Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin NetanyahuMiriam Alster/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu doubled down on the claim he made Tuesday in a speech, according to which Adolf Hitler did not want to annihilate the Jews but to expel them, and it was Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini who convinced him to murder them.

Accusations by leftist politicians, that he had absolved Hitler from blame for the Holocaust, were "absurd," he said.

"I had no intention of absolving Hitler for his diabolical responsibility for the annihilation of the Jews of Europe," Netanyahu told reporters before flying to Germany. "Hitler is responsible for the Final Solution for annihilating the Six Millions; he made the decision.

"By the same token," he argued, "it is absurd to ignore the role that the Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a war criminal, played in encouraging Hitler, Ribbentrop, Himmler and others, to annihilate the Jews of Europe. There are numerous testimonies to this, including that of Eichmann's deputy in the Nuremberg trials, not now but after World War Two."

"He said: 'The Mufti played a role in the decision to annihilate the Jews of Europe. One must not ignore the importance of his role. The Mufti repeatedly suggested to the authorities he was in touch with, and first and foremost to Hitler, Ribbentrop and Hitler, to annihilate the Jews of Europe. He saw that as a proper solution for the Palestinian question.'

"And Eichmann's deputy added: 'The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic destruction of Europe's Jews, and was a partner and advisor to Eichmann and Hitler in carrying out this plan,'" Netanyahu said. 

Sniping back at his critics, he added: "This attempt by certain researchers and certain personages to provide apologetics for the central and important role Hajj Amin Al-Husseini played, is clear. Many other researchers cite this testimony and others, regarding the role played by Hajj Amin Al-Husseini.

"My goal was not to absolve Hitler for the responsibility he bears, but to show that the father of the Palestinians at that time, with no [Jewish] state and no so-called 'occupation,' no territories and no settlements, already sought, through systematic incitement, to annihilate the Jews. Regrettably, Hajj Amin al-Husseini is still a venerated figure in Palestinian society, he appears in study books and is exalted as the father of the nation, and this incitement that began then, incitement to kill Jews, continues. Not in the same form, in a different form, and it is the root problem. To stop the murder, the incitement must stop." 

Whitewashing Hitler?

Radical left wing Meretz head MK Zehava Galon accused Netanyahu of whitewashing Hitler in his speech Tuesday at the Zionist Congress.

"Hitler did not want to annihilate the Jews at the time," she quoted Netanyahu as saying. "He wanted to expel them. And Hajj Amin al-Husseini went to him and said – 'if you expel them, they will all come here.' 'So what shall I do with them?', Hitler asked, and Husseini answered – 'burn them.'"

"This is not a speech by Jorg Haider," wrote Galon on Facebook Wednesday – referring to the late Austrian right wing leader, who reportedly associated with Holocaust deniers. "It is not a portion from the doctoral thesis of Abu Mazen," she added, referencing Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who denied the Holocaust. "This is a completely real quote from the Prime Minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, yesterday, behind the podium of the Zionist Congress. Unbelievable."

"Maybe we should exhume the 33,771 Jews who were murdered at Babi Yar in September of 1941, two months before the Mufti and Hitler even met, and inform them that the Nazis never meant to annihilate them," she wrote acerbically.

"Maybe Netanyahu should tell this to my Lithuanian relatives who were murdered by the Nazis along with almost 200,000 members of the Jewish community there, also before the Mufti and Hitler met."

Labor leader MK Yitzhak Herzog made similar accusations against Netanyahu.