Amin al Husseini and Adolf Hitler

Amin al Husseini and Adolf Hitler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



1. The issue of Hajj Amin el Husseini and the Jews by Francisco Gil White

2. Analysis of this article by themarxistblog


3. Photos of Hajj Amin el Husseini and their relevance

(this article is under construction, a work in progress)


Immediately after the war, Husseini’s  Nazi activities were well understood, as the article from The Nation (1947) which I have posted  to the right of this column attests. But then a tremendous silence about  Husseini and his Nazi years developed. Certainly the media, which displays  always the latest news on the Arab-Israeli conflict in its front pages, has  had nothing to say about the Nazi  origins of PLO/Fatah ever since  PLO/Fatah was created in the 1960s.  The silence in academia has been equally deafening.

Historian Rafael Medoff,  in an article from 1996, wrote the following:

“Early  scholarship on the Mufti, such as the work of Maurice Pearlman and Joseph Schechtman, while hampered by the inaccessibility of some  key documents, at least succeeded in conveying the basic facts of the Mufti’s  career as a Nazi collaborator. One would have expected the next generation of  historians, with greater access to relevant archival materials (not to mention  the broader perspective that the passage of time may afford) to improve upon  the work of their predecessors. Instead, however, a number of recent  histories of the Arab-Israeli conflict have played fast and loose with the  evidence, producing accounts that minimize or even justify the Mufti’s Nazi  activity.”[1]

What Medoff refers to  above as “early scholarship on the Mufti” is early indeed. The work of  Pearlman and Schechtman that he cites is from 1947  and 1965:

Pearlman, M.  (1947). Mufti of Jerusalem: The story  of Haj Amin el Husseini. London: V Gollancz.

Joseph B. Schechtman, The  Mufti and the Fuehrer, New York, 1965.

After this ensued a  tremendous academic silence on the Mufti Husseini. In fact, Medoff can refer us to no academic work on Husseini  before 1990. His article, recall, is from 1996. The few academic mentions of  Husseini that he could find from  1990 to 1996 were either completely  silent on the Mufti’s Nazi years—as if they had never happened—or else  they relegated a ‘summary’ of those years to a single paragraph (or even just  a sentence) that left almost  everything out. Some authors even claimed (entirely in passing) that Husseini’s Nazi activities had been supposedly imagined  by “Zionist propagandists.”

But recent scholars who have studied Hajj Amin al  Husseini in depth, such as Rafael Medoff, have  confirmed what his early biographers had already established:

<!–[if !supportLists]–>1)     <!–[endif]–>that  Husseini traveled to Berlin in late 1941, met with Hitler, and discussed with  him the extermination of the Middle Eastern Jews (whom Husseini had already  been killing for some 20 years);

<!–[if !supportLists]–>2)     <!–[endif]–>that  Husseini spent the entire war in Nazi-controlled Europe as a Nazi  collaborator;

<!–[if !supportLists]–>3)     <!–[endif]–>that Husseini helped spread Nazi propaganda  to Muslims worldwide (one of his famous exhortations goes like this: “Arabs,  rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you  find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor.  God is with you.”[2]);

<!–[if !supportLists]–>4)     <!–[endif]–>that  Husseini recruited thousands of Bosnian and Kosovo Muslims to Heinrich  Himmler’s SS, who went on to kill hundreds of thousands of Serbs, and tens of  thousands of Jews and Roma (‘Gypsies’).

It is beyond  dispute that Husseini did all that.  And in fact photographic evidence of Husseini’s  Nazi collaboration abounds on the internet.

But there has been quite an effort to whitewash Husseini’s responsibility in the German Nazi death camp  system specifically—in other words,  his responsibility in the Holocaust,  or as the Jews more properly say, in the Shoah (‘Catastrophe’). One  example of this whitewashing effort is Wikipedia’s page on Husseini.

Because of its emblematic nature, I shall now quote  from the  Wikipedia article on Hajj Amin al Husseini as I found it on 14 July, 2013  and then comment.

