Presentation delivered at Congregation Kadimah Toras Moshe in Brighton, Mass. January 22, 2007.
Harvard Professor George Santayana said "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." My interest in history, which led me to write this book, is based on an attempt to understand historical events and mindsets that led to today’s crisis which is, as I see it, an aggressive existential war against Israel, the western democracies, and moderate Islamic states.
We are defending freedom today, and our future as a sovereign nation, against an aggressive assault by the evil forces of radical Islam as personified by Osama bin-Laden.
How did things devolve to such a low point that fanatics blow up buildings in Manhattan, and blow themselves up with bomb belts, in order to kill as many innocent people as possible who do not agree with their conception of how to live and what to believe?
I trace the origin of today’s war against the west to the post World War I period, 1918-1921. This was a time when new sovereign nations were emerging in Europe and the winds of freedom and hope were sweeping across a Middle East that had been suppressed for centuries by the recently defunct Ottoman Turkish Empire.
In those heady years, many Arabs and Muslims reverently hoped that new and modern sovereign Arab nations would develop alongside a Jewish State existing in the ancestral homeland promised to the Jews by the almighty in a Torah that was, and is, considered to be divine by Muslims and Christians as well as by Jews.
In fact, like the Christian New Testament, the Koran, the holy book of Islam, recognizes Israel as a Jewish State in the following passages:
…. “the words of Moses to his people. He said: “Remember, my people, the favors, which Allah has bestowed upon you…. Enter, my people, the holy land which Allah has assigned for you.” (Sura V) …. “When the promise of the hereafter cometh to pass (at Judgment Day) we shall bring you as a crowd gathered out of various nations.” (Sura XVII: 104)
Emir Faisal ibn Hussein, the Hashemite son of Hussein, Sherif of Mecca, and considered by many to be a direct descendent of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad, typified the pro Israel viewpoint amongst Arabs at that time. Faisal, who would become King of Syria and later King of Iraq, was the head of the accredited delegation of Arab representatives attending the Paris Peace Talks where the League of Nations was established.
Faisal met with Chaim Weizmann, the accredited head of the Zionist delegation to the Paris peace talks, in London where he signed a document known as the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, January 3, 1919.
The Faisal-Weizmann Agreement includes the following provisions:
The Arab State and Palestine in all their relations and undertakings shall be controlled by the most cordial goodwill and understanding and to this end Arab and Jewish duly accredited agents shall be established and maintained in their respective territories.Article II
Immediately following the completion of the deliberations of the Peace Conference, the definite boundaries between the Arab State and Palestine shall be determined by a Commission to be agreed upon by the parties hereto.
In the establishment of the Constitution and Administration of Palestine all such measures shall be adopted as will afford the fullest guarantees for carrying into effect the British Government's Declaration of the 2nd of November 1917.
All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil. In taking such measures the Arab peasant and tenant farmers shall be protected in their rights, and shall be assisted in forwarding their economic development.
No regulation nor law shall be made prohibiting or interfering in any way with the free exercise of religion; and further the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall for ever be allowed. No religious test shall ever be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
The Mohammedan Holy Places shall be under Mohammedan control.
The Zionist Organization proposes to send Palestine a Commission of experts to make a survey of the economic possibilities of the country, and to report upon the best means for its development. The Zionist Organization will place the aforementioned Commission at the disposal of the Arab State for the purpose of a survey of the economic possibilities of the Arab State and to report upon the best means for its development. The Zionist Organization will use its best efforts to assist the Arab State in providing the means for developing the natural resources and economic possibilities thereof.
The parties hereto agree to act in complete accord and harmony in all matters embraced herein before the Peace Congress.
Any matters of dispute which may arise between the contracting parties shall be referred to the British Government for arbitration.
Provided the Arabs obtain their independence as demanded in my Memorandum dated the 4th of January 1919, to the Foreign Office of the Government of Great Britain, I shall concur in the above articles. But if the slightest modification or departure were to be made [sc. in relation to the demands in the Memorandum] I shall not be bound by a single word of the present Agreement which shall be deemed void and of no account or validity, and I shall not be answerable in any way whatsoever.
(Signed) FAISAL IBN HUSAIN (in Arabic)
(Signed) CHAIM WEIZMANN
The Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, a founding document of the League of Nations, is a recognition by the Arab and Muslim nations of the State of Israel and is legally binding international law. All of its provisions have been fulfilled. The Arab and Muslim nations are sovereign. The rights of the Israeli Arab are assured. The Islamic holy sites in Israel are under Moslem control.
