When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu essentially said Palestinian grand mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini — not Hitler — was the driving force behind the Holocaust, people were shocked.
But 36-year-old Dana al-Husseini, one of the mufti's granddaughters, wasn't so surprised by his inflammatory comments. She'd heard it all before.
"It was almost expected," Dana Husseini told Al Bawaba in Amman, Jordan. "Mostly on Zionist websites we’ve seen this used as propaganda, linking Palestinians to the Holocaust and Nazism."
It's not the first time the mufti's been accused of being entrenched with Hitler; photos of a meeting in November 1941 between Hitler and Husseini have commonly worked to Palestine’s disadvantage. Last week in The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg cited the 1941 meeting in calling him one of Hitler's "most important Muslim allies."
Much like other darkly opportunistic parties involved in WWII, records show Husseini sought Nazi Germany's help in securing national rights in Arab states — particularly in Palestine, which was still under British Mandate — after the war finished.
But Dana Husseini rejects the idea that this singular face-to-face was any more than a deeply ill-advised attempt by her grandfather to gain better footing for Palestine. Not to mention, she said, the dark ideology behind Hitler's Germany did not look kindly on the Arabs, either.
"Hitler, of course, was known to dislike Semites, and we are also Semites," she said. "So I don’t think we were his favorite race either."
As the Internet has already outlined, there's a lot wrong with Netanyahu's comments. Aside from being historically inaccurate, subject scholars point out his quote technically qualifies as Holocaust denial.
Ironically, Dana Husseini thinks it could swing the pendulum in favor of the Palestinians at a time when tensions in Jerusalem are higher than they've been in a long time.
"I think blaming the Palestinians for the Holocaust is almost a way of justifying a genocide of the Palestinians," she said. "If anything this could be a positive thing for the Palestinian cause because people can see how far Netanyahu is willing to go to demonize the Palestinians."
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