[Quote from  Wikipedia begins here]

Al-Husseini settled in Berlin in late  1941 and resided there for most of the war.[153] Various sources have repeated allegations, mostly  ungrounded in documentary evidence, that he visited the death camps of Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka and Mauthausen.[153] At  the Nuremberg trials,  one of Adolf Eichmann‘s  deputies, Dieter Wisliceny,  stated that al-Husseini had actively encouraged the extermination of European  Jews, and that he had had an elaborate meeting with Eichmann at his office,  during which Eichmann gave him an intensive look at the current state of the   “Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe”   by the   Third Reich.  Most of these allegations are completely unfounded.[153]

[Quote from Wikipedia ends here]

Consider first the phrase “completely unfounded” as  it attaches to any part of Wisliceny’s Nuremberg testimony.


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As part of the legal proceedings at the Nuremberg  War Crimes Tribunal, two independent witnesses (Andrej or Endre  Steiner and Rudolf Kasztner)—both of whom had had personal contact with  Dieter Wisliceny during the war—reported to the  Tribunal that in wartime conversations with Wisliceny  he had said certain things about Husseini’s role in  the Final Solution (the genocidal enterprise in which Wisliceny  was not just anybody but a highly-placed administrator). The Steiner and  Kasztner testimonies are quite similar to each other. Before his execution  for crimes against humanity, Nuremberg Tribunal investigators called on Wisliceny to either confirm or deny what these two  independent witnesses had said. Wisliceny did  correct them on minor points but he confirmed what they had both stated  concerning Husseini’s central and originating role  in the extermination program (consult footnote [3] to  read the Steiner and Kasztner testimonies).

So are these “completely unfounded” allegations? If  so, that would mean:

<!–[if !supportLists]–>1)     <!–[endif]–>that  in light of other, better established evidence, what Wisliceny  stated is impossible; and/or

<!–[if !supportLists]–>2)     <!–[endif]–>that Wisliceny  is less credible as a witness than witnesses who contradicted his statements.

So I ask: On  the basis of what evidence do the Wikipedia  editors argue that “most of these allegations are completely unfounded”?

At first it seems as though Wikipedia editors have  provided three sources but on closer inspection it is the same footnote,  repeated three times (in the space of four sentences). The footnote contains  this:

Gerhard Höpp  (2004). “In the Shadow of the Moon.” In Wolfgang G. Schwanitz.   Germany and the Middle East 1871–1945. Markus Wiener, Princeton.  pp. 217–221.

The title is incomplete. Gerhard Höpp’s  article is: “In the Shadow of the Moon: Arab Inmates in Nazi Concentration  Camps.” The full title makes it obvious that this article is not about  Husseini, something that readers who see only the truncated title in the  Wikipedia reference will not realize.

But, anyway, what does Höpp  say—entirely in passing—about Wisliceny’s testimony concerning Husseini? He says this  (and only this):

“Al-Husaini… is said not only to have had knowledge of the  concentration camps but also to have visited them. Various authors speak of the  camps at Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka, and Mauthausen. While the assumption that he visited the  Auschwitz camp in the company of Adolf Eichmann is supported by an affidavit  of Rudolf Kasztner, referring to a note by the Eichmann collaborator Dieter Wisliceny, the other allegations are entirely unfounded.”   (p.221)

Recall that Höpp is  Wikipedia’s thrice-cited source to ‘support’ that “most” of the following  three allegations are “completely unfounded”:

<!–[if !supportLists]–>1)     <!–[endif]–>that  Husseini visited death camps

<!–[if !supportLists]–>2)     <!–[endif]–>that  Husseini encouraged the extermination of the Jews;

<!–[if !supportLists]–>3)     <!–[endif]–>that Husseini met with Eichmann to  discuss said extermination.

But notice that Höpp says absolutely nothing about allegations 2  and 3.

And notice that, concerning allegation 1, Höpp uses the phrase “entirely unfounded” in a manner exactly opposite to the Wikipedia  editors who invoke him. For the Wikipedia editors, “most” of what Wisliceny says is “completely unfounded,” whereas for Höpp it is those allegations not backed by Wisliceny’s testimony  that he considers “entirely unfounded.”

Moreover, Höpp states:

“Speculation  on this and other misdeeds by the Mufti appear  unnecessary in view of his undisputed collaboration with the Nazis…” (p.221)

In other words, since we already know that Husseini  was a rabid anti-Semite who himself organized mass killings of Jews before he met the Nazis, and then also   with the Nazis, and discussed with  Hitler the extermination of the Middle Eastern Jews, and shouted on the Nazi  radio “Kill the Jews wherever you find them,” is it not a waste of time to  argue back and forth whether Husseini did or did not visit this or that death  camp with Eichmann?

