Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's popularity among Israelis has been far from favorable, and to some, his recent remarks essentially excusing Hitler for the Holocaust may have been the last straw.
In a shocking statement to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said Hitler was talked into the mass murder of Jews by former Palestinian grand mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini.
Historians, politicians and social media users were quick to shut them down, pointing out similarities between Netanyahu's comments and other statements made by Holocaust deniers.
"Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time," Netanyahu said. "He wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, 'If you expel them, they'll all come here.' 'So what should I do with them?' he asked. He said, 'Burn them.'"
Here's the Palestine Liberation Organization's reply to his comments on Twitter.
Dr. Erekat: Netanyahu hates Palestinians so much that he is willing to absolve Hitler of the murder of 6 million Jews.— Palestine PLO - NAD (@nadplo) October 21, 2015
Netanyahu quickly backtracked on his statement later in a press conference Wednesday, when he said Hitler was responsible for the "final solution" and made the decision to exterminate Jews. But not before people jumped to point out his fatal slip.
No one in 1985 could have predicted that the PM of Israel in 2015 would claim Hitler did not want to commit the Holocaust.— Raf (@1Rafz) October 21, 2015
This would seem to fall under the IHRA's working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion. | https://t.co/C6qpQPchk1— Pádraig Ó Duirnín (@fernetower) October 21, 2015
To check claims Netanyahu's comments qualify as Holocaust denial, here are few definitions from expert sources.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance:
Holocaust denial may include publicly denying or calling into doubt the use of principal mechanisms of destruction (such as gas chambers, mass shooting, starvation and torture) or the intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum:
Holocaust denial is an attempt to negate the established facts of the Nazi genocide of European Jewry. Key denial assertions are: that the murder of approximately six million Jews during World War II never occurred; that the Nazis had no official policy or intention to exterminate the Jews; and that the poison gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp never existed.
A publication in the Institution for Jewish Policy Research:
The kinds of assertions in Holocaust-denial material include the following ... The Nazi command had a policy for deporting Jews, not exterminating them.
By Hayat Norimine
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