By Rabbi Dow Marmur.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the son of a respected historian, should know better than to distort history for his political purposes. Addressing the Zionist Congress currently in session in Jerusalem he said that Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews, only to expel them from his realm, and that it was the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin-al-Husseini who promoted the “final solution” when they met in 1941 by telling Hitler that if the Jews would be expelled from Europe they’d flock to Palestine to the dismay of the Arabs. It would, therefore, be much better to burn them. Hence the Holocaust.
Israeli historians have reacted strongly against the distortion. Professor Dina Porat, the chief historian of Yad Vashem, dismissed Netanyahu’s assertion as incorrect. I heard Professor Moshe Zimmerman, arguably Israel’s most important historian of Germany, say on Israel Radio that whitewashing the Nazis and blaming others in this way is a form of Holocaust denial. Nothing in the available documents about the meeting warrants Netanyahu’s assertion; it only takes away the guilt of the Nazis.
The probable reason why Netanyahu said this to the assembled Zionists is to tell them that the Arabs have always hated Jews, didn’t want them in their midst and that nothing has changed. The implication is, of course, that to negotiate with them today is futile and those who urge it are either “self-hating Jews of the extreme left” (some of whom are Congress delegates and are said to have voiced their protest) or crypto anti-Semites masquerading as wise friends (like the President of the United States?).
When Israeli cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz, one of Netanyahu’s poodles, describes Palestinian terrorists as Nazis he’s probably speaking with his master’s voice. And Netanyahu’s attack on Abu Mazen, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, as mouthing the lies of Hamas and ISIS may be part of the same agenda.
Ironically, the neo-Nazis/anti-Muslims in Germany and elsewhere in Europe feel vindicated by Netanyahu’s statement. Not only does it declare Germans much less guilty but it also points to Muslims, many of whom are now flocking to their and other countries, as the real enemies of Europeans in general and Jews in particular. If there’s an increase of anti-Semitism in Europe today it’s not because of the neo-Nazis but because of Muslims. The neo-Nazis are, in fact, pro-Israel and thus pro-Jewish.
That’s how, for example, anti-Semitism in Sweden, notably in the city of Malmö, has been ascribed to the growing share of Muslims in the population.
This may also explain why, according to recent reports, the Austrian neo-Nazi anti-immigration party has established contact with right-wing politicians in Israel: an unholy alliance and cause for deep concern to us all.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Netanyahu is flying to Berlin – a city nowadays beloved and populated by Israelis – to meet with US Secretary of State Kerry and German Chancellor Merkel. It’s impossible to imagine that his aim is more than to return to business as usual, occupation and all. Those who want realistic peace negotiations should hope for another Israeli government. It won’t happen under Netanyahu’s watch where many of his cabinet members are even more reactionary than he.
The reason why Israel needs a different government is to save it from self-destruction in the guise of defense and patriotism.
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By Rabbi Dow Marmur.