But, I might add, why doubt it? And why doubt that  such a man encouraged the Nazis to exterminate the European Jews and also met  with Eichmann to discuss this program? (Unless, of course, such expressions  of doubt are intended as an apology for the Mufti…)

Let us now continue with the Wikipedia article:

[Quote from  Wikipedia continues here]

A single  affidavit by Rudolf Kastner reported that Wisliceny told  him that he had overheard Husseini say he had visited Auschwitz incognito in  Eichmann’s company.[154] Eichmann denied this at his trial in Jerusalem in 1961.  …Eichmann stated that he had only been introduced to al-Husseini during an  official reception, along with all other department heads. In the final judgement [sic], the Jerusalem court stated: “In the  light of this partial admission by the Accused, we accept as correct Wisliceny’s statement about this conversation between the  Mufti and the Accused. In our view it is not important whether this  conversation took place in the Accused’s office or elsewhere. On the other  hand, we cannot determine decisive findings with regard to the Accused on the  basis of the notes appearing in the Mufti’s diary which were submitted to  us.”[157] Hannah  Arendt, who attended the complete Eichmann trial,  concluded in her book Eichmann  in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil that, “The trial revealed only that all rumours about Eichmann’s connection with Haj Amin el  Husseini, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, were unfounded.”[158]

[Quote from  Wikipedia ends here]

I am confounded by Wikipedia’s choice of reliable  experts. The Jerusalem court that tried Eichmann for Crimes Against Humanity  concluded that “we accept as correct Wisliceny’s  statement about this conversation between the Mufti [Husseini] and the  Accused [Eichmann]” (the topic of which was to discuss how to exterminate the  European Jews); but Wikipedia editors prefer the contrary opinion of  philosopher Hannah Arendt, according to whom any claim of a relationship  between Husseini and Eichmann is “unfounded.” And why do they prefer Arendt?  Because she “attended the complete Eichmann trial.”

Didn’t the judges also attend?

Anyway, let’s look at Arendt more closely. To her,  two independent testimonies at Nuremberg concerning Husseini’s  relationship with Eichmann, later corroborated by Wisliceny,  a highly-placed eyewitness, are “rumours.” This is  strange. And, against this, Arendt simply accepts Eichmann’s denial. Doubly  strange. Why has Eichmann earned so much respect from Hannah Arendt?

But more to the point: Do we have reasons to  consider Eichmann a more credible witness than Wisliceny?

Arendt shouldn’t think so. She wrote Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the  Banality of Evil so that she could extend herself in deep ruminations  about the human soul based on (odd choice) Eichmann’s strange behavior at  trial, which led her to call him a “clown.” Wisliceny,  by contrast, was universally considered by prosecutors as a very careful  witness, who was painstaking in correcting the smallest details in the  testimony he was asked to comment on.[4]

(And Eichmann most certainly had motive to lie in order to diminish Husseini’s role in the Holocaust relative to his own, for  he was obviously proud of what he had done. Moreover, Husseini was still at  large, and busy organizing the ‘Palestinian’ movement, so better not to say  anything that could support a manhunt plus extradition procedures that might  derail Husseini’s ongoing effort to exterminate the  Jews in Israel, a project certainly dear to Eichmann’s putrefacient  heart, a project that, as he sat in the witness box, no doubt swam before his  mind’s eye as a pleasant future outcome to engulf those sitting in judgment  of him, or their children.)

Let us continue:

[Quote from  Wikipedia continues here]

Rafael Medoff concludes that “actually there is no evidence that the  Mufti’s presence was a factor at all; the Wisliceny  hearsay is not merely uncorroborated, but conflicts with everything else that  is known about the origins of the Final Solution.”[159]

[Quote from  Wikipedia ends here]

Rafael Medoff is  expressing an opinion. Is it reasonable? Here is the full passage in Medoff’s article:

