It is undeniable that during World War II, many Muslims allied with Germany and hundreds of thousands of them fought for the Nazis. It could be argued this was due to their common enemies: the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and the United States of America.
Although this is clearly true for many Muslim countries who sided with Germany for pragmatic and strategic reasons, regarding the Palestinians a look at the link between the roots of Palestinian nationalism and the rise of the Nazis indicates that a stronger case can be made that this alliance was based on common philosophies and a hatred of their greatest common nemesis: the Jews.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was widely criticized for referencing the Jew-hatred connecting the origins of Palestinian nationalism with Nazism in a speech he made to the World Zionist Congress (WZC) in 2015. In it, he credited the Palestinian leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, with convincing Hitler to kill all the Jews.
“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,” Netanyahu related to the WZC. “And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here (to Palestine).’ According to Netanyahu, Hitler then asked: ‘What should I do with them?’ and the mufti replied: ‘Burn them.’”
Though Netanyahu was criticized by the left-wing media for these comments, his claim does have a historical basis. Dieter Wisliceny, one of Adolf Eichmann’s deputies, made this claim at the Nuremberg trials held after the war. The veracity of Wisliceny’s claim is disputed by many historians, although it is known that al-Husseini visited Hitler in Germany during the war and may have visited Auschwitz at the height of its operation.
It is also well-documented that all-Husseini requested and received from Hitler a promise not to permit Jews fleeing Europe to arrive in Palestine, a plan that was being initiated by the English and American governments. This undoubtedly led to many Jews being unable to flee and dying in Nazi death camps.
Research has shown that the Holocaust almost spread to the Holy Land. In 2006, historians at the University of Stuttgart concluded from their studies of Nazi archives that a unit of SS troops stationed in Athens, was tasked with following invading frontline troops in Palestine and then rounding up and murdering about 500,000 European Jews who had taken refuge there as a Middle Eastern aspect of the Final Solution.
“The most important collaborator with the Nazis and an absolute Arab antisemite was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem,” researchers said, noting that al-Husseini and Heimlich Himmler, the Nazi leader attributed the greatest responsibility for the effort to exterminate the Jews, met numerous times toward this end.
“The Allied defeat of Rommel at the end of 1942 had prevented the extension of the Holocaust to Palestine,” the researchers concluded.
So great was al-Husseini’s hatred for the Jews that he incited the Palestinians in the British Mandate to conduct pogroms. Even when al-Husseini was exiled to Iraq in 1941, he incited violence against the large Jewish communities there.
The admiration al-Husseini had for Hitler was mutual. While he denounced Catholicism as a weak, effeminate religion, Hitler praised Islam as a strong, aggressive, martial religion. Albert Speer, Hitler’s Minister of Armaments and War Production, wrote a memoir of his World War II experiences in which he recorded Hitler’s musings.
“You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion,” Speer reported Hitler as frequently saying. “Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?”
This legacy of Jew-hatred was handed down, finding its way into the origins of the Palestinian Authority. Al-Husseini met a young Yasser Arafat, the head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the first president of the Palestinian Authority in Egypt in 1946. It was at that point that Arafat became his protege, taking over the cause and eventually the leadership of Palestinian nationalism.
This union between the Aryan master-race ideals of Nazism and the very Semitic Palestinians seems unlikely. However, Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of-days author, described its clear roots in the Bible and its function in bringing the Messiah.
“The Arabs were trained by the Nazis. The Nazis were defeated but the Arabs were not. The Arabs are their continuation,” Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News. “You can see this graphically in the Arab anti-Israel propaganda which is identical to the Nazi antisemitic propaganda. Palestinians are a creation of the Arab world simply for the sake of doing through politics and public relations what they failed to do militarily.”
Winston cited the basis for this connection as being found in Kol Hator, (The Voice of the Turtledove), written by Rabbi Hillel Rivlin of Shklov. The book presents the teachings concerning the process of Messiah from Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, the preeminent 18th-century scholar known as the Vilna Gaon.
“There are three klipot (husks of impurity): Esav, Ishmael, and Erev Rav (mixed multitude),” Rabbi Winston explained. “ The Erev Rav works to bring together Esav and Ishmael to destroy the Jewish people.”
Winston explained that this related to the Jewish concept of a two-stage Messiah beginning with Moshiach (Messiah) from the house of Joseph, a practical process that includes building up the land of Israel and the ingathering of the exiles. Moshiach from the house of David is a miraculous process culminating in the completion of the Third Temple and the resurrection of the dead.
“Ishmael, from the side of klipa (impurity), is the impure hamor (donkey) which corresponds to Moshiach ben David on the side of kedusha (holiness),” Rabbi Winston explained. “Moshiach ben Yosef is the holiness that corresponds to the impurity of Esav on the side of the shor (bull). Esav comes to destroy Moshiach ben Yosef just as Ishmael comes to destroy Moshiach ben David. They work in tandem trying to separate Moshiach ben David from Moshiach ben Yosef.”
The rabbi explained that this culminates in the War of Gog and Magog which is an alliance of Esav and Ishmael. They come together against Israel though they are still at odds with each other.
“This relationship between Esav and Ishmael is supported and energized by the erev rav, which today are many of the leftists and the liberals, even the Jews, who, like the erev rav that came out of Egypt, are working to undermine Israel and prevent geula (redemption). The Zohar says that when Moses took the erev rav out of Egypt, he sealed the fate of the Jewish people until Moshiach. Moses will come back in every generation just to fix the erev rav.”
Rabbi Winston noted how this Esav-Ishmael relationship was an essential element of the connection between the Palestinians and Nazism.
“The point is that the connection between the Palestinians and Muslims with the Nazis is not just a relationship of convenience,” Winston said. “Esav and Ishmael are intrinsically linked and this connection has kabbalistic roots with Moshiach implications. That is why Esav marries Machala, the daughter of Ishmael; to forge an evil alliance against the descendants of Yaakov. ”
Though it is generally agreed in rabbinic sources that Ishmael is represented today by Islam and the Arab world, identifying Esav today is a bit more complicated.
“Esav has three components: business, religious, and the bully,” Winston explained. “Russia is clearly the bully Esav, which is difficult to deal with but it is still possible. Rome is the religious Esav. America is the businessman Esav, which you can bargain with.”
Rabbi Winston noted that Esav is frequently identified as Christianity since the Church began to flourish after it was centered in Rome, the nation most closely identified with Biblical Esau. But the rabbi emphasized that not all of Christianity is prophesied to fulfill a negative function in the end-of-days.
Winston cited a section of the Talmud in which Antoninus, a Roman emperor, was told that he merited the world to come for being kind to the Jews and to Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi (who compiled the Mishnah). The rabbi assured him that for his deeds he would merit the world to come. Antonius expressed concern that the eventual destruction of Esav was prophesied. Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi explained that Esav (i.e. Rome) would eventually be destroyed as prophesied but only the parts of Esav who fulfill the role of Esav as being a destroyer.
“This is a source for the concept of a righteous gentile,” Rabbi Winston explained. “This is what we are seeing today in the Christians who support Israel.”