NOAHIDES AND THE CELEBRATION OF PASSOVER

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy Richard Mather…

Religious holidays can be strange times for Noahides. Noahides do not observe Christian festivals like Easter and Christmas, and yet they may find themselves cut off from the celebration of Passover, partly because there are no Noahide customs to speak of and partly because many Noahides are not attached to a synagogue.

What is a Noahide? Noahides follow the Noahide Way, a divine moral code given to Adam, Noah and Moses. This code commands the establishment of courts of justice and prohibits idolatry, blasphemy, murder, sexual immorality, theft and cruelty to animals. These commandments are known as “The Seven Commandments of the Sons of Noah.”

Noahides, whose commandments predate Abraham, are not supposed to create new religious festivals, nor are they allowed to observe Jewish religious holidays in the manner of the Jewish people.

During Passover, Noahides find themselves in a quandary. How to observe this important holiday without trespassing on Jewish traditions? The general rule is that Noahides are allowed to observe Passover, the Sabbath and other holidays to some extent on the understanding that such observances are not commanded by Hashem. In other words, a Noahide has the option of commemorating Passover in a modified way, if he or she chooses to do so.

In his book The Divine Code, Rabbi Moshe Weiner reiterates the rabbinical prohibition of setting aside any day for a specific religious observance or statute. However, a Gentile is allowed to eat unleavened bread or sit in a sukkah booth if he does it “for his own satisfaction” and “is not establishing a festival for himself.”

So the removal of chametz (any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, or their derivatives, which has leavened or risen) is not required of Noahides. But there are things Noahides may do in order to appreciate the spirit of Passover, such as spring cleaning, donating to charity, reading the Exodus story or having a meal with family and friends, which is the suggestion of Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, from the Jerusalem Court for Bnei Noah.

But I am more persuaded by another of Rabbi Schwartz’s suggestions, which is to contemplate the concept of human freedom. The Exodus from Egypt, says the rabbi, profited Jew and Gentile alike in that it was “a cleansing from the bad habits of mankind.” Obviously, bad habits like theft and immorality are prohibited by the Noahide code. And a Gentile who cleanses himself from such “bad habits” and commits himself to the Noahide Way becomes one of the “pious ones of the nations” and earns himself an eternal portion in the World to Come.

Freedom is one of those words that mean different things to different people. Many of us can be thankful that will live in a country where there is freedom of the press. We can be thankful that we are not enslaved by a Hitler or a Stalin. On the other hand, too much freedom can be dangerous. Allowing Iran or Hamas to act with impunity, for example, endangers the freedom of Israeli and Western civilians.

There is a difference between liberty and license, which is why G-d commanded the establishment of courts of law. When it works properly, justice protects rather than hinders freedom. So it is right and just that murderers, rapists and terrorists have their freedom taken away. But this raises all kinds of issues such as why did Hashem create a world in which good and evil can operate freely?

The standard answer is that He gave us free will. And although He urges us to “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19), we have the choice to do otherwise. But even when we “miss the mark” or “go astray” there is the possibility of repentance, of turning towards Him and following his divine plan for goodness and kindness. Passover is an excellent time to remember Hashem’s power to punish and redeem. Even His punishment of the Egyptians is part of a wider redemptive plan – to liberate the Israelites and turn them into a light unto the nations.

Indeed, one of the reasons Passover is so important is that it is a prelude to the giving of the Torah, which incorporates and expands upon the Seven Noahide Laws. Interestingly, Noahides observe the Seven Laws because they were commanded at Sinai and not because Adam or Noah received them previously. Also important is the fact that Hashem revealed the Torah. This is crucial because a Noahide is only considered righteous if he accepts the seven Noahide laws as coming from G-d. If he derives the laws from his own intellect, he is not considered righteous.