“With regard to  the crucial question of what the Mufti knew and when he knew it, the evidence  requires especially careful sifting, and earlier scholars did not always take  sufficient care. Pearlman, for example, accepted as fact the unfounded  postwar claim by Wisliceny that the Mufti was “one  of the initiators” of the genocide. Of course, Pearlman was writing in  1946-1947, when the genesis of the annihilation process was not yet fully  understood. Other accounts at that time, such as a 1947 book written by  Bartley Crum, a member of the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry on  Palestine, likewise accepted Wisliceny’s claim. Schechtman, writing in 1964-1965, should have known  better. He made much of the fact that the Mufti first arrived in Berlin  shortly before the Wannsee conference, as if the  decision to slaughter the Jews was made at Wannsee,  when in fact the mass murder began in Western Russia the previous summer (at  a time when the Mufti was still deeply embroiled in the pro-Nazi coup in  Baghdad). Schechtman eventually conceded that ‘it  would be both wrong and misleading to assume that the presence of Haj Amin  el-Husseini was the sole, or even the major factor in the shaping and  intensification of the Nazi ‘final solution of the Jewish problem,’ which  supplanted forced emigration by wholesale extermination.’ Actually, there is  no evidence that the Mufti’s presence was a factor at all; the Wisliceny hearsay is not merely uncorroborated, but  conflicts with everything else that is known about the origins of the Final  Solution.”[5]

Medoff’s  argument turns on a semantic point. If we agree with him that the mass  killings of Jews on the Nazi Eastern front, which began before Husseini  arrived in Berlin, are part of the ‘Final Solution,’ then Husseini is not   “one of the originators” of the ‘Final Solution.’ But the question is not  what we agree to call ‘Final Solution.’ The question is whether the Nazis had  yet decided, before Husseini  alighted in Berlin, to create a death camp system to kill all of the European Jews. They had not. And that decision was formalized  at Wannsee, indeed shortly after Husseini arrived in Berlin.

Consider what historians say about the established  chronology of changes in Nazi policy on the so-called ‘Jewish Question.’

Gunnar Paulsson explains  that “expulsion”—not extermination—“had initially been the general policy of  the Nazis towards the Jews.”[6] Tobias Jersak writes: “Since the 1995 publication of Michael Wildt’s documentation on the SS’s Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst SD) and the ‘Jewish Question,’ it has  been undisputed that from 1933 Nazi policy concerning the ‘Jewish Question’   aimed at the emigration of all Jews, preferably to Palestine.”[7] Even  after the conquest of Poland, writes Paulsson,   “Jewish emigration continued to be permitted and even encouraged, while other  expulsion plans were considered.”[8]  Christopher Simpson points out that, though many Jews were being murdered,  and people such as Reinhard Heydrich  of the SS pushed for wholesale extermination, “other ministries” disagreed,  and these favored “deportation and resettlement,” though they disagreed about  where to put the Jews and how much terror to apply to them.[9] And so, “until the autumn of 1941,” conclude Marrus & Paxton, “no one defined the final solution  with precision, but all signs pointed toward some vast and as yet unspecified  project of mass emigration.”[10]

Hajj Amin al Husseini arrived in Berlin in “the  autumn of 1941”—to be precise, on 9 November 1941. So yes, there had already  been mass killings of Jews on the Eastern front, but for the hypothesis that  Husseini had something to do with the Nazi decision to set up the death camp system in order to kill   every last living European Jew  (instead of sending most to ‘Palestine’), Husseini arrived right on time.

The last part of Medoff’s passage—the one that Wikipedia quotes—is  especially problematic. He writes:

“Actually,  there is no evidence that the Mufti’s presence was a factor at all; the Wisliceny hearsay is not merely uncorroborated, but  conflicts with everything else that is known about the origins of the Final  Solution.”

Medoff  disparages the evidence we have as “hearsay.” Is it?

Wikipedia explains the legal definition of ‘hearsay’:

“information gathered by one person from another person  concerning some event, condition, or thing of which the first person had no  direct experience.”[11]

What we have are two   independent testimonies before the  Nuremberg Tribunal, by Andrej (Endre) Steiner and  Rudolf Kasztner, about their wartime conversations with Wisliceny,  the topic of which was Husseini’s key role in 1)  the decision to exterminate all of the  European Jews and, 2) the administration of the death-camp system. If these  two independent claims about what Wisliceny said  had not been corroborated by Wisliceny they would  still be significant, because they are independent and they agree. But in  fact these two independent testimonies were  corroborated by Wisliceny  himself. And Wisliceny most certainly did have “direct experience” of the  personal relationship between Eichmann and Husseini, because he was  Eichmann’s right-hand man.


