(JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he did not mean to suggest the Nazi attempt to exterminate Jews depended on the Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem.
In a post on his official Facebook page, Netanyahu said Friday that he wished to “clarify” the mufti’s relationship with the Nazis. Netanyahu prompted an uproar by saying in a speech on Oct. 20 that Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini had persuaded Hitler to kill the Jews rather than expel them.
Elaborating on a statement Netanyahu made immediately after receiving criticism for the speech, which some viewed at as absolving Adolf Hitler of some responsibility for the genocide, Netanyahu wrote on Friday: “Hitler and the Nazi leadership are responsible for the murder of six million Jews. The decision to move from a policy of deporting Jews to the Final Solution was made by the Nazis and was not dependent on outside influence. The Nazis saw in the Mufti a collaborator, but they did not need him to decide on the systematic destruction of European Jewry, which began in June 1941.”
Still, “the Mufti was one of those who supported the Nazi goal of destroying the Jews,” Netanyahu added. “My remarks were intended to illustrate the murderous approach of the Mufti to the Jews in his lengthy contacts with the Nazi leadership. Contrary to the impression that was created, I did not mean to claim that in his conversation with Hitler in November 1941 the Mufti convinced him to adopt the Final Solution. The Nazis decided on that by themselves.”
In his Oct. 20 speech, Netanyahu said: “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 [Hitler] asked. He [Husseini] said, ‘Burn them.’”