Finally, the Exodus is worth contemplating because it is symbolic of the truth that there is no other authority in the universe. Pharaoh’s power is limited, narrow and corrupt – an earthly parody of Hashem’s unlimited and righteous kingship. Both Jews and Noahides proclaim Hashem’s uniqueness, unity and authority. As Rabbi Moshe Weiner states, “it is a continuous obligation for every person to think about and contemplate the existence of the Master of the universe and His greatness, in order to set the knowledge of G-d strongly in his heart and mind.”

King David summed it up when he said, “The Lord is beneficent in all His ways and faithful in all His works.” Hashem’s goodness and His immense love for the Israelites were demonstrated during the first Passover and the subsequent giving of the Torah. It is the same belief in His goodness and power that sustains the faith of Noahides who believe that everything Hashem does is for the ultimate good of the individual and the good of the entire world.

THE ARK: NOAH, THE FLOOD AND THE COVENANT

Noah_MacliseOn March 30 (Monday), BBC1 will show a 90-minute drama called The Ark written by Tony Jordan. According to the show’s description, a farmer called Noah is instructed by an angel to build an ark in the middle of the desert in order to save his family from a devastating flood. The script has plenty of modern-day allusions to the “rich getting richer and the poorer falling further and further into debt,” and to men “who defile children.” Although, the drama was filmed in Morocco, Noah’s family speak with Manchester accents. Here, Richard Mather (also from Manchester) looks at the biblical account of Noah and examines the covenant made by G-d following the Flood.

Noah means “peaceful”. It comes from the verb nuah meaning rest, settle down. According to Genesis 6:9, Noah “walked with G-d.” He was righteous and blameless, finding favour with the Lord. In fact, Genesis 7:1 states that Noah was the only person in his generation who G-d considered righteous.

The Flood was G-d’s act of purgation, a way of cleansing the earth of evil before re-establishing the covenant with Noah. In Genesis 6:11, the Torah clearly states that “the earth was corrupt in G-d’s sight and was full of violence.” Angered at the wickedness of mankind, G-d tell Noah that He will flood the earth. Noah is commanded to build an ark and provide sanctuary for his family and a remnant of the animal kingdom.

As it says in Genesis 7:20-23:

The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left and those with him in the ark.

According to the Talmud, the Flood was so terrible that the inhabitants of the ark were afraid their vessel would not withstand the might of the waters. From within the ark Noah prayed to the Lord:

“O Lord I beseech Thee, save us now! Without strength to save this great calamity, we come to Thee. The rivers of water terrify us, and death prays in waves about us. Lift up Thy countenance upon us, O Lord! Be gracious to us. Redeem us, our G-d; deliver us, and save us!”

Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives, as well as the animals on the ark and all sea creatures, are the only ones who survive the deluge. Because all people are the descendants of Noah’s sons and their wives, Noah is, in effect, a second Adam.

So G-d blesses Noah and his sons, and makes a pledge in which He promises to never again to “cut off” all flesh with the waters of a flood. In return, G-d commands Noah and his sons to be fruitful, to multiply and to replenish the earth. G-d also forbids the eating of animal blood (which can be interpreted as an injunction against animal cruelty), as well as the shedding of human blood. There is also an implicit commandment to set up courts of law to punish murder.

G-d gives the rainbow as a sign of the covenant. Some rabbis say the rainbow was one of the ten things created on the eve of the first Sabbath. Some say it is forbidden to stare at the rainbow because the Shekinah appears in it, adorned in garments white, red and yellow.  In the Zohar, these colours are associated with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, respectively.

As well as being a sign of the covenant, the rainbow is also a sign of the divine presence. This can be seen in Ezekiel’s vision:

“Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” (Ezekiel 1:26-28)

The renewal of the covenant after the Flood is a promise of abundance. Hence the following promise in Leviticus:

“Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land. […] I will look on you with favour and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling place[a] among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your G-d, and you will be my people. I am the Lord your G-d, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” (Leviticus 26:5-6, 9-12).

But there is something about the post-Deluge covenant that somehow falls short. Man is allowed to eat animals, which was forbidden to Adam. And it soon becomes clear that discord is alive and well, hence the uncovering of Noah’s nakedness and the cursing of Canaan. Indeed, there is a litany of bloodshed, disaster and heartache even after the Flood. The prophets, only too aware of this, blame the continuing discord on unrighteousness.

