped to raise a Bosnian Muslim Waffen SS company, the “Hanjar Troopers,” who slaughtered 90 percent of the Jews in Bosnia and burned “countless Serbian churches and villages.” Other Bosnian Muslim units raised by the mufti were sent to Croatia and Hungary, where they participated in the killing of Jews.
The mufti’s work in Bosnia earned him special favor with Himmler, who established a school in Dresden to train mullahs under his control. According to Israeli scholar Yigal Carmon, a U.S. captain who seized the mufti’s wartime archives in Berlin in the days following the collapse of the Third Reich in April 1945 found a photograph of Himmler and the mufti raising wineglasses to each other in a chummy toast. The photograph was personally inscribed by Himmler “In remembrance to my good friend, Haj Amin Husseini.”
In 1945, liberated Yugoslavia under Marshal Tito sought to indict the mufti as a war criminal for his activities in Bosnia, but with help from the SS the mufti had already escaped Germany with other members of his clan.
“The SS gave him a plane and helped him fly to France three days before Hitler’s suicide, hoping that he could escape to North Africa, where he had organized spy networks still in place,” says Yigal Carmon.
The mufti never attempted to disguise his Nazi beliefs or his wartime role as the mouthpiece for Hitler’s genocide in the Arab world. His oft proclaimed desire to exterminate the Jews worldwide, and his offer to Hitler to become his willing instrument in Palestine, cannot possibly be excused – as some apologists do today – as simple “anti-Zionism.” The only Jews the mufti and his followers wanted to remain in Palestine were the descendants of the original inhabitants, who had lived as dhimmis under Muslim rule for the past 1,400 years. The rejection of a Jewish state very clearly signified to the mufti and his followers the extermination or forced emigration of every single Jew who had come to Israel from Europe or the Arab world since 1917, leaving those remaining to become subjects of Muslim rulers. The core beliefs of Arab anti-Zionism and Arab anti-Semitism are identical.
In 1961, when Adolf Eichmann’s trial for war crimes began in Jerusalem, the mufti had left Egypt for Beirut, where he continued to infuse the next generation with his anti-Semitic beliefs. Israeli prosecutors tried to get Eichmann to elaborate on his relations with the mufti, but he was uncooperative, claiming he vaguely recalled meeting the mufti at a Berlin cocktail party, but that was all. In his memoirs, the mufti thanked Eichmann for his discretion and praised him as “gallant and noble.”
The mufti died in 1974, but the al-Husseini family continues to play a central role in Palestinian affairs. The mufti’s nephew Faisal al-Husseini was a leading PLO spokesmen in the territories until his death on May 31, 2001, and regularly received journalists at Orient House, the de facto (and illegal) seat of Palestinian government in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem. When the Israelis shut down Orient House in March 2002, they seized hundreds of thousands of documents that revealed that al-Husseini had been personally involved in coordinating and financing terrorist attacks against Jews.
Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husseini’s vicious anti-Semitic ideology formed a lasting impression on another young Arab nationalist, who became a close confidant and ardent disciple during his postwar exile in Cairo, when al-Husseini regaled his audiences with tales of Hitler’s Germany.
Born on Aug. 24, 1929, Mohammed Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini enrolled at Cairo University in 1951. He came not to study, but because the university had become the hotbed of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Free Officers, unabashed Nazi sympathizers who, under Nasser’s leadership, went on to stage a successful coup the following year. The coup was still far off, and the younger al-Husseini shortened his name in order to disguise his family ties. Ever since then, the world has known the mufti’s most famous disciple as Yasser Arafat.
Excerpted by permission of Crown Forum, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.