<!–[if !supportLists]–>1)     <!–[endif]–>we do have evidence that the Mufti’s  presence was a factor;

<!–[if !supportLists]–>2)     <!–[endif]–>this  evidence is not hearsay because it  comes from Wisliceny; and

<!–[if !supportLists]–>3)     <!–[endif]–>given what we know  about Husseini’s character, deeds, and timely  arrival in Berlin, Wisliceny’s claims certainly do  not conflict “with everything else that is known about the origins of the  Final Solution.”

So every word in the Medoff  passage that Wikipedia quotes is false.

We continue:

[Quote from  Wikipedia continues here]

Bernard Lewis also called Wisliceny’s  testimony into doubt: “There is no independent documentary confirmation of Wisliceny’s statements, and it seems unlikely that the  Nazis needed any such additional encouragement from the outside.”[160]

[Quote from  Wikipedia ends here]

The full passage from Bernard Lewis’s work is the  following:

“According to Wisliceny, the Mufti was a friend of Eichmann and had, in  his company, gone incognito to visit the gas chamber at Auschwitz. Wisliceny even names the Mufti as being the ‘initiator’ of  the policy of extermination. This was denied, both by Eichmann at his trial  in Jerusalem in 1961, and by the Mufti in a press conference at about the  same time. There is no independent documentary confirmation of Wisliceny’s statements, and it seems unlikely that the  Nazis needed any such additional encouragement from outside.” [12]

So Eichmann and Husseini deny it and this is enough  for Lewis… If we apply his standards to any ordinary criminal investigation  we will be forced to let the main suspect go the minute he himself and/or his  alleged accomplice deny the charges. Presto! This will save a lot of  unnecessary police work.

The same can be said for his curious insistence that  without “independent documentary confirmation” the testimony of witnesses can  be dispensed with. But, naturally, a great many things that happen in the  world are not recorded in a document. Eyewitness testimony must be considered  carefully, but saying that “there is no independent documentary confirmation”   of a particular piece of testimony is not the same thing as producing good  reasons to doubt it. And to say, in the absence   of conflicting evidence, that our null hypothesis will be to consider as  true the opposite of what was  testified to, why that is simply absurd.

The above is obvious but Lewis’s last argument—“it  seems unlikely that the Nazis needed any such additional encouragement from  outside”—will appeal to many as reasonable, so it  deserves a more extended comment.

What Lewis is saying is that the Nazis decided on  total extermination for reasons that were ‘endogenous’ to their ideological  program. But though killing lots of Jews as part of a campaign of terror and  to make lebensraum for deserving  Aryan specimens on the Eastern front was certainly part of general Nazi  policy, the ‘Final Solution,’ as pointed out above, was initially and for a  long time a program of mass expulsion,  and did not contemplate (yet) exterminating the entire European Jewish population. Getting to that point required  some ‘exogenous’ prodding (“from outside”); it was not an ideological  requirement.

Historian Thomas Marrus  writes: “After the riots of Kristallnacht in  November 1938, SS police boss Heydrich was ordered  to accelerate emigration, and Jews were literally driven out of the country.  The problem was, of course, that there was practically no place for them to  go.”[13] The reason there was no place  for them to go is that no country would receive them. As historian James  Carroll points out:  “The same leaders,  notably Neville Chamberlain and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had denounced the  anti-Jewish violence of the Nazis declined to receive Jews as refugees.   …Crucial to its building to a point of no return was Hitler’s discovery  (late) of the political indifference of the democracies to the fate of the  Jews…”[14]  Though one may argue that this was not really “indifference” on the part of  Roosevelt et al. but a very special   interest (in their doom).[15] The main point here is that, as  historian Gunnar Paulsson points out: “Expulsion  had initially been the general policy of the Nazis towards the Jews, and had  been abandoned largely for practical,  not ideological, reasons” (my emphasis).[16]


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The Nazis were right bastards. No disagreement. But  they did need some encouragement to go that   far. They needed to be told, first, that they would not get rid of any  Jews by pushing them out to the ‘Free World.’ And then they needed to be  told, by British creation Hajj Amin al Husseini, that neither could they push  them out to ‘Palestine.’ Bernard Lewis is wrong.

Perhaps Wikipedia would like to try again with a new  set of ‘supporting’ sources? We will be waiting to examine them.




