comment by Jerry Gordon
Jonathan Tobin reviews a new book entitled:”Icon of Evil: Hitler’s Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam” about the modern equivalent of the biblical Amalek, the Haj Amin Al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Husseini was an implacable foe of Zionism from its earliest days following the issuance of Balfour Declaration calling for a Jewish Homeland in 1917, while he served as an officer in the Ottoman Army, defeated by the British, Commonwealth forces and the Jewish legion during WWI. The irony was that Husseini was courted by anti-Semitic elements in the British forces occupying the Palestine Mandate. Appointed as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem by the British Jewish governor of the Palestine Mandate, Lord Herbert Samuels, Husseini went on to foment riots against Jewish settlements in the pre-state Yishuv in 1921, 1929 and against the British from 1936 to 1939. An early supporter of the Nazis in the Middle East, he fomented anti-Jewish pogroms in 1941 in the brief pro-Nazi al Nuri Iraq government fleeing to Berlin where he was Hitler’s House Guest during WWII. See film clip here. He recruited two Waffen SS Divisions in Albania and Bosnia, and volunteer Arab Muslims in der Frie Arabien Korps. The Bosnian Muslim Waffen SS Handschar or ‘Dagger” division was responsible for the slaughter of 12,000 Bosnian Jews and tens of thousands of Serbs during the Nazi occupation of what was Yugoslavia.
View this film clip here of the Mufti in his white turban trooping the Bosnian troops giving the Nazi salute.
After WWII, Husseini was given sanctuary by none other than French President Charles de Gaulle and fled to Beirut and Cairo joining forces with Arab forces opposing a Jewish State. He had been indicted as a war criminal by the post-war Yugoslav Titoist government. He urged Palestinian Arabs to flee their towns and villages prior to the invasion of the Jewish state on its founding on May 15, 1948 to return when the five invading Armies crushed the embryonic state. Didn’t happened. But that didn’t stop Husseini, a distant cousin of the late PLO mass murderer Arafat from attending every anti-Israel conference after each War between Israel and Arabs in 1948 and 1967. The irony, as Walid Shoebat, the ex-PLO terrorist told me was that the Husseini came from a large land owning Arab notable family sold land the the pre-State Jewish National fund for creation of Jewish settlements. The heritage from Husseini, the modern day version of the the Biblical Amalek can be seen in those Nazi salutes by Hamas, PLO and Hezbollah terrorist forces. Husseini was a real Islamo Fascist.
By Jonathan Tobin, Jewish World Review, July 23, 2008
Although some deprecate the use of the term “Islamo-Fascist,” a study of the life of the Mufti shows that the combination of these disparate ideas into one ideology of hate is no Western invention
It is axiomatic that a knowledge of history is a prerequisite for understanding the present. But the question is: How much weight should we give to controversial figures from the past when deciding how to think about current conflicts?
According to the authors of a new book about Haj Amin al-Husseini (1893-1974), the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who played a key role in fomenting and exacerbating the struggle between Jews and Arabs during much of the 20th century, the answer is quite a lot.
The book, “Icon of Evil: Hitler’s Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam”, by David G. Dalin and John F. Rothman, makes the case that you can draw a direct line from al-Husseini to not only the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas — groups that took up his battle against Zionism — but to Iran, Al Qaeda and the 9/11 conspirators.
That’s a searing indictment that both supporters of Israel and its foes ought to examine closely. And if this book fails to deliver the definitive account of the Mufti’s life in English that students of this period of history have been waiting for, it nevertheless shines a spotlight on a figure who deserves far greater attention than he has received in recent decades.
APPOINTED BY A JEW
Husseini was a member of an elite landed-clan of Palestinian Arabs who retain their status to this day (Yasser Arafat was a cousin). In the aftermath of World War I, he rose to prominence as a fanatical opponent of both the British and the Jews.
Ironically, it was a British Jew, Sir Herbert Samuel, who appointed Husseini to the post of mufti, the putative Muslim religious leader of Jerusalem.
Samuel became the first high commissioner of the territory in 1920. Palestine had been given to Britain as a mandate by the League of Nations in order for them to make good on their 1917 Balfour Declaration promise to create a Jewish national home in the country.
While many in the British government were openly hostile to Zionism, Samuels was not. But he was concerned about being seen as evenhanded between Jews and Arabs. So when there was a vacancy in the office of mufti, Samuels appointed the hard-line Husseini.
This was a decision the Jews would rue for decades as Husseini used his post as a platform to promote hatred against the Zionists, who were transforming the country from a barren backwater into what would become the modern State of Israel. Husseini incited the riots of 1929 in which hundreds of Jews were slaughtered by Muslim pogromists and did his best to better that record during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39.
Though the Mufti’s gangs were defeated, his work paid dividends in 1939 when the British, as eager to appease Arabs and Muslims on the eve of World War II as they were the Germans, issued a White Paper that placed severe limits on Jewish immigration and land sales, effectively closing the door to a Jewish state. (Continue Reading this Article)