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ACHILLE’S HEEL: The muftí, the Nazis, and the ‘Palestinian Authority’



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PART 3 :

 Arguments and evidence





Historical and Investigative Research – 5 Jan 2016, by Francisco Gil-White






When I gave a talk on Netanyahu’s statements concerning the organizing role played by Hajj Amin al Husseini—founding father of the Arab Palestinian movement—in the Nazi Final Solution, I found myself in a controversy with José Hamra Sasson, who tried to censor my acts of communication. I published an article about this controversy in Enlace Judío, followed by Hamra’s answer. Now I reply. In my first reply, I focused on the censorship. Here, I focus on the history of the Arab Palestinian movement and Hamra’s efforts to defend that there is no link between this movement and Nazi ideology.






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José Hamra Sasson and I have a controversy about the history—and in consequence the ideology—of the Arab Palestinian leadership.[1] This reduces to a disagreement about the relationship between Hajj Amin al Husseini and PLO/Fatah (today’s ‘Palestinian Authority’). Husseini, founding father of the Arab Palestinian movement, and also a great Nazi exterminator of Jews, was not a bit involved, says Hamra, with the origin of the organization that the US government and its ‘international community’ seek to impose as sovereign over strategic territory of the Jewish State.

Before delving into our differences, I will begin by making clear what we do agree on.

In his reply to my first article, Hamra writes:

“There is no proof whatever that the mufti Amin al Husseini was the founder of Fatah and PLO. The mufti was marginalized by the Palestinian leadership after World War II for his alliance with the Axis powers. His pro-Nazi past and his antisemitism relegated him from regional politics. At most, the mufti became a symbolic figure for his relevance during the years of the British Mandate. His errors as a Palestinian leader in the geopolitical context of World War II turned him into a marginal figure.”

On the foregoing, I agree with Hamra on the following points: Husseini, ‘Grand Mufti’ of Jerusalem, was of enormous “relevance during the years of the British Mandate” for Palestine, when he became the foremost “Palestinian leader.” In the “geopolitical context of World War II,” the mufti, whose central ideology was “his antisemitism,” placed the Palestinian movement in clear-cut “alliance with the Axis powers” and pursued a “pro-Nazi” policy.

What policy?

From late 1941 to the end of the war Husseini was a high oficial of the Third Reich. Evidence exists to accuse him of having instigated and administered, with Adolf Eichmann, the entire death camp system. What nobody denies—it is, after all, recorded in the Nazi minutes themselves—is that in November 1941, in Berlin, Hitler and Husseini agreed to exterminate the Jews living in British Mandate Palestine (what today is Israel).[2] This plan could not be carried out. But what Husseini was able to do—and on this point there is also zero controversy—was to organize SS Muslim divisions that participated in the Yugoslav chapter of the Holocaust, massacring Serbs, Jews, and Roma. British parliamentarians, at the end of the war, insisted that he be tried at the Nuremberg Tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but he escaped to Cairo.[3]

In my Día Limud conference, and in my first article, I shared the details of Husseini’s unthinkable crimes. Somewhat strangely, Hamra refers to them as “errors”—but he does not dispute them. So Hamra and I agree that the mufti Husseini, founding father of the Arab Palestinian movement, must be included in the group of great Nazi exterminators that organized the Final Solution.

However, Hamra sees in the Palestinian movement’s history—and here lies our controversy—an alleged discontinuity, personified by two figures that, according to him, are entirely unlike each other: Husseini, the Nazi exterminator, and Yasser Arafat, the leader of Fatah, the PLO, and the ‘Palestinian Authority.’

Hamra writes:

“There is no proof whatever that the mufti Amin al Husseini was the founder of Fatah and PLO.”

When Hamra says “no proof whatever,” I should point out, this means to him that no historian has made the claim. Thus, in my 8 November conference at Día Limud, Hamra challenged me to produce the name of a historian—any historian—who had tied the creation of PLO/Fatah to Hajj Amin al Husseini, the Nazi exterminator of Jews. Howard Sachar, I proposed. But Hamra returned that he had the names of 10 historians who stated the opposite. I requested one name. Barry Rubin, he said. My next move was to publish my article citing Sachar and Rubin—my standard and his—both linking the origin of PLO/Fatah to the mufti Husseini.

