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25
Oct
2015

Investigating the Role of Palestinians and Arabs in the Holocaust


Amin al Husseini greeting Bosnian Waffen-SS

November 1943 Amin al-Husseini greeting Bosnian Waffen-SS volunteers
with a Nazi salute

On Oct. 24, 2015, Ha’aretz columnist Chemi Shalev criticized an “ostensibly academic” article entitled “Palestinians, Arabs, and the Holocaust,” that appeared in the Jewish Political Studies Review in March 2015, written by Prof. Joseph S. Spoerl, Professor of Philosophy at St. Anselm College, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Spoerl writes:

The claim that Palestinians and Arabs had nothing to do with the Holocaust is false. In fact, Arab and Palestinian leaders played a significant role in aiding and abetting the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews in Europe and they hoped to implement the genocide in the Middle East. A growing number of publications, including extensive original, high-quality archival scholarship, proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. Among the major authors are: Zvi Elpeleg, Klaus Gensicke, Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cuppers, Matthias Kuntzel, Jeffrey Herf, Wolfgang Schwanitz, and Barry Rubin.

A careful examination of this history shows that…the Arab-Israel War of 1947-9…was a war of self-defense against a ruthless, pro-Nazi, and openly genocidal Palestinian leadership that enjoyed enormous popularity among the Arab and Palestinian masses….If [the Palestinians] cared about justice, they would apportion a substantial share of the blame for the nakba or “catastrophe” of 1948 to themselves and would admit the existence of widespread Jew-hatred in the Arab and Islamic world and its role in undermining peace between Jews and Arabs from the 1920s to the present.

The historical role of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, his active collaboration with Nazi Germany, its consequences and living legacy are subjects that need to be discussed honestly and in depth, independently of the constraints of politics and political correctness.

For a contrasting view on this issue, see a book review by Johannes Houwink ten Cate, Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Amsterdam, of Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, in the Jewish Political Studies Review.

 

About Joel Fishman

Dr. Joel Fishman is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs.  He served as the assistant editor of volumes X (July 1920-December 1921) and XI (January 1922-July 1923) of The Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann (Jerusalem: Israel Universities Press, 1977).
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