Israel cannot take a single step forward without a major upheaval in Israeli politics and the creation of a new leadership and government. Netanyahu must be forced to resign. A new revolutionary party with Trotskyist imput must be created inside the Israeli population.


The principles that this new leadership must be:


1. The Jews must be able to live alone in their own state


2. All others there as guests


3. International connections to fight against world Antisemitism


4. Jews themselves decide their own way of living and praying


5. Arabs who are based on Islam must leave


6. The land of Israel will be the land as was given to the Jews by the League of Nations Mandate of 1922, which followed on the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the San Remo Treaty of 1920



We agree with Martin Sherman. A first step in our opinion is for a great movement of Jews to force Netanyahu out of power.



Recent developments reveal a dramatic erosion in Netanyahu’s strategic perspectives that makes it impossible to justify his continued incumbency.
Prisoner releases only embolden terrorists…they encourage precisely the terrorist blackmail they are supposed to defuse. – Binyamin Netanyahu, Fighting Terrorism (1995)
What sort of people and government would agree to free the murderers of its own children and do it in the name of a presumed “goodwill” toward irreconcilable enemies? What might this people and government be thinking, especially when its hoped for quid pro quo is an obvious delusion? – Prof. Louis Rene Beres, “A crime without a punishment,” July 16, 2013
Binyamin Netanyahu must resign or be induced to do so.
By any measure of moral integrity and/or statesmanship, he simply cannot be allowed to continue to function as prime minister. He has deceived the public and misled the nation. He has defrauded the voters on whose support he gained political prominence and on whose ballots he ascended to power. He has reneged on past pledges and renounced the values he professed to cherish.
But worst of all, he has betrayed himself and the most basic principles he himself espoused as the foundation of his political credo and which he led the Israeli electorate and the Jewish people to believe he was committed to.
Repeatedly proved unequal to challenges
Netanyahu is a man of extraordinary talent with a remarkably impressive record of achievement.
He was an extraordinary UN ambassador, a superb foreign minister, and a highly effective finance minister. Indeed, in most industrial countries, he might even have made an outstanding prime minister.
But not in Israel. Here the demands are different and more taxing than elsewhere, the margins of error narrower, and the cost of error not only greater, but potentially tragic and terminal.
Accordingly, despite his undeniable capabilities, despite the distinction with which he has served his country in various capacities over four decades, as the nation’s chief executive he has proved himself – time and time again – unequal to crucial challenges.
Never his most caustic critic
Readers of this column will recall that I have never been one of Netanyahu’s most caustic critics.
Although I have differed sharply with him over several of his decisions, I have defended him, in both the local and the foreign press, against the almost maniacal malevolence of the media toward him (and his spouse), and its Pavlovian impulse to hold him responsible for every misfortune that befalls mankind – from droughts in New Mexico to floods in Southeast Asia.
As recently as January 10, in “Netanyahu: The Pathology,” I wrote, “Netanyahu has been given little credit for the numerous impressive feats he, and the governments he headed, have achieved,” and remarked that “the venomous ad hominem attacks on the PM… have long exceeded the limits of rational criticism and reasoned dissent.”
However, recent developments reveal a disturbing – indeed, dramatic – erosion in his strategic perspectives and policy preferences that make it impossible to justify his continued incumbency – even for a relatively restrained and respectful critic such as myself.
Collapse of Israeli political resolve
Of course, this erosion culminated in what can only be seen as a total collapse of Israeli political resolve: The egregious decision of the Netanyahu government not only to agree to the resumption of negotiations on the establishment of a Palestinian state, but to agree that the resumption be predicated on an prior agreement for the release of over 100 convicted perpetrators of some of the most heinous acts of slaughter imaginable.
This of course makes a mockery of solemn pledges that Israel would not agree to any a priori concessions as a condition for resuming negotiations with the Palestinians.
Moreover, Israel has been impeding construction in the Jewish communities across the pre-1967 lines with a self-imposed building freeze/slowdown, thus agreeing, albeit partially, to another Palestinian demand for the resumptions of talks.
Worse, even if Israel has not explicitly agreed to accept the pre- 1967 lines as a basis for negotiations, there are strong indications that it has tacitly complied with this calamitous condition. According to numerous press reports, the text of the invitation accepted by Israel states that “the goal of the negotiations is to implement the two-state solution on the basis of the ’67 lines with minor land swaps.”
So whether Israel acknowledges it or not, it has agreed to participate in a discussion on the establishment of a Palestinian state whose frontiers will be the indefensible pre-1967 lines – unless otherwise (mutually) agreed.
Quite apart from the fact that the entire issue of land swaps has a demeaning ring of “bartering birthrights,” the fact that they will have to be “mutually agreed” provides the Palestinians veto power over any deviation from the pre- 1967 “Auschwitz borders” in the delineation of their proposed state.
Staggering surrender
The decision taken last Sunday represents a staggering strategic surrender by Israel.
After all, as recently as May 2011, Netanyahu defiantly stood up, publicly, to Barack Obama and rejected the very formula (sans the prisoner release) he is now accepting.
Netanyahu’s courageous eloquence won him massive support across the US American political system including from senior Democrats such as Sen. Harry Reid who in effect endorsed his defiance of Obama at the AIPAC conference that took place at the time in Washington.