Hamra now replies:

“Gil-White’s proffered citation of [historian] Howard M. Sachar is out of context. Sachar emphasizes Nasser’s role in the creation of the PLO in 1964. Sachar does not relate the mufti directly with Arafat. They may have known each other, but that does not imply that the mufti’s ideology influenced the future Palestinian leadership. In his article, Gil-White omits Sachar’s position on this.”

When “proof whatever” means a claim made by a historian, to be “out of context” is to put words in Sachar’s mouth without taking the trouble to cite him, as Hamra does. Let us, rather, take a look at what this historian says.

Howard Sachar describes Fatah thus:

“a rival, and [compared to the PLO] even more radical Palestinian group in Syria, the Fatah (Arab Liberation Movement), organized several years earlier by veterans of the Mufti’s [Hajj Amin al Husseini’s] former Arab Higher Committee.[4]

To lead Fatah, Husseini appointed his favorite: Yasser Arafat.

On the relationship between them, two categories of author exist: one kind attributes their intimacy to their family kinship; the other claims they only pretended to be relatives out of mutual affection.[5] Howard Sachar is in the first category:

“The Fatah leader’s actual name was Abd al-Rahman abd al-Rauf Arafat al-Qud al-Husseini. He shortened it to obscure his kinship with the discredited ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Muhamad Amin al Husseini.[6]

Arafat’s effort to ‘obscure’ his kinship with his mentor, the Nazi exterminator (discredited in the West but not among Arabs), may explain the perception of some (e.g. Hamra) who see discontinuity in the Palestinian movement.

But my controversy with Hamra is, pointedly, about Sachar’s claims. It is obvious that Sachar does “relate the mufti directly with Arafat” and moreover makes clear that “the mufti Amin al Husseini was the founder of Fatah.” It is fair to ask: Why is Hamra claiming otherwise? Did he even read Sachar’s book? More to the point: Did he not consult the footnotes in my first article?

And what of the PLO?

Hamra writes: “Sachar emphasizes Nasser’s role in the creation of the PLO in 1964.” And Hamra regales us with a rather enormous list of historians “who do not claim that the mufti created the PLO.” The implication is that Sachar and this other multitude all maintain that Husseini had nothing whatever to do with the PLO; that was Nasser’s thing alone. Is this true?

We can settle this, once again, by quoting Sachar:

“ February 1967 the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] leader [Ahmed Shukeiry] was wounded in an assassination attempt. For the while, as a result, the organization was at least partially immobilized by factional intrigues. (p.619)

“By [1970]…the splinterization of the guerilla ranks largely dictated the altered nature of their offensive against Israel. Nominally, most of them belonged to an umbrella coordinating federation, the Palestine Liberation Organization. Yet this prewar, Egyptian-dominated group had been seriously crippled by the June debacle, and its leader, Ahmed Shukeiry, had been forced into retirement. Since then, the PLO had experienced less a revival than a total reincarnation of membership and purpose under the leadership of Yasser Arafat. Consisting ostensibly of representatives of all guerilla organizations, the PLO in its resurrected form was almost entirely Fatah-dominated, and Arafat himself served as president of its executive. In this capacity he was invited to attend meetings of the Arab League, and won extensive subsidies from the oil-rich governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf.”[7] (p.698; emphasis mine)

Barry Rubin—Hamra’s standard—and his co-author Wolfgang Schwanitz agree quite precisely with Sachar:

“In December 1968, the thirty-nine-year-old Arafat, leader of the Fatah guerrilla group, was about to take over a PLO hitherto dominated by Abd an-Nasir.[8]

According to these authors, starting in 1970, ‘PLO’ is just Fatah’s new name. That’s why I always write ‘PLO/Fatah.’

What follows? That those historians in Hamra’s long list—those “who do not claim that the mufti created the PLO”—have been invited to a false controversy. Because neither I nor anybody else denies that the brand ‘PLO’ was created by Nasser in 1964. But by 1970, as we see, Fatah had swallowed the ‘PLO,’ adopting its name. So when the State of Israel negotiates with ‘the PLO,’ it is really negotiating with Fatah, created by Husseini, exterminator of Jews.

This is the substantive point.