The final borders of the Jewish State were determined by a commission headed by Winston Churchill back in 1922, which divided the British Palestine Mandate into an Arab sector east of the Jordan River and a Jewish sector west of the Jordan River. This is exactly where Jewish Palestine, Israel, and Arab Palestine, Jordan, are situated today. The borders of Israel correspond exactly to the borders described in the Torah as the Holy Land. The Torah describes the Holy Land as from Dan to Beersheba, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean sea.
Regarding the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, Emir Faisal wrote the following to Harvard Law School Dean and later US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter:
We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins in race, having suffered similar oppressions at the hands of powers stronger than themselves, and by a happy coincidence have been able to take the first step towards the attainment of their national ideals together.
We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organization to the Peace Conference and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through: we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.
We are working together for a reformed and revived Near East, and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is national and not imperialist. Our movement is national and not imperialist, and there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that neither can be a real success without the other.
The beautiful sentiments expressed here by the political and spiritual leader of the Arab and Islamic world in 1919 are a true reflection of what President George W. Bush and other western leaders refer to when they speak of Islam as a religion of peace.
May the Arab and Muslim nations honor this noble agreement entered into with Israel in 1919 by the recognized leaders of the two peoples, a just and fair agreement that is entirely in accord with the national and religious interests of both Muslims and of Jews.
There was another wind blowing in the post World War I years and that was the sinister wind of totalitarianism. That ill wind cut a swath across Europe in the form of Mussolini’s Fascism and in the ascendance of the two world order socialist movements, Hitler’s Nazism and Lenin’s Communism. Nazism profoundly influenced the Middle East in the years leading up to and including World War II, and Soviet Communism picked up the gauntlet in the post World War II years. Those European political and philosophical exports found fertile ground in traditional pan-Arabism, a bloody chauvinistic tradition of world conquest, one that runs contrary to more peaceful Islamic traditions. Modern pan-Arabism, formed on the crucible of the two secular European political faiths, is now made manifest in the beliefs and actions of the pan-Arabist radical Islamic Jihad we face today.
Faisal’s enlightened vision of sovereign Arab nations co-existing with a sovereign Jewish State was eclipsed by the radical pan-Arab designs of Haj Amin al-Husseini, named as Mufti of Jerusalem by the British Governor of the Palestine Mandate, Sir Herbert Samuel, in 1921. This was after al-Husseini had been convicted in absentia for his involvement in a slaughter of Jews in Jerusalem in 1920, known in Israel today as Bloody Passover. The liberal Samuel, himself a British Jew, pardoned al-Husseini, returned him from exile, and chose him as Mufti and head of the political Supreme Muslim Council in Palestine in spite of the fact that he had been opposed by the Palestinian Arab population who placed him in fourth place in a field of four Arab candidates for the position of Mufti.
The following is a partial list of Arabs assassinated by the Mufti’s followers during the Arab revolt of 1936-1939:
Sheikh Daoud Ansari ( Imam of Al Aqsa Mosque), Sheikh Ali Nur el Khattib (Al Aqsa Mosque), Sheikh Nusbi Abdal Rahim (Council of Muslim Religious Court), Sheikh Abdul el Badoui (Acre, Palestine), Sheikh El Namouri (Hebron), Nasr El Din Nassr (Mayor of Hebron). Between Feb. 1937 and Nov 1938, and Eleven (11) Mukhtars (community leaders) and their entire families.
The Mufti became a leader of the Arab and Islamic world as he attended conferences and sent envoys to Muslim nations as far away as Malaysia to raise money to, among other projects, gold plate the Dome of the Rock Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem claming that the Jews were plotting to blow it up.
It has been written that in 1936, the Mufti met with Adolf Eichmann, sent by his Nazi superiors on a mission to the Middle East, during a twenty-four hours in Haifa. I was interviewed at Yad Vashem last year on this book and the group of scholars I met with informed me that there was no proof that Eichmann had ever set foot in Palestine. What is not disputed, however, is that Eichmann did meet with the Mufti at that time, possibly in Cairo where Eichmann spent a week, and that the Mufti became a Nazi agent as a consequence of that meeting.
Swiss Nazi banker Fransois Genoud began to funnel money to the Mufti who used the funds to further the formation of pro-Nazi political organizations such as the Egyptian Green Shirts, headed by Abdul Gamal Nasser, who would become the Egyptian Dictator who instigated war against Israel in 1967, and to foment trouble against the British. The Mufti continued a close collaboration with Eichmann until the end of the war and with Genoud for decades after the war.