All this – and more – has now been irrevocably lost by a decision, substantively unjustifiable and morally indefensible, that will confer on the government the “privilege” of entering into negotiations on a formula for making the country geographically untenable, with an entity headed by a soon-to-be octogenarian leader, who is now in the ninth year of his four-year term, and whose authority is rejected by a wide swathe of the population he purports to represent.
You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Especially when you stop to consider that it is the Palestinians, allegedly suffering under the yoke of “occupation,” who should have the greater interest in pursuing the reopening of talks and hence be expected to be the party ready to make concessions, rather than delaying them by making exorbitant demands of Israel.
But this act from the theater of the absurd has far more profound and pernicious consequences than the exasperation, outrage and demoralizing despair that it generates in wide segments of the Israeli public and of the Jewish people across the globe.
Making Israel a laughing stock
It is difficult to overstate the gravity of the ramifications of the Netanyahu government’s decision.
It sends an unequivocal message to the Palestinians, the Arabs and the international community that no position articulated by Israel need be taken seriously. For Israel has proved that no matter how outlandish, outrageous, macabre or scandalous the demands of its adversaries, the Jews will eventually submit – irrespective of how resolutely they feign opposition to them initially.
The positions that Israel has now retreated to would have been unthinkable barely a decade and a half ago. Judging from the vision that Yitzhak Rabin articulated for a permanent agreement with the Palestinians in his final address to the Knesset in 1995, it is highly plausible to surmise that they would have been contemptuously rejected by the Noble Peace laureate, who at the time was fiercely attacked by then-leader of the opposition Netanyahu – for being overly concessionary.
As I said, you couldn’t make this stuff up.
By failing to withstand pressure, Israel has not only invited inevitable further pressure, but has crippled its ability to conduct effective negotiations in the future.
No matter what fork-tongued, fallacious flattery it might reap in the short run for its “flexibility,” Israel has made itself a laughing stock, unable to adhere to any principle, no matter how crucial, for any length of time.
Rebuffing ‘rationalizations’
Netanyahu-apologists have attempted to rationalize Israel’s capitulation by advancing various hypotheses as to the underlying reasons for such seemingly unreasonable conduct.
Typically, these attempts include one of two interrelated contentions (or both): Either that (a) irresistible pressure was exerted to extract the concessions backed up with threats of severe punitive measures if such concessions were not forthcoming; or that (b) Israel had to sacrifice certain strategic and security interests to preserve other, and presumably more vital, ones, such as stopping the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
Both these contentions are highly unpersuasive – but even if they are true they do not justify Netanyahu’s continued incumbency.
They are unpersuasive because if the Obama administration really considered some objective, say, the prevention of a nuclear Iran, an important US interest, would it condition the pursuit of that interest on the release of over 100 Judeocidal monsters? And if Israel refused, would the US forgo the pursuit of its own interests merely to punish its alleged ally, rather than pressure other parties to forgo their unreasonable preconditions? On the other hand, if the administration does not consider the prevention of a nuclear Iran an important US interest, does anyone really believe it would condone an Israeli attack on Iranian facilities, even if Israel did release 100 terrorists?
Dereliction of duty
But even if these claims are true, and intense pressure was in fact exerted and/or a strategic tradeoff had to be made in the situation that Secretary of State John Kerry’s persistence precipitated, they are still irrelevant to the inadmissibility of Netanyahu’s continued incumbency.
For although such situations were not only anticipated, but explicitly predicted, no mechanisms were put in place to contend with them. For decades Israel has left itself to be mauled in the court of public opinion, making it seemingly isolated, and vulnerable to international pressures aimed at wringing perilous concessions.
However, this not an inevitable consequence of some law of nature, but the results of decades of dereliction of duty, of neglect to establish an adequate public diplomacy endeavor that could contend, curtail and counter such pressures.
As the eloquent British columnist Melanie Phillips scolded in a brilliant but scathing interview on Israeli TV: “Israel has made itself defenseless… Israel has vacated the battlefield of ideas …”
Never a truer word was spoken.
In recent years, public support for Israel in the US has been near record levels, outstripping that for the Palestinians by a factor of 4 to 1. Yet this massive advantage has not been mobilized (purposely?) to impact US policy-making toward Israel.
After all, given the level of support Israel enjoys in the US, only incompetence, indolence or worse, can explain why any attempt to extort concessions that clearly imperil its security would not be so politically toxic that no administration would contemplate it.
Over the past five years I have been beseeching the Israeli government – at both senior ministerial and professional levels – to build appropriate mechanisms to deal with precisely such scenarios as have arisen in recent months – but to no avail.
Rationale for resignation
Much has been left unsaid – including broaching questions such as “If not Bibi, who?” and how his resignation can be effected in practice. Nor have I elaborated on the disturbing “catalogue of capitulation” that has characterized his incumbency over the years. However, the constraints of space compel me to forgo.
Suffice it to say that Netanyahu has now embraced a policy he spent decades berating, resisting and mobilizing publics at home and abroad to oppose. He thus has either failed to implement a policy he believes in, or is implementing a policy he does not believe in.
Whichever is true, this is an untenable situation which cannot continue.
Accordingly the only act of true leadership left for Netanyahu is to resign, and to resign without delay.
Martin Sherman ( is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. (