I should point out that PLO’s fusion with Fatah does not affect very much the ideological question, because the original PLO had been created, as we see, by another “Nazi collaborator.” But it does affect a little, for Sachar informs us that Fatah was “even more radical” than Nasser’s PLO.

It was in the very period of transition, as Fatah was swallowing a weakened PLO, that the mufti—on his last leg, as he would die in 1974—intervened to hand over to Arafat the Palestinian baton. This is documented by Rubin & Schwanitz with a Lebanese intelligence report:

“On December 29, 1968, at a meeting in the ex-grand mufti’s home near Beirut, al-Husaini anointed Arafat as his successor.”[8]

According to Hamra, “[The mufti and Arafat] may have known each other, but that does not imply that the mufti’s ideology influenced the future Palestinian leadership.” But on this point Rubin and Schwanitz are quite clear:

“The [Palestinian] movement would be directed by these two sequential leaders and their similar philosophy and methods for an astounding eighty-three years, from al-Husaini’s becoming grand mufti in 1921 to Arafat’s death in 2004.” (emphasis mine) [8]

Barry Rubin—I remind you—is the referee that Hamra chose to settle our controversy. And I reproduced this quote in my first article. Why then does Hamra still deny that “the mufti’s ideology influenced the future Palestinian leadership”?

The problem appears to be a quite primitive error, a superstition: the belief that one alters reality by casting spells.

Hamra points out that Rubin & Schwanitz, even after documenting the Nazi collaboration of the entire Arab leadership, shy away from pinning on any Arab the label ‘Nazi.’ Not even on Husseini, whose Nazi bureaucracy (Buro des Grossmufti) had offices in the entire Nazi-German-occupied area, and which organized SS divisions that participated in the Holocaust massacres. Hamra concludes:

“Exactly. Even the book which comes closest to his theory’s account cannot support Gil-White’s main argument.”

Does Hamra really think that my “main argument” depends on whether any particular historian chooses daring rather than timid qualifiers?

I am not defending a semantic point. My argument is that the historical evidence suggests continuity of intentions and goals—the joyful extermination of the Jews—from Husseini to the ‘Palestinian Authority,’ which implies danger to Israel. That danger does not materialize of a sudden when some historian ‘authorizes’ the ‘Nazi’ qualifier for Husseini or PLO/Fatah; neither does it disappear when he ‘forbids’ it. Words don’t have magical powers.

Husseini, a verified genocidal monster, planned with Hitler the extermination of the soon-to-be Israeli Jews. Given such goals, and given that Arafat had “similar philosophy and methods,” the first hypothesis ought to be that Husseini set up Arafat so that, by means of Fatah (later PLO/Fatah), his protégé could seek to complete that postponed extermination. This hypothesis is confirmed by the outsize role that PLO/Fatah played in setting up Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamist Iranian state, whose leaders, each month, renew their promise to exterminate the Israelis.

But Hamra disputes this too.

By way of controverting the claim that “Arafat was the ‘architect’ of the Iranian revolution,” Hamra seeks ‘support’ in another book by Rubin. The quotation he reproduces, however, states plainly that PLO/Fatah armed and trained Khomeini’s forces. What then? Hamra makes much of the fact that, according to Rubin, Khomeini was a bit of an ingrate, though my own documentation suggests otherwise.[9] But even if this had been so, what matters here, regardless, are the intentions and goals of PLO/Fatah, betrayed in their (successful) efforts to create a regime that publicly announces the extermination of the Israelis.


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And, moreover, the most relevant evidence here concerns the recent and present relationship between PLO/Fatah and Iran. As I have documented, the Iranian ayatollahs allied with PLO/Fatah in the Second Intifada, took control of the most violent Fatah terrorists, and used them to make sure that Mahmoud Abbas became Arafat’s replacement.[9] In August 2015, right before signing a nuclear agreement with the US, Iran signed with PLO/Fatah—which is to say, with the ‘Palestinian Authority’—an agreement for “all out cooperation.”[10]

There is a—striking—continuity here with the intentions and goals of Husseini. And this matters. Because the Israeli Jews will be just as dead after the next Holocaust, though Hamra may shout his lungs to deny it was a proper ‘Nazi’ genocide.

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Francisco Gil-White, anthropologist and historian, is a professor at ITAM (Mexico City) and author of ‘Hajj Amin al Husseini, Tome 1 of The Collapse of the West: The Next Holocaust and its Consequences (for sale at Amazon).