After instigating the Arab Revolt against British in Palestine in 1936, the Mufti fled Palestine. In 1941, the Mufti turned up in Baghdad where he played a major role in instigating a pro-Nazi coup against the pro-British government in Iraq. One of the generals involved in the pro-Nazi coup, General Kharilla Tulfah, was Saddam Hussein’s uncle, father in law, and mentor. When the pro-Nazi coup failed, the Mufti recorded an anti-Semitic broadcast blaming the indigenous Iraqi Jews for the failure, which triggered the Fahud, a bloody pogrom against the Iraqi Jews, a community that pre-dated the Muslim invasion of Iraq by almost a thousand years.
The Mufti and Hitler
Fleeing Bagdad, and passing through Tehran, Istanbul, and Rome, the Mufti made his way to Berlin where he was met with all the pomp and circumstance of a visiting head of state. The Nazis gave the Mufti a mansion to live in, on fashionable Klostock Street in Berlin, one that had been confiscated from a Jew who was sent to a concentration camp, and the Nazis gave the already wealthy Mufti a hefty salary, which he received up until the last weeks of the war. The Mufti was given access to the SS controlled Sonderfund. These were monies and properties that had been confiscated from Jews as they were sent off to the ovens.The Mufti used the sonderfund to support a Palestinian Arab expatriate community living in wartime Nazi Berlin, to train pro Nazi European Muslim militias in Bosnia and Russia, and to foment anti Jewish and pro Nazi activities in the Middle East where he maintained an extensive network of contacts. The Sonderfundfinanced the Mufti’s Nazi-Muslim government in exile and was used to fund an Islamic Institute in Dresden under the Mufti. The purpose of the institute was to inspire an elite cadre of Nazi- Muslim leaders. More research is required to trace the career paths of these Nazi Muslim leaders after the war.
Monies derived from the sonderfund continued to flow into the Middle East, from Swiss bank accounts and with the involvement of Swiss-Nazi banker François Genoud and the Mufti, years and even decades after the end of World War II with the funds going to terrorists. Genoud committed suicide in 1996 at the age of 81 before a committee, investigating Nazi money laundering in Swiss banks and headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker, had the opportunity to interview him. More research is required to follow the Nazi money trail after the war.The Mufti recorded several radio broadcasts, transmitted from a large tower in Bari, Italy into the Arab world, calling for Arabs to ““Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, History and Religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.”
It should be noted that the main line of propaganda used by Hitler and the Mufti against the Jews was that there was a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world. This was the basic thesis used against the Jews by Hitler in Mein Kampf and previously, in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian forgery that was widely disseminated in those years.
History indicates that those who pointed the finger of accusation at the Jews, Hitler’s Nazis, Stalin’s Communists, the Muftis pan-Arabists, and today’s Jihadists were, and are, in fact, movements that were, or in the case of the Jihadists presently are, conspiring to rule the world.
Zionism, on the other hand, was, and remains, a movement that seeks to fulfill the modest national aspirations of the Jewish people in the tiny and inscrutable sliver of land known as Israel, nothing more and nothing less. It was the Nazis and the Communists who sought a new world order with themselves in charge, and who murdered hundreds of millions of human beings perceived as standing in the way of their demented goal. It was the Mufti who sought to annihilate the tiny State of Israel as a stepping-stone toward a Arab Caliphate on vast and oil rich Arab lands. The Jihadists of today are the inheritors of the world conquering conspiracy.
In November of 1941, the Mufti met face to face with Hitler, who promised that as soon as he finished off Europe, Nazi brigades would cross the Caucasus and conquer the Arab world. The Mufti would then be installed as the Nazi backed puppet head of a united Nazi-Arab Caliphate. Before the Hitler-Mufti meeting, the Nazis were still open to the idea of deporting Jews, possibly to Palestine. In 1939, the Allies closed the door to Jewish refugees at the Evian Conference thus condemning the Jews of Europe to the Nazi prison. It is reasonable to assume that the Mufti urged Hitler to not let Jews go to Palestine, which, at any rate, had been closed to Jews by the British, and instead urged, on the Holocaust. A few months after the Mufti-Hitler meeting, the Nazis held a conference at an estate in Wansee, a suburb of Berlin, where it was decided to systematically annihilate the entire Jewish population of Nazi occupied Europe.
