May 15, 2019
- Rashida Tlaib Has Her History Wrong – Benny Morris
The historical reality was quite different from what Rep. Rashida Tlaib described as Palestinians creating a safe haven for Jews. The Palestinians indirectly, and in some ways directly, aided in the destruction of European Jewry. After Hitler’s accession to power in Germany in 1933, German and then Eastern European Jews sought escape and safe havens. In 1935, Jewish immigration to British Mandatory Palestine peaked at 62,000.
From 1933 onward, Palestine’s Arabs – led by the cleric Muhammad Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem – mounted a strident campaign to pressure the British to bar all Jews from entering the country. In 1936 they launched an anti-British and anti-Zionist rebellion that lasted three years. Moreover, anti-Jewish violence, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Jews and wounded many more, itself served to deter would-be emigrants from seeking to move to Palestine. British entry certificates for Jews to Palestine declined to 15,000 in 1938. Those who couldn’t get in were left stranded and almost all died in the Holocaust.
Husseini fled to Berlin, where he was given a villa and a generous monthly salary. During the war, he helped recruit Muslims from the Balkans for the German army and the SS, and in radio broadcasts exhorted Middle Eastern and North African Arabs to launch jihad against the British and “kill the Jews.” Subsequently, Husseini settled in Cairo and in 1947 helped launch the first Palestinian and pan-Arab war against the Zionist enterprise.
The Zionist-Palestinian struggle is not akin to the black-American struggle against white discrimination. Most Palestinians still hope for Israel’s disappearance and to take over all of Palestine. The writer is a former professor of history at Ben-Gurion University. (Atlantic)