Cutting through the bullshit.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

They all hate us anyhow

On 29 July, Ibrahim ibn Yusuf over at The hasbara buster did a post on Dershowitz’s latest antics, effectively blaming Amin El Hussayni, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during the British Mandate, for the Final Solution. Ever since my last post on 30 July, I’ve been kicking myself for deferring reading that post until I’d finished my own, because apropos of Israeli street naming conventions, I would have learned

...Avraham Stern was a Jewish leader, and in 1941 he offered the Nazis to enter the war on Germany's side (see here for a facsimile of the proposal). The Palestinians can't be demonized for doing what the Jews also tried to do (although the Zionist defense for this is that Stern has been repudiated in Israel, this is yet another lie: streets in all major Israeli cities are named after this frustrated Nazi collaborator).

Ibrahim’s post makes two central points: that leaders of the Zionist movement were also cosying up to the Nazis during World War II and that Dershowitz has been characteristically cavalier with the facts. He claims that the Mufti ‘personally stopped 4,000 children, accompanied by 500 adults, from leaving Europe and had them sent to Auschwitz and gassed’. Ibrahim points out that Raoul Hilberg’s magisterial study of the Holocaust, The destruction of the European Jews, recounts a similar incident, but those 4500 people all safely emigrated to Palestine. It is unsurprising that Dershowitz would want to conclude from the Mufti’s objection to their emigration that his goal was the eradication of the Jews. A more obvious motivation would be to inhibit further Jewish colonisation of Palestine.

Since then, Ibrahim has been doing some research in the archives of the Palestine Post, where he’s discovered evidence refuting a number of myths about Zionist terrorism in 1947-48.

In the discussion of lenin’s post on the topic, I learned a lot about the Mufti. It appears that the post of Grand Mufti was probably invented by Herbert Samuels, the British High Commissioner, in 1921. Mohammad Amin al Husayni did not actually possess the qualifications in Islamic jurisprudence the post required. Although there was an election, I haven’t found much about the body that carried it out, but it appears to have been a college of Islamic jurists appointed by the Mandatory authorities. Al-Husayni came in fourth of the four candidates, but Samuels selected him anyway, suggesting that he was in the colonial administration’s pocket. His stay in Berlin was not in an official capacity – he was on the lam from the British and the Axis powers offered him sanctuary. He was apparently deeply sympathetic to the Final Solution and aspired to carry out his own upon his triumphant return to Jerusalem after the British defeat in WWII. But there is no evidence that he exercised any influence over any particulars, much less instigated it.

Dershowitz refers repeatedly to the Mufti’s ‘followers’ as if the entire population of Palestine were Nazi sympathisers. While he doubtless had followers within the various organisations he founded and led, there is no evidence that he enjoyed mass support. In any case, as Grand Mufti, al-Husayni was a colonial appointee, not the elected representative of the Palestinian people. And in that capacity, his role was to administer the al-Aqsa Mosque and other Muslim shrines in Jerusalem, not to articulate foreign policy or forge alliances.

But what if he was? What if the Grand Mufti really did represent the Palestinians and faithfully articulated their desire to rid the world of Jews? By what reasoning does that justify their ethnic cleansing, and only theirs? If the rationale is that all members of a population perceived to express support for an atrocity are complicit and the appropriate punishment for their complicity is forcible, permanent exile, then where would that leave the American Jews, 74% of whom admitted to the ADL in April that they approved of ‘the military action that Israel took in Gaza’? Perhaps Dershowitz doesn’t intend this principle to apply so generally. Maybe it only applies in cases of genocide, but where would that leave the American Jews, who applauded the massacre of Deir Yassin when they read of it in the NY Times? Or maybe it’s just support for the Shoah, which is absolutely uniquely evil in every respect, that is to attract collective punishment on this basis? Even then, we are still left with the question Dershowitz set out to answer, why is it the Palestinians alone who deserve this fate? Surely there was support for Judeocide among populations outside of Palestine during World War II? So how did it come to pass that the Germans weren’t forced into Poland and Denmark to make way for the Jewish national home?

The answer is obvious. Either in the wet noodle-sharp juridical reasoning of Harvard Law Professors, supporting the Holocaust deserves to attract a more severe penalty than carrying it out, or the Germans, as a civilised European nation, were exempt, while the Palestinians were just Arabs. In other words, it makes perfect sense if you’re a shameless racist shit.

In reality, of course, it has nothing to do with the Holocaust. Whatever hasbaristic spin you put on it, the Zionists had determined that they wanted to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. When their best efforts failed to secure a Jewish majority, they created one by expelling the Arabs.