< HOME  Saturday, July 25, 2009

Using Hitler to Sell Jewish Settlements

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's foreign minister, urged diplomats abroad to use a 1941 photograph of a Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, meeting with Hitler. This was done to counter protests against a planned Jewish settlement in Arab East Jerusalem.

In 1941, Al-Husayni was in Berlin to lobby Hitler for a declaration in favour of Arab nationalism and against a Jewish homeland. Hitler refused the request for tactical reasons, but the Mufti later recollected that he had sworn "the suppression of the Jewish national homeland is part of my battle".

Lieberman ordered the circulation to Israeli embassies of copies of the notorious wartime photograph of the Hitler meeting.

The move came after the US State Department expressed its disapproval to Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador in Washington, over plans to build at least 20 apartments for Jewish settlers at the site of the old Shepherd's Hotel building in the inner East Jerusalem district of Sheikh Jarrah.

The building was once used as a headquarters of the Mufti, a member of the one of the most prominent Palestinian families in Jerusalem. The Palestinian nationalist Faisal al-Husseini, grand nephew of the Mufti, was a frequent interlocutor and strong advocate of peace moves with Israel in his later years until his death in 2001.

The hotel was bought by an American-Jewish millionaire.


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