Below is an article
by Uri Avneri, an Israeli peace activist, former member of the Knesset and
someone who is on the fringes of Zionism but one of its most strident critics,
having fought in the Israeli war of independence and having also been a former
member of the Irgun.
My own view is that
you can’t explain Netanyahu’s comments, especially about the holocaust, by
reference to mental instability. Whilst
it is undoubtedly true that he suffers from some form of psychopathic condition
and possibly manic depression, his utterances are, in the parallel universe of
Zionism, quite logical. The Arabs are
the quintissential enemy. The Nazis are
past history and no longer enemies.
Clearly it would be immensely helpful if the guilt that attaches to the
holocaust could be transferred to the Palestinians, then Israel could just have
one enemy rather than two, especially as one cannot do anything with the old
enmity with the Nazis whereas it is extremely useful in attacking the
There is certainly
method in Bibi’s madness!
Is Netanyahu Mentally Unstable or Politics the
Politics of the Madhouse?
IS not very pleasant when serious people around the world – historians,
psychiatrists, diplomats – ask themselves if my prime minister is completely
Hitler’s meeting of 28.11.41. with al-Husseini
this is happening now. And not only abroad. More and more people in Israel are
asking themselves the same question.
this is the result of one event. But people are now looking at many other
events – past and present – in a new light.
Uri Avneri on a demonstration
now, many strange actions and utterances by Binyamin Netanyahu have been seen
as the manipulations of a clever politician, a talented demagogue who knows the
soul of his constituents and supplies them with ample lies.
anymore. A troubling suspicion is getting around: that our prime minister has
serious mental problems. Is he losing his marbles?
ALL started two weeks ago, when Netanyahu made a speech to a world-wide Zionist
assembly. What he said was shocking.
Netanyahu – enaged in is favourite pastime – building settlemetns [for some reason the Zionists called this cartoon anti-Semitic]
Hitler, he pontificated, did not really want to exterminate the Jews. He just
wanted to expel them. But then he met the Mufti of Jerusalem, who convinced him
to “burn” the Jews. Thus the Holocaust was born.
conclusion? Hitler was not so bad after all. The Germans are not really to
blame. It was the Palestinians who were the instigators of the murder of six
the subject had been different, this speech could be considered as one of the
usual lies and falsifications typical of Netanyahu. Hitler was really not so
bad, the Palestinians are to blame, the Mufti was the forerunner of Mahmoud
Abbas. Just a routine piece of political propaganda.
this concerns the Holocaust, of the most atrocious events of modern times, and
by far the most important event in modern Jewish history. This event has a
direct bearing on the lives of half the Jewish population of Israel (including
myself) who lost their relatives in the Holocaust, or are themselves survivors.
speech was not just a minor political manipulation, one of those we have become
accustomed to since Netanyahu became prime minister. This was something new,
AROUND the world there was an outcry. There are many thousands of experts on
the Holocaust. Innumerable books have been written on Nazi Germany (including
one by me). Every single detail has been researched over and over again.
survivors were shocked, because Netanyahu was really absolving Hitler, and the
Germans in general, of the main blame for the horrendous crime. So Hitler was
not so bad, after all. He just wanted to expel the Jews, not to kill them. It
was the evil Arabs who induced him to commit the atrocity of atrocities.
Merkel did the decent thing and issued an immediate denial, assuming again the
total blame of the German people. Thousands of furious articles appeared around
the world, many hundreds of them in Israel.
particular utterance of Netanyahu’s was not just stupid, not just ignorant. It
borders on the insane.
MUFTI is a religious scholar, a high ranking authority in an Islamic society,
well above a mere judge. A Grand Mufti is the highest local religious
authority. In Islam there is no pope.
Grand Mufti in this story is Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who was chosen by the
British authorities in Palestine for the office of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. As
it turned out, this was a grave mistake.
man who made the mistake was a Jew – Herbert Samuel, the first High
Commissioner of the British Mandated territory of Palestine after World War I.
Young Hajj Amin was already known as a firebrand, and Samuel followed the
well-established colonial practice of appointing enemies to high office, to
quiet them down.