DEFEND THE SPANISH TRAIN DRIVER Francisco José Garzón and defends and supports 100% the Spanish train driver Francisco José Garzón

We defend Francisco especially from the Spanish Media which is always cheap and sensationalist. It is also very cruel.

These workers have been driven to drive these ultra fast trains. Since the accident it has been shown that Francisco was following a very complicated type of track, in and out of tunnels, so easy to make a mistake.


This is a new precedent from this Rajoy Franco-type Government. A worker makes a mistake he is treated like a criminal.

The working class and Spain should make them pay for putting this worker, Francisco, in handcuffs.

Pay these workers more for this stressful job.

The best response that workers can make (and to show solidarity with this train driver) is for drivers of these stressful trains to have their wage tripled. At the very least. That is x3 their present wage.

All workers must join together now at this very stressful time to defend this train driver.

We wish Francisco all the best. For the sake of the working class of Spain he MUST get over this terrible situation that he has been forced to endure. AGAIN IT IS NOT HIS FAULT

The working class of Spain needs Francisco in the great battles that are ahead y defiende y 100% compatible con el conductor del tren español Francisco José Garzón

Defendemos a Francisco especialmente de los medios de comunicación españoles que siempre es barato y sensacionalistas. También es muy cruel.

Estos trabajadores han sido expulsados a conducir estos trenes ultra rápidos. Desde el accidente se ha demostrado que Francisco estaba siguiendo a un tipo muy complicado de pista, dentro y fuera de los túneles, tan fáciles cometer un error.

Este es un nuevo precedente de este gobierno de Rajoy Franco-tipo. Un trabajador comete un error que es tratado como un criminal.

La clase obrera y España deberían hacerles pagar por poner este trabajador, Francisco, esposado.

Pagar más por este trabajo estresante a estos trabajadores.

La mejor respuesta que los trabajadores pueden hacer (y para mostrar solidaridad con este conductor del tren) es para los conductores de estos trenes estresantes tener su salario se triplicó. Por lo menos. Que es x 3 su salario actual.

Todos los trabajadores deben unirse ahora en este momento muy estresante para defender este conductor del tren.

Deseamos a Francisco todo lo mejor. Por el bien de la clase obrera de España tiene que sobre esta terrible situación que se ha visto obligado a soportar. OTRA VEZ NO ES SU CULPA

La clase obrera de España necesita a Francisco en las grandes batallas que están adelante