But there is hope. The prophets repeatedly look forward to a better time, a day when G-d delivers creation and completely restores it. Indeed, the prophetic books are packed with visions of a future time when man and nature are no longer estranged from each other:

“I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety.” (Ezekiel 34:25).

And:

“[…] I will make a covenant with them, with the animals of the wild, with the birds of the sky and what creeps on the ground. I will break bow, sword and war on earth, and I will let them rest in safety I will make thee mine own forever; I will make thee mine by right and justice, by loyalty and compassion, I will make thee mine by faithfulness, and thou shalt know [that I am] the Lord.” (Hosea 2:18-20).

May such things happen in our day.

The Ark will be shown on Monday March 30 on BBC1 at 20:30 and will be available on BBC iPlayer.

IS PEARS INSTITUTE FIT FOR PURPOSE?

By Richard Mather…

London-based Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism claims its founding principle is that the study of anti-Semitism is vital to understanding all forms of racism, prejudice and xenophobia. Strange then that both the institute and its partners have misunderstood the nature of contemporary anti-Semitism (i.e. anti-Zionism) and aligned themselves with organisations and academics that are hostile to the State of Israel.

In 2013, Pears Institute organised a conference on boycotts. According to the organisers, the conference was “an academic forum to better comprehend the causes and content of boycott movements and to advance understanding of whether and how BDS [boycotts, divestments and sanctions] sits within the debate on contemporary anti-Semitism.” Instead, the conference was an opportunity for professional Israel haters to air their views, namely London School of Economics’ Dr John Chalcraft, who refers to Israel as an apartheid state, and Philip Marfleet, of University of East London, who characterises Zionism as imperialism.

Moreover, as Jonathan Hoffman, writing in The Jewish Chronicle, has pointed out, Pears Institute “sees nothing wrong with hosting Israel traducers such as Jacqueline Rose who makes anti-Semitic comparisons between Jews and Nazis.”

“It seems to me,” says Rose, “that the suffering of a woman on the edge of the pit with her child during the Nazi era, and a Palestinian woman refused access to a hospital through a checkpoint and whose unborn baby dies as a result, is the same.”

What is staggering is the fact that David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute, refuses to criticise Rose. Rather, he bemoans her critics’ “vicious attacks.” So much for understanding why anti-Semitism is a problem in the 21st century. But should we be surprised? After all, in a recent interview with David Semple for the Jewish Media Agency, Feldman denied that BDS is inherently anti-Semitic:

“The BDS movement is a presence among people who feel that they want to protest against Israel’s policies. I think the BDS movement is a broad church. It attracts support from some people who would like to see a one-state solution, but I think many people are attracted to BDS because they strongly oppose Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories […] I haven’t seen the evidence to suggest that movement as a whole should be characterised as anti-Semitic” [emphasis added].

Now, it seems to me that Feldman is either in denial or has not experienced BDS first hand. I have, however. During the summer of 2014, shops, banks, universities, theatres and entire towns in the UK were targeted by a contingent of BDS bullies comprising Islamic fundamentalists, anarchists, hardcore leftists, self-styled peace activists and Pakistani gangsters. In Manchester, where I am based, the Jewish community witnessed an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitism. In the city centre, BDS protestors enjoyed making anti-Jewish slurs such as “Jews killed Jesus,” “dirty Jewish pigs,” and “Zio-Nazis.” Some BDS campaigners spoke fondly of Hitler and made Nazi salutes. There were several obscene comments about the Holocaust. Jews were physically attacked, threatened and intimidated. Stores with connections to Israel were barricaded, raided and vandalised.

The situation in London was just as bad. On several occasions, tens of thousands of BDS campaigners bullied their way through London’s streets, intimidating passers-by and verbally abusing Jews and anyone else who got in their way. Indeed, Douglas Murray, writing for The Spectator, described these rallies as “disgusting” and “anti-Semitic.” These protestors, he says, are nowhere to be seen when Isis ravages Iraq or Boko Haram commits atrocities in Africa.

