Echoes of Hitler's Mufti
by CHARLES JACOBS
February 20, 2012
"The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews," the grand mufti of Jerusalem told the crowd. "The Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or trees will call: 'Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.' Except the Gharqad tree [which will keep silent]."
These were not the words of the infamous Palestinian Grand Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the one who visited Hitler during the Holocaust to plan the extermination of Palestine's Jews. These words - taken from an Islamic Hadith - were spoken last month - on the 47th anniversary of Fatah, by today's grand mufti, Jerusalem Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, spiritual head of Mahmoud Abbas' "moderate" Palestinian Authority.
Two days later, the Palestinian Authority's TV station aired the speech. That caught the attention of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an Israeli research center, which posted Hussein's sermon on YouTube. YouTube took it down a day later - and froze PMW's account - calling the posting "inappropriate" because of hate speech. But caving to the pressure of PMW supporters (myself included), YouTube almost immediately reinstated the account and the video.
Several days later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the Mufti's comments - as well as the world's silence on the matter - and made the apt comparison of Abbas' mufti to Hitler's. Indeed, according to Islamic scholar Andrew Bostom, during WWII Al-Husseini had used the same Hadith to recruit Balkan Muslims into the Nazi ranks. And of course, this is the same kill-the-Jew Hadith that is also part of the Hamas Charter.
Following the PMW's exposure of the sermon, Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ordered a probe of Hussein for seeming to call on Muslims to wage holy war against every Jew on the planet.
The Palestinians' spin control offers as many lessons as the murder decree. The mufti denied he was inciting violence, claiming his words were taken out of context. He told the Associated Press that he was only "speaking about the final signs of the day of resurrection. ... I did not incite, and I did not call for killing. We are not, at present, at the end of days." (Which is when, presumably, the order to kill the Jews would be religiously more appropriate.)
He tried to lay the blame at the feet of the holy Islamic text itself. "The Hadith says [it]. I am not responsible for the Hadith. The Hadith is in the book. The Hadith is a noble Hadith," he said. "It's not my Hadith."
The PA's Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, agreed. "This is not incitement to kill Jews. We cannot change the historical religious writings, and we don't want to change them. However, we are talking now about the reality. The reality is that we want to achieve a just peace." So why, one could ask, bring up - at a rally to mark the birth of an Arab armed resistance group - this holy injunction to kill the Jews?
PMW posted the entirety of Hussein's sermon in order to refute such duplicitous denials. Hussein began with a discussion of the 47 years of the Palestinian revolution and then recited the Hadith - to explain the path the Palestinians were taking. He ended this homily by saying that the Israelis are planting those Jew-loving Gharqad trees around their settlements - "suggesting that Israel is preparing for when the Muslims fulfill their Hadith and come to kill them," according to PMW founder Itamar Marcus. Clearly, the mufti was explicitly relating the Hadith about the killing of Jews to the present.
Moreover, the mufti - who proclaims now to seek peace - did not see fit to condemn the moderator of the event, whose introductory remarks described the Jews as "the descendants of the apes and pigs" and called for a religious war against them.
Abbas appointed Hussein in 2006, noting his "ability to avoid controversies." Soon after becoming mufti, he defended killing Jews: "It is the Palestinian people's right to engage in resistance until the occupation ends. As long as the resistance is legitimate, everything related to it is also legitimate." Suicide bombing "is legitimate, of course, as long as it plays a role in the resistance," Hussein preached.
In 2010, PMW released a video showing Hussein using standard Islamic anti-Jewish memes: Jews are the "enemies of Allah"; they want to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque; they "have violated all faith and religious laws, and even deviated from their humanity."
Marcus, who launched PMW in 1996, is an American immigrant who served as an Israeli negotiator during the peace process from 1998 to 2000. He may be the most committed, determined man I know. PMW scrutinizes the messages of the Palestinian leadership to see whether it is "preparing its people for peace or for prolonged confrontation." The group looks at Palestinian media, school texts, sermons, even crossword puzzles.
Even liberals would find it hard to keep their peace hopes intact after watching a Marcus multimedia presentation. And that's part of the problem: I brought Marcus to Harvard several years back. After watching an hour of children being instructed to kill Jews, teens yearning to blow themselves up for Allah, mourning mothers expressing pride at having raised murderers, the auditorium was sullen. I'd personally invited a Boston Globe editor; afterward, he told me the presentation was "unhelpful," that it would make people demand less of Israel. He expressed no outrage at the indoctrination of children to racist hate and murder. He expressed no concern for poisoning of Palestinian children's minds and souls. For him, to expose this ugliness was only to attack the "peace process." The New York Times, the Globe's parent, treated this current episode of Islamic Jew-hatred in the same manner: In a Jan 24 column, Isabel Kershner worried more about how Israel's investigation of the sheik's incitement would affect the "peace process" than about the Sheik citing Mohammed's call to destroy Jews as a description of just what the Palestinians were up to. Nothing new here: for years the Times has shamefully covered up Palestinian anti-Semitism, likely because reporting it would be "unhelpful" to "peace."
In any case, it looks like the Israelis are finally looking the facts in the face and waking up to the real cause of the conflict: Arab/Muslim rejectionism. For your own dose of that bitter reality, go to www.palwatch.org or buy the new book written by Marcus and his colleague Nan Jacques: "Deception: Betraying the Peace Process." As the authors conclude, after years of documenting Palestinian calls for murder, "A peace process has yet to begin; a peace process may never have been intended."