Monday, September 28, 2009

German apologists downplay Arab-Nazi axis

An exhibition in Berlin detailing Arab-Nazi collaboration was initially cancelled, then scaled down. The episode is typical of how German apologists play down Arab identification with Nazi antisemitism - a collaboration which was never discredited in the Arab world - the exhibit organiser Karl Rossel told Daniel Schwammenthal of the Wall St Journal. (With thanks: Lily)

One widespread myth about the Mideast conflict is that the Arabs are paying the price for Germany's sins. The notion that the Palestinians are the "second victims" of the Holocaust contains two falsehoods: It suggests that without Auschwitz, there would be no justification for Israel, ignoring 3,000 years of Jewish history in the land. It also suggests Arab innocence in German crimes, ignoring especially the fascist past of Palestinian leader Haj Amin al Husseini, who was not only Grand Mufti of Jerusalem but also Waffen SS recruiter and Nazi propagandist in Berlin. When a German journalist recently tried to shed some light on this history, he encountered the wrath of the Arab collaborators' German apologists.

Karl Rössel's exhibition "The Third World in the Second World War" was supposed to premier on Sept. 1 in the "Werkstatt der Kulturen," a publicly funded multicultural center in Berlin's heavily Turkish and Arab neighborhood of Neukölln. Outraged by the exhibition's small section on Arab complicity in Nazi crimes, Philippa Ebéné, who runs the center, cancelled the event. Among the facts Ms. Ebéné didn't want the visitors of her center to learn is that the Palestinian wartime leader "was one of the worst and fanatical fascists and anti-Semites," as Mr. Rössel put it to me.

The mufti orchestrated the 1920/1921 anti-Jewish riots in Palestine and the 1929 Arab pogroms that destroyed the ancient Jewish community of Hebron. An early admirer of Hitler, Husseini received Nazi funding—as did Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood—for his 1936-1939 Palestinian revolt, during which his thugs killed hundreds of British soldiers, Jews and also Arabs who rejected his Islamo-Nazi agenda. After participating in a failed fascist coup in Iraq*, he fled to Berlin in 1941 as Hitler's personal guest. In the service of the Third Reich, the mufti recruited thousands of Muslims to the Waffen SS. He intervened with the Nazis to prevent the escape to Palestine of thousands of European Jews, who were sent instead to the death camps. He also conspired with the Nazis to bring the Holocaust to Palestine. Rommel's defeat in El Alamein spoiled these plans.

(Associated Press) Hezbollah terrorists practising a familiar salute in 2008.

After canceling the exhibition, Ms. Ebéné clumsily tried to counter the impression that she had pre-emptively caved to Arab pressure. As a "non-white" person (her father is Cameroonian), she said, she didn't have to fear Arabs, an explanation that indirectly suggested that ordinary, "white," Germans might have reason to feel less safe speaking truth to Arabs.

Berlin's integration commissioner, Günter Piening, initially seemed to defend her. "We need, in a community like Neukölln, a differentiated presentation of the involvement of the Arabic world in the Second World War," Der Tagesspiegel quoted him as saying. He later said he was misquoted and following media criticism allowed a smaller version of the exhibit to be shown.

(Corbis) Palestinian leader Haj Amin al Husseini inspecting a Muslim SS parade in 1944.

Mr. Rössel says this episode is typical of how German historians, Arabists and Islam scholars deny or downplay Arab-Nazi collaboration. What Mr. Rössel says about Germany applies to most of the Western world, where it is often claimed that the mufti's Hitler alliance later discredited him in the region. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the Mideast, Nazis were not only popular during but also after the war—scores of them found refuge in the Arab world, including Eichman's deputy, Alois Brunner, who escaped to Damascus. The German war criminals became trusted military and security advisers in the region, particularly of Nazi sympathizer Gamal Nasser, then Egypt's president. The mufti himself escaped to Egypt in 1946. Far from being shunned for his Nazi past, he was elected president of the National Palestinian Council. The mufti was at the forefront of pushing the Arabs to reject the 1948 United Nations partition plan and to wage a "war of destruction" against the fledgling Jewish state. His great admirer, Yasser Arafat, would later succeed him as Palestinian leader.

The other line of defense is that Arab collaboration with the Nazis supposedly wasn't ideological but pragmatic, following the old dictum that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." This "excuse" not only fails to consider what would have happened to the Jews and British in the Mideast had the Arabs' German friends won. It also overlooks the mufti's and his followers' virulent anti-Semitism, which continues to poison the minds of many Muslims even today.