Husseini family is the foremost Hamula (extended family) in Jerusalem. It has
some 5000 members and occupies an entire neighborhood. It is one of the three
or four most distinguished families in town, and for many generations a
Husseini has been either the Mufti, the mayor or another dignitary in Arab
Amin (hajj is the appellation of a Muslim who has made the obligatory
pilgrimage to Mecca) was a trouble-maker right from the beginning. He saw early
on the danger of the Zionist immigration for the Arab community in Palestine,
and several times incited anti-British and anti-Jewish riots. These came to a
head in the Great Rebellion of 1936 – known to the Jews as “the
events” – which shook the country for three years, until World War II.
“the events”, many Jews and many British were killed, but most of the
victims were Arabs. The Mufti (as everybody called him) used the opportunity to
have all his rivals and competitors killed off. For the Jews in Palestine he
became the symbol of evil, the object of intense hatred.
now, the British, too, had had enough of him. They chased the Mufti out of the
country. He went to Lebanon, but when this country was occupied by the British
in World War II (to drive out the troops of the French Vichy regime) the Mufti
fled to Iraq, which was in the hands of anti-British and pro-Nazi rebels. When
the British re-conquered Iraq, the Mufti fled to Italy, which was leading the
Fascist “Axis” effort to win over the Arabs. The Mufti, whose main
enemies were the British, acted upon the theory that the enemy of my enemy is
my friend. (At the same time, a leader of the Jewish underground in Palestine,
Abraham Stern, acting upon the same theory, also sought contact with the
Italians and Germans.)
seems that the Italians were not too keen on having Hajj Amin around, so the
Mufti moved to Nazi Germany. At the time, the SS was trying to enlist Muslim
volunteers for the war against Russia, and somebody had the bright idea that a
picture of the Grand Mufti with Hitler might be useful.
did not like the idea at all. He was a true believer in the race theory, and
the Arabs are Semites – an inferior and detestable race, just like the Jews.
But in the end he was weighed upon to receive this Arab refugee for what we now
call a “photo opportunity”. A picture was taken – the only picture of
the only meeting between these two persons. (There are also photos of the Mufti
with Muslim Bosnian SS volunteers).
meeting was short, a perfunctory protocol was taken, the Jews appear nowhere in
it. The whole episode was insignificant. Until Netanyahu.
is ridiculous to crown the Mufti as the father of the Palestinian nation. In
all my hundreds of meetings with Palestinians, from Arafat down, I have never
heard a good word about Hajj Amin, not even from the wonderful Faisal
al-Husseini, a remote relative. They unanimously described him as a real
Palestinian patriot, but a person with limited education and narrow-minded
outlook, who bears part of the blame for the disaster that befell the
Palestinian people in 1948. The bloodbath he carried out among the Palestinians
in the 1936-1939 rebellion weakened the Palestinians so much, that when the
crucial test came – the 1947 partition of Palestine and the 1948 war – the
nation was devoid of any effective leadership.
idea that the mighty Fuehrer needed or heeded the advice of a fugitive Semite
in order to decide on the Holocaust is preposterous. Indeed, it is crazy.
the dates don’t jibe. The photo-meeting took place at the end of 1941. The
extermination started immediately after the conquest of Poland in 1939, and
took on its monstrous dimensions with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in
the middle of 1941. It acquired its final, industrial format when Heinrich
Himmler, the SS chief, decided that “one cannot demand of a decent
German” to shoot all this Jewish scum. The Mufti had absolutely nothing to
do with this, and the very idea is insane.
1939, Hitler did indeed further the expulsion of the Jews, because physical
extermination in a peaceful Europe was unthinkable. But once the war broke out,
he saw at once the chance for mass extermination – and said so quite openly.
HOW did this son of a “renowned historian” come to say this crazy thing?).
(This appellation of Ben-Zion Netanyahu is now de rigueur in the Israeli media,
though I never met anyone who has read his work on the Spanish inquisition.)
he heard it from some crackpot hired by Sheldon Adelson – but even so, the fact
that he did not reject it outright shows not only that he is a complete
ignoramus about the most important chapter in modern Jewish history, but also
that he may have some mental problem.
this light, many others of his decisions now look different, including this
week’s decision to take measures to cancel the “inhabitant” status of
tens of thousands of Arab Jerusalemites. When East Jerusalem was annexed by
Israel in 1967, the inhabitants were not granted Israeli citizenship, only
reduced resident’s rights, which deny them the right to vote for the Knesset.
They were graciously allowed to apply for citizenship individually, but, of
course, almost nobody did, since this would mean recognition of the annexation.
I am afraid. If indeed we are governed by a man with mental problems – just
where is he leading us?