The fact that Pears Institute and its director are unable to see the connection between BDS and anti-Semitism is not just worrying, it is a undoubtedly a betrayal of their mission to understand anti-Semitism in all its forms.

There are other problems that need addressing too. Pears Institute was established by the Pears Foundation, which proudly states that it is a “core funder of the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), which works with students to promote conflict analysis and resolution through experiential education.” In fact, OTI is a crypto-Palestinian movement in which students are introduced to anti-Semites such as Aziz Duwaik, the Hamas Speaker in the Palestinian Legislative Council, and George Rishmawi, co-founder of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement.

Some Jewish students have expressed concern that OTI’s “experiential education” is tantamount to brainwashing and anti-Israel incitement. As one student explained, OTI is advancing anti-Israel views “under the 
guise
 of 
academic
exploration.” Moreover, “its veneer of academic legitimacy” is “hampering 
the
 type
 of hard self‐reflection
 that
 administrators
 and
 academics
 on 
campus 
must
 undertake 
to
 address
 the
serious 
problem 
of
 campus
 anti‐Semitism.”

Pears Foundation also finances Crisis Action, an organisation that bewails the blockade on Gaza and wants an EU boycott of goods from Judea and Samaria. Indeed, Crisis Action cites Jewish housing projects in Judea and Samaria as “one of the key obstacles to peace and a source of large-scale violations of international law and human rights.” No mention is made of why the Gaza blockade is in place or why the real obstacle to peace is the decades-old Palestinian Arab refusal to negotiate with or recognise Israel.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that Pears Foundation supports the core costs of the New Israel Fund (NIF) office in the UK and projects in Israel. NIF claims it is opposed to the BDS campaign but will “engage in dialogue with an important organisation that signs one letter supporting divestment rather than summarily dismissing them.” Or as it states on the NIF website, it will not fund BDS activities but will support organisations that “conform to our grant requirements if their support for BDS is incidental or subsidiary to their significant programs.” In the view of Jeffrey Goldberg, in an article for The Atlantic, these are “weasel words” that suggest NIF is not wholly committed to Israel’s existence. NIF, he points out, continues to fund groups that support BDS “so long as they don’t support BDS too much.” In my view, NIF’s approach to BDS is not only disingenuous, it is likely to provoke mistrust among those who would otherwise support NIF.

Taken together, there are real concerns about the Pears Institute and the Pears Foundation. On one hand, both organisations talk down the role BDS and pro-Palestinian activism play in the production and dissemination of anti-Semitism; yet at the same time, they actively support or provide a forum for Israelophobia and anti-Semitism. Their role in public policy making and in the education of students should be questioned by anyone who is concerned about anti-Zionism and the resurgence of Jew-hatred in the 21st century.

HITLER’S WAR AGAINST JEWS CONTINUES IN ‘PALESTINE’

palestinianNazisBy Richard Mather… 

The Palestinian Arabs never miss an opportunity to refer to the Israelis as Nazis. This anti-Semitic trope has gone around the world, with Israeli flags regularly mutilated with swastikas and Jews dubbed Zio-Nazis. But the Palestinian Arabs’ greatest triumph is their success in concealing their role in the Holocaust. Indeed, it was the Palestinian Arab leadership in the 1930s and 1940s that colluded and collaborated with Hitler. And it wasn’t just their leaders who admired the Nazis. The Arab people and the Arab media were enthusiastic supporters of Hitler and his virulent brand of anti-Semitism.

In 1938, French magazine Marianne published an article revealing the Palestinian Arabs’ incredible enthusiasm for Hitler. The magazine reported that in the town of Nablus, the Arab population “received British troops with shouts of ‘Heil Hitler’.” Marianne also revealed to the French public that a number of Arab journals were regularly publishing racist editorials but also large portraits of Third Reich leaders. According to the magazine, the Arab newspapers “do not even try to conceal the fact that they have become pupils of the Ministry of Propaganda in Berlin.”

