Monday, December 21, 2015

Finkelstein. Transcript. Gregg Roman. Mouin Rabbani. Al Jazeera, Inside Story. 22 Oct 2015.

1.      Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Israel’s Prime Minister causes outrage by blaming a Palestinian leader for inspiring the Holocaust. Is Benjamin Netanyahu trying to rewrite History, and why, and how dangerous is the flammatory Rhetoric on both sides? This is Inside Story. Hello and welcome to the programme. I’m Dareen A-bug-haid-a. It’s not every day that Israeli Prime Minister being described as a denier of the Holocaust. That’s exactly the allegation levelled at Benjamin Netanyahu after he claimed that it was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, a Palestinian religious leader who gave Hitler the Idea of Exterminating the Jews during World War Two. Take a listen.

2.      Netanyahu: ... Jewish Community, 1920, 1921, 1929 were instigated by a call of the Mufti, Amin al-Husseini, who was later sought for War-crimes in the Nuremberg Trial, because he had a central role in fomenting the Final Solution. Flew to Berlin. Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time. He wanted to expel the Jews. Amin al-Husseini went, If you expel them, they’ll all come here. So what should I do with them, he asked? He said, Burn them.

3.      Dareen A-bug-haid-a: The comments were denounced by Israeli historians as well as the opposition politicians, while Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany made clear that the Holocaust was very much Germany’s Responsibility. The Controversy comes at a time of heightened tension in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories. Netanyahu repeatedly blamed the Palestinian leaders for inciting Violence and lying about Israel’s Actions in al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem. Palestinians blame Israel for presiding over the crumbling status quo in Jerusalem which allows provocative acts by the right-wing Israelis in sacred site. To discuss it today, let’s bring our guests. From New York, we have Norman Finkelstein []. In Philadelphia, Gregg Roman is joining us from there. He is the director of the Middle East Forum []. In Ammad, Mouin Rabbani []. It’s good to have you with us in Al Jazeera. Norman, so as you know, Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech criticised by so many People. One professor said the speech was “the height of distortion of History.” What do you think?

4.      Finkelstein: Well, the good thing about