There is a understandable outrage in Israel over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu giving a speech Tuesday night and saying that Hitler only wanted to expel Jews, but was convinced by the Mufti of Jerusalem to "burn them." Just not political opponents of Mr. Netanyahu, but historians and even some members of his own party -- and even German Chancellor Andrea Merkel -- have lambasted the Prime Minister for rewriting the reality of history. Like the fact that Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf" three years before meeting with the Mufti Husseini. Or that 33,771 Jews were killed at Babi Yar months before Hitler and the Mufti met. Or that a million Jews had already been killed by the time the two met.
Most interpretation of Netanyahu's speech is that he was trying to use the Holocaust as a way to inflame anger at the Palestineans, since the Mufti was a Palestinean leader and considered by some a founder of the state.
A spokesman for German chancellor, Angela Merkel, “All Germans know the history of the murderous race mania of the Nazis that led to the break with civilization that was the Holocaust,” Steffen Seibert said. “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 has tried to backtrack his statement a bit, by trying to explain what he was supposedly trying to say, not to exonerate Hitler, but point out the support and importance of the Mufti. But it's hard to misinterpret the Prime Minister's words when they say, clear -- "Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jew."
Yeah, the guy just wanted to expel them, that's all. Perhaps include a sack lunch and a gift certificate for use in some other country.
And this is the man, Benjamin Netanyahu, who the Republican Party invited to address Congress over the objections of White House. The man who conservatives listen to for advice on the Middle East.
Here are several articles with reactions within Israel and elsewhere.
This is from the Israeli paper, Haaretz.
Click here for an article in The Guardian from London.
And this is from the New York Times.
We wait and see how the continuing reaction within Israel effects politics within that country and Mr. Netanyahu's future. Perhaps not at all. Perhaps significantly.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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