This wasn’t the first display of Palestinian affection for the Fuhrer. When Hitler proclaimed the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1935, a number of Palestinian Arabs sent telegrams congratulating him. Two years later, on the occasion of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, photographs of Hitler and Mussolini, as well as Nazi flags, were carried by Arab demonstrators in Palestine.

The man who did most to bring Nazism to British Palestine and the Middle East was Haj Muhammad Amin el-Husseini, the exiled Mufti of Jerusalem and spiritual leader of the Palestinians. Nicknamed the Arab fuehrer, Husseini collaborated with the Nazis to an astonishing extent during the 1930s and 1940s, and met Hitler on several occasions. His alliance was so successful that the Nazis declared their readiness to eradicate the Yishuv, the Jewish National Home in Palestine.

Husseini was behind the anti-Jewish riots in 1920-21 and the Hebron massacre a few years later. He believed it was a religious impossibility for Muslims to share the land with Jews. Even areas where Jews formed a majority were considered to be a defilement. In 1929, Husseini distributed pamphlets saying: “O Arabs, do not forget that the Jew is your worst enemy and has been the enemy of your forefathers.” He also announced that the Jews had “violated the honour of Islam.” This led to a pogrom in Jerusalem and a massacre in Hebron, where 60 Jews were killed and the town ethnically cleansed. The British attributed the attacks to “racial animosity on the part of the Arabs.”

This wasn’t the first time the British had encountered Muslim animosity towards the Jews. Following the demise of the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled over Palestine for centuries but had lost the First World War, international law recognised that the Jews in Palestine were there “by right.” The British took control of Palestine in 1917 and some years later established the first Palestinian state of Transjordan. The Jews living in this part of Palestine were told to leave. It soon became clear that any Jewish presence in any part of Palestine was not favoured by the Muslims. Aref Pasha Dajani, the mayor of Jerusalem, declared that it was “impossible” to live alongside the Jews because they “suck the blood of everybody.”

It was as early as 1933 that Husseini was in contact with the new regime in Germany. Within weeks of Hitler’s rise to power, the German consul-general in Palestine sent a telegram to Berlin reporting Husseini’s enthusiasm for Nazism and for the spread of fascism in the Middle East. When Husseini and several Arab sheiks met with the consul-general a few weeks later, he expressed his approval of the anti-Jewish boycott in Germany.

Very soon, the Husseini family had set up the Palestinian Arab Party, which was nicknamed the “Nazi Scouts.” Husseini’s brother, Jamal, was chairman of the Palestine Arab Party and a delegate to his brother’s Arab Higher Committee. It was this committee that led a led a campaign of boycotts and terror against Jews, and the bombings of British offices between 1936 and 1939.

In 1937, Husseini visited the Jerusalem German Consul, where he met with Eichmann to discuss “the Jewish question.” This meeting resulted in the Nazis agreeing to finance Husseini’s pogroms against the Jews in Palestine. Hitler publicly expressed his support for the Palestinian Arabs. This support was motivated by anti-Semitism and a suspicion of Britain’s colonial rule in the Middle East. In a speech made before the Reichstag in 1939, Hitler opined that Palestine is “occupied not by German troops but by the English,” and he accused British troops of oppressing the Arabs for “the benefit of Jewish interlopers.”

Not surprisingly, Husseini was keen to capitalise on the Fuehrer’s sympathy. Under the Mufti’s influence, the Nazi regime gave the go-ahead for the conversion to Islam of 25,000 Nazis in 1939. The newly-formed Jamait-e-Muslimin (“Muslim group”) were sent to Cairo to assist Nazi operations in Egypt, Palestine, Sudan and Transjordan. In the spirit of cultural exchange, a number of young Arabs were given training in Germany and Italy.