Related readings

Gil-White, F. (2014). El Colapso de Occidente: El Siguiente Holocausto y sus Consecuencias (Tomo 1: Hajj Amin al Husseini). México, DF: FACES (Fundación para el Análisis del Conflicto, Étnico y Social).

Founder of Palestinian movement instigated the Holocaust

How did the 'Palestinian movement' emerge? The British sponsored it. Then the German Nazis, and the US.

PLO/Fatah's Nazi training was CIA-sponsored

Footnotes and further reading

[1] My original article:

“Achilles’ Heel: The muftí, the Nazis, and the ‘Palestinian Authority’; Historical and Investigative Research; 16 November 2015; by Francisco Gil-White

Hamra’s reply:

“De talones y teorías de la conspiración: a los lectores de Enlace Judío”; Enlace Judío; 24 de Noviembre 2015; por José Hamra Sasson

[2] Author: Germany. Auswärtiges Amt. Title: Documents on German foreign policy, 1918-1945, from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry. Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik. English Publisher: Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1949- Description: Book v. fold. maps. 24 cm. (Series D, Vol. XIII no. 515) 

Extract from the document:

“The Führer then made the following statement to the Mufti, enjoining him to lock it in the uttermost depths of his heart

1. He (the Führer) would carry on the battle to the total destruction of the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe.

2. At some moment which was impossible to set exactly today but which in any event was not distant, the German armies would in the course of this struggle reach the southern exit from Caucasia.

3. As soon as this had happened, the Führer would on his own give the Arab world the assurance that its hour of liberation had arrived. Germany's objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power. In that hour the Mufti would be the most authoritative spokesman for the Arab world. It would then be his task to set off the Arab operations which he had secretly prepared. When that time had come, Germany could also be indifferent to French reaction to such a declaration.”

[3] Pearlman, M. (1947). Mufti of Jerusalem: The story of Haj Amin el Husseini. London: V Gollancz. (pp.80-82)

[4] Sachar, H. 2007 [1976]. A history of Israel: From the rise of Zionism to our time. New York: Knopf. (p.619)

[5] An example of the second category is David. N. Bossie, writing in the Washington Times:

“The mufti [Hajj Amin] barely escaped trial for [war crimes] by fleeing to Egypt in 1946. There he made young Yasser Arafat, then living in Cairo, his protégé. The mufti secretly imported a former Nazi commando officer into Egypt to teach Mr. Arafat and other teenage recruits the fine points of guerrilla warfare. Mr. Arafat learned his lessons well; the mufti was so proud of him he even pretended the two of them were blood relations.”

SOURCE: Washington Times; August 9, 2002; ‘Yasser Arafat: Nazi trained’; by David N. Bossie.

Among historians who do not take a position on the matter, we can mention Baruch Kimmerling and Joel Migdal (the first is probably the same “Kimmerling” mentioned by Hamra, without his first name, as another author who supposedly does not link Husseini directly with Arafat.

“One common story is that Arafat was born in Jerusalem, although more reliable evidence indicates he was actually born in Gaza and grew up in Egypt; another is that he was part of the Husseini clan...”

SOURCE: Kimmerling, B. & Migdal, Joel S. (2003). The Palestinian People: A History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (p.2003)

[6] Sachar, H. 2007 [1976]. A history of Israel: From the rise of Zionism to our time. New York: Knopf. (p.682)

[7] Sachar, H. 2007 [1976]. A history of Israel: From the rise of Zionism to our time. New York: Knopf.

[8] Rubin, B., & Schwanitz, W. G. (2014). Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East. New Haven & London: Yale University Press. (p.238)

[9] “PLO/Fatah and Iran: The Special Relationship”; Historical and Investigative Research; 25 May 2010; by Francisco Gil-White

[10] “PLO figure: Iran, Palestine in deal for all-out cooperation”; IRNA; 11 August 2015.




   Este video en Español



Enlace Judío interviews Francisco Gil-White on the subject
of Husseini, the Nazis, and the 'Palestinian Authority’ (Spanish)




Above : Images from Hajj Amin al Husseini’s
encounter with Hitler (November, 1941)

Below : The Nation article detailing Husseini’s
Nazi activities (May, 1947)




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