The Mufti was directly involved in the Holocaust in various ways. Under the guidance of Himmler, of whom he maintained close contact, the Mufti was put in charge of recruiting and training a Bosnian Nazi-Muslim SS military unit known as the Hanzar Division, which grew to 27,999 men. Along with other Nazi-Muslim military formations in the Balkans and in Russia, the Hanzars would carry out the genocide of 250,000 Serbs, Gypsies and Jews. Himmler called for special treatment for Muslim troops and in a letter to Nazi Propaganda minister Josef Goebbels wrote: “I have nothing against Islam because it educates the men in this division for me and promises them heaven if they fight and are killed in action. A very practical and attractive religion for soldiers.” Nazi-Muslim brigades in Russia were involved in the infamous einzatsgruppen, which were mobile killing units operating behind Nazi lines and charged with liquidating Jews and others viewed as enemies of the Nazi state.The Mufti toured the death camps to witness firsthand the mass murder and urge it on. The Mufti sent letters to pro-Nazi governments in Hungary and Rumania to stop them from trading Jews for POW’s, urging them instead to send their Jews to Aushwitz. The Mufti intervened in a May 14, 1942 letter to his friend, Adolf Eichmann, to stop an offer by the Red Cross to exchange 4000 orphaned Polish Jewish children for Nazi prisoners of war. He wrote something to the effect that little Jews grow up to be big Jews. The children were sent to the gas chambers.
After the War
At the end of the war, the Mufti fled, one step ahead of indictment by the Nuremberg Tribunal on charges brought by Yugoslavia, to Cairo and spent the rest of his life fomenting violence against Israel whenever possible. The British once again give the Mufti amnesty and he returned to Palestine to fight Israel in 1948 where he issued a fatwa: “I declare a Holy War, My Muslim Brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!”. After Israel became a state, the Mufti was implicated in the assassination of the moderate Hashemite King Abdallah of Jordan, the brother of the aforementioned King Faisal, who was about to make peace with Israel.
The Mufti aided in Operation Odessa, which was a ratline smuggling thousands of Nazi war criminals into Egypt and Syria. Many Nazis, once settled in Arab capitals, changed their names, converted to Islam, and involved themselves in war against Israel. The Mufti promoted the so-called “right of return” for Palestinian Arabs, this after having exhorted Arabs to leave Palestine during Israel’s war of independence. The Mufti worked to keep Arabs in refugee camps to be used as recruiting centers to fight against Israel. In his last public appearance in a speech before a World Islamic Conference in 1962, the Mufti called for the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the Arab world. He died in Beirut July 5, 1974.
The islamo-Fascist Mufti was mentor to the islamo-Communist Yasir Arafat, said to be his nephew. Arafat started his career at the age of 17 as a gunrunner for the Mufti’s irregular militia, which participated in the 1948 war against Israel. After attending a communist youth convention in Prague in 1956, Arafat and a group of his cohorts went to Moscow for training where they formed the terrorist cell known as al-Fatah. After the collapse of Nazism, the Marxist founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian professor Hassan el-Banna, openly allied his group with the Soviet Union. The secretive Muslim Brotherhood would later spawn both Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The connection between Arab terrorism and the Soviets accelerated in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Where do we go from here?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt proved that he was a great political and moral leader in the war against Nazism when he declared that he would accept nothing short of “unconditional surrender.” Ronald Reagan did likewise against the Communists when he spoke of the “evil empire” and asked Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” President George W. Bush will go down in history as having the political and moral fortitude to stand up to the international forces of the radical Jihadists by his farsighted commitment of American troops to fight for the freedom of Afghanistan and of Iraq.
This may not happen fast enough for many but eventually America will have helped the Muslim nations and peoples in their struggle against the followers of haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. The progressive vision of Emir Faisal will come to pass in the Arab and Muslim world but only with the support of the freedom loving western democracies. Germany and Japan are free today, something that was not considered possible in the 1930.s, because America and her allies stood for freedom. Russia and the Eastern Europe are well on their way to freedom and prosperity today thanks to American leadership. Arabs and Muslims deserve the same opportunity and are also capable of practicing peace and freedom it the western democracies stand up to the aggressors. We need to stand with those Muslims who love freedom and utterly crush those who seek to oppress their own people, to kill us, and destroy our way of life.
The Iraq war is as just and righteous a war as was the war to liberate Europe from Nazism. We must stay the course however long it takes.
The Palestinian question was settled in 1921 when Palestine was divided into a Jewish and a non-Jewish Arab sector. Jordan is east Palestine, Israel is west Palestine. The Jews of Israel are as much Palestinian as the Arabs of both Israel and Jordan. Local autonomy should be granted to the Palestinian Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza with Jordan playing a role to be determined and Israel maintaining overall military and security control. Jews should never again be ethnically cleansed from any part of Israel.
Arabs should be offered financial incentives to emigrate to Iraq once that country becomes more stable and peaceful. This program would not be ethnic cleansing as it would be voluntary. Muslim and Christian Arabs choosing to remain in Israel should be encouraged to fully participate in the life and in the spiritual destiny of the Holy Land by becoming Jews. Muslim and Christian Arabs who choose to live in Israel and maintain their faiths, and who are willing to participate as peaceful citizens, should be offered full citizenship and all the rights that such citizenship implies.