Husseini used his influence to promote Arab nationalism in Iraq. Pro-Nazi Muslims, at the behest of Husseini, slaughtered dozens of Jews in Baghdad in 1941. The Farhud or “violent dispossession” was led by the Hitler youth-modeled Iraqi-Arab Futuwwa paramilitary group under the pro-Nazi Iraqi minister of education, Saib Shawkat. The massacre was the beginning of the end of the Jewish community in Iraq, a community that had existed for 2,600 years.

The Mufti travelled to Berlin in November 1941 to meet Hitler and his foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop. Hitler, apparently impressed by Husseini’s blond hair and blue eyes, believed that “in more than one case the Mufti’s ancestors must have been Aryan.” In his meeting with the Fuehrer, the Mufti stressed that “the Arab peoples are Germany’s natural friends fighting common enemies.” Husseini pressed for a solution regarding the elimination of Jews in Palestine. Hitler, in response, stated “that Germany is committed to the uncompromising struggle against the Jews.”

During the war Al-Husseini spent most of his time in Berlin. The Nazis paid him huge amounts of money, some of which was used to fund the Arab war against the Jews in 1948. He also petitioned the Nazis leadership on several occasions to prevent thousands of Jewish children leaving for Palestine.

In 1941 Husseini began recruiting Bosnian Muslims to the Nazi cause. In a visit to Bosnia, he convinced Muslim leaders that a Muslim S.S. division would be advantageous to Islam. The Bosnian Muslims were organised into several divisions of the Waffen SS and other units. The largest was the 13th Hanzar division, which had more than 21,000 members. Declaring himself the “protector of Islam,” Husseini and his recruits were responsible for the deaths of thousands of Serbian Christians and Jews.

In a speech to his Bosnian Muslim Waffen-SS Division in 1944, Husseini declared that his Bosnian division was an “example for Muslims in all countries”. He continued:

“Many common interests exist between the Islamic world and Greater Germany, and those make cooperation a matter of course […] Further, National Socialist Germany is fighting against world Jewry […] There are also considerable similarities between Islamic principles and those of National Socialism, namely in the affirmation of struggle and fellowship, in stressing leadership, in the ideas of order, in the high valuation of work. All this brings our ideologies close together and facilitates cooperation.”

Muslim soldiers not only helped the Nazis deport Jews in east Europe, they were also involved in the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943. On another occasion, Husseini dispatched his soldiers to Palestine in order to fight the Jews.

The Palestinian Arabs were willing recipients of Nazi funding and propaganda. On July 7th, 1942, the Voice of Free Arabism aired a program titled, “Kill the Jews Before They Kill You.” Husseini was allowed to broadcast from Berlin. One on occasion in 1944 he urged Arabs to “kill Jews wherever you find them for the love of God, history and religion.”

Operation Atlas was eerily prescient of contemporary fears of terrorists obtaining biological weapons. In 1944, at the behest of Husseini, Hitler ordered a five-man team to dump a lethal toxin in the water supply of Tel Aviv. Luckily, the unit, which comprised three Germans and two Arabs, was caught by police in Jericho before they had chance to execute their plan. It is estimated that a quarter of million people would have died if the plot had succeeded.

As well as petitioning the Nazis to halt the emigration of Jewish children to Palestine, Husseini was also complicit in the mass killings of Jews in Europe. According to Klaus Gensicke, who has studied the relationship between the Mufti and the Nazis, Husseini must have known the full extent of the Holocaust. He cites a radio broadcast made on September 20th, 1944. In this broadcast, Husseini urged the Arabs to give up 11 million Jews. The total number of Jews at the beginning of the war was 17 million. Therefore, Husseini must have known that 6 million Jews had already perished at the hands of the Nazis. Gensicke also points out that Husseini used very similar language when referring to the mass murder of Jews. While the Nazis spoke of a “Final Solution,” Husseini referred to a “Definitive Solution.”

Indeed, Husseini made several visits to the camps. He is known to have visited Auschwitz at least once, as well as Sachsenhausen and Majdanek. Husseini was apparently impressed by what he saw and gloated over the deaths of the Jews. He deliberated the possibility of building a concentration camp in the Palestinian town of Nablus.

