by Alan Dershowitz
Hamas, the terrorist organization that specializes in targeting civilians, has now decided, according to a New York Times headline, to shift “from rockets to culture war” in an effort to garner public support for its cause. Part of its ongoing public relations campaign is to portray the Israelis as the “new Nazis” and the Palestinians as the “new Jews.” In order to bring about this transformation, it must engage in a form of Holocaust denial that erases the historical record of widespread Palestinian complicity with the “old Nazis” in perpetrating the real Holocaust. It has become an important part of the mantra of Hamas supporters that neither the Palestinians people nor its leadership played any role in the Holocaust. Listen to Mohammad Ahmadinejad talking to students at Columbia University:
If [the Holocaust] is a reality, we need to still question whether the Palestinian people should be paying for it or not. After all, it happened in Europe. The Palestinian people had no role to play in it. So why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price of an event they had nothing to do with?...The Palestinian people didn’t commit any crime. They had no role to play in World War II. They were living with the Jewish communities and the Christian communities in peace at the time.
The conclusion that is supposed to follow from this “fact” is that the establishment of Israel in the wake of the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people was unfair to the Palestinians. Central to this claim is that neither the Palestinian people nor their leadership bore any responsibility for the Holocaust, and if any reparations are owed the Jewish people, it is from Germany and not from the Palestinians. The propounders of this historical argument suggest that the West created the Jewish state out of guilt over the Holocaust. It might have been understandable if a portion of Germany (or Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, France, Austria, or other collaborator nations) had been allocated for a Jewish homeland—but why Palestine? Palestine, according to this claim, was as much a “victim” as were the Jews.
The truth is that the Palestinian leadership, supported by the Palestinian masses, played a significant role in Hitler’s Holocaust.
The official leader of the Palestinians, Haj Amin al-Husseini, spent the war years in Berlin with Hitler, serving as a consultant on the Jewish question. He was taken on a tour of Auschwitz and expressed support for the mass murder of European Jews. He also sought to “solve the problems of the Jewish element in Palestine and other Arab countries” by employing “the same method” being used “in the Axis countries.” He would not be satisfied with the Jewish residents of Palestine—many of whom were descendants of Sephardic Jews who had lived there for hundreds, even thousands, of years—remaining as a minority in a Muslim state. Like Hitler, he wanted to be rid of “every last Jew.” As Husseini wrote in his memoirs, “Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: ‘The Jews are yours.’
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