The mufti "invented a new form of Jew-hatred by recasting it in an Islamic mold," according to German scholar Matthias Küntzel. The mufti's fusion of European anti-Semtism—particularly the genocidal variety—with Koranic views of Jewish wickedness has become the hallmark of Islamists world-wide, from al Qaeda to Hamas and Hezbollah. During his time in Berlin, the mufti ran the Nazis' Arab-language propaganda radio program, which incited Muslims in the Mideast to "kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion." Among the many listeners was also the man later known as Ayatollah Khomeini, who used to tune in to Radio Berlin every evening, according to Amir Taheri's biography of the Iranian leader. Khomeini's disciple Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still spews the same venom pioneered by the mufti as do Islamic hate preachers around the world.

Muslim Judeophobia is not—as is commonly claimed—a reaction to the Mideast conflict but one of its main "root causes." It has been fueling Arab rejection of a Jewish state long before Israel's creation.

Read article in full

* this was followed by the Farhoud in Iraq which killed some 179 Jews


Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

this is very interesting. I would add to Karl Rossel's account that the Mufti did not orchestrate the 1929 pogroms alone but was encouraged, aided and abetted by the British administration in the country. On this see, Pierre van Paassen's accounts in Forgotten Ally and Days of Our Years. Also see Albert Londres, Le Juif errant est arrive.

I also want to mention an article by the scholar/historian Tsvi Tsameret in HaUmmah, no. 175, Fall 2009. The article is entitled: "Jews in Islamic states -- From one million to several tens of thousands" [in Hebrew].

scott krane said...

good reading...
please swing by my site.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

I found a website for this journal,

However, only one or two articles per issue get onto the website. Maybe you could write to Dr Tsameret at the Ben Zvi Institute and ask him to send you the article in Hebrew. Here is the link to the "contact us" page of the Ben Zvi website.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Angie Nader might consider the article at this link to be food for thought:

Anonymous said...

This is a storm in a tea cup. The reason the exhibition was rejected by the multi-cultural institution Werkstatt der Kulturen was because Karl Rössel's exhibition was considered racist for reasons I will explain later.

The reason you are at all reading anything about this issue is because Karl Rössel is a journalist who knows exactly how to time innuendos of anti-semitism. In a later statements he admitted that he "only assumed that the reasons why his exhibition wasn't hung was because of the mufit".

This is how crazy these debates have become when it comes to Arabs, an experienced journalist who in this case is the exhibitor himself is writing inflammatory press releases, claiming that a small cultural institution in Berlin refused to hang certain images of an Arab collaborator and the press jumps at it, because everyone these days hates muslims.

The real reasons his badly researched exhibition was rejected were that Karl Rössel is exhibitin a bad colonial show in which he portrays any non-white soldier during WW2, even if thay hailed from the US, Britain, France or maoris from New Zealand and native Americans, as third worldler.

Anyone outside Europe understands that this is idiotic, but hey presto here go the unitelligent reprints of his lies.

Interestingly, the people on this blog who went to see the exhibition went there to look for only more information on collaboration, rather than what Rössel pretended the exhibition was about, namely getting an understanding of the contribution of the "now not so-called-anymore" developing world.

Haters like you are just looking for confirmation to hate.

If you haters want to continue hating Arabs go-ahead, everyone does, but don't pretend to abhor anti-semitism, because if you did you would have noticed that the exhibition lacked
- any mentioning of the holocaust, (3rd Reich without holocaust?)
- good picture research, as the pictures from Asia were embarassing, Rössel used a famous image from Asia and subtitled it with wrong locations, (doesn't matter it's not here in Europe anyway, by the way just one picture as opposed to 18 of the mufti)
-the former USSR wasn't mentioned and so on. (3rd Reich without USSR hmm)

But the only thing that matters to you haters is that a lie is propagated in which you want to believe it like real Nazis should.

Rössel wants to sell his world view into publishing houses who write text books for schools that is all he is interested in.

I cannot believe that you supposedly '"pro-semitic' peolpe here on the blog have not noticed that he is also managing to point all the blame for the 3rd Reich at Arabs. Even Nazis who have tried to aportion blame for the holocaust didn't manage to do this, and you guys in your islamophobia are really subscribing to that view - laughable.

In a minute or two you will have convinced yourself that it was not the Germans but the evil Arabs who killed all the Jews during the 3rd Reich.

bataween said...

This blog welcomes an account of the exhibition and its shortcomings by anyone who has actually seen it.
Unfortunately, you assume that readers of this blog are anti-Arab, or 'Arab haters', or wish to pin the blame for the third Reich on the evil Arabs'. Nothing can be further from the truth and I take exception to such a sweeping and ill-founded generalisation.
But in our experience sadly, historical fact - the connivance of Arabs and especially the Palestinian Arab leadership with the Nazis - is too often DENIED, and you have failed to give us any kind of reassurance that the exhibit in its revised form was not one more example of denial to suit a politically-correct agenda exonerating Arabs from any association with the Nazis.