It could be argued that it was Husseini’s fanatical hatred of Jews that encouraged the Nazis to press on with their plan to make Europe Judenrein (“Jew free”). According to testimony given at Nuremberg by Dieter Wisliceny, Adolf Eichmann’s deputy, the Mufti “was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan […] He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures.”

There is no doubt that had the war gone Hitler’s way, Husseini would have been able to execute his ‘Definitive Solution’ in Palestine, probably starting with a concentration camp in Nablus. The fact that his first task in Europe was to press Mussolini, and then Hitler, for their support in his vision of a Jew-free Palestine strongly suggests that the Holocaust would not have ended in Europe in 1945 but would have continued for several more years across the Middle East and North Africa. It goes without saying that a world run by Hitler and Husseini would not be a world in which the State of Israel exists. (Following the Second World War, Egypt’s King Farouk I attempted to build an anti-Israel army comprising German spies, SS generals and Nazi propagandists. Meanwhile, Syria hired around fifty Nazis between 1948-9, including many former SS soldiers and Holocaust functionaries.)

In his memoirs, Husseini wrote: “Our fundamental position for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a befitting our national and racial aspirations, and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: ‘The Jews are yours’.”

Husseini’s legacy is considerable. Having escaped to Egypt, Husseini used his influence to persuade the Arabs to reject the UN’s partition plan, the source of today’s Israeli-Palestinian crisis. He also encouraged the participation of Egypt in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Hassan Al-Banna, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (which went on to form Hamas in 1987), hoped that Husseini would continue Hitler’s war on the Jews. He wasn’t disappointed. The Arab League, co-founded by Husseini, was involved in all major wars against Israel, as well as the two Intifadas.

Husseini also had disciples who would continue his work. Husseini’s nephew, Yasser Arafat, began working for the Mufti when he was 16. Arafat was involved in the Mufti’s covert terrorist network and assisted in the smuggling of weapons to attack Jewish settlers in Palestine. Arafat, who went on to become the chairman of the PLO and president of the Palestinian Authority, considered Husseini to be a hero of the Palestinians.

Another of Husseini’s disciples was Albert Huber, a Swiss-German journalist who converted to Islam in 1962 and became increasingly sympathetic to both Arab nationalism and Nazism. Like Husseini, Huber believed Nazism and Islam shared the same ideologies and he spent much of his life advancing the Nazi-Islam axis. Huber not only admired Osama bin Laden, he also met with bin Laden sympathizers in Lebanon before 9/11. Two months after the attack on New York, Huber was accused by the US government of funding Al Qaeda.

Husseini was the Middle East’s answer to Hitler. He had the support of fellow Muslim leaders and the backing of the Palestinians, who were very amenable to Nazism. Palestinian scholar Edward Said, who is no friend of Israel, has conceded that Husseini “represented the Palestinian Arab national consensus.” He had “the backing of political parties that functioned in Palestine,” and was “recognised in some form by Arab governments as the voice of the Palestinian people.”

There is no doubt that Husseini’s pathological hatred for Jews and Zionism, as well as his admiration for Nazism, left a deep impression on his followers. His influence can be detected in the rejectionist policies of the PLO and Hamas, the violent uprisings of 1987 and 2000, and the anti-Semitic hate speech of radical clerics that permeates the airwaves in the Palestinian territories.

For decades, the Palestinian Arabs have been in a state of war with the Israeli people. The widespread desire to see Israel wiped off the face of the map is a continuation of Hitler’s vision of a world without Jews. The Palestinians’ unwillingness to admit their Nazi past is perhaps not surprising as it would destroy their credibility as victims, a status they have been honing for several decades. (Bizarrely, the Nazis also claimed they were the victims of the Jews.) Due to the malevolent influence of Husseini and other Nazi sympathisers in the Middle East, the spirit of Hitler lives on.

Palestinian nationalism is not only historically intertwined with the Nazis, it is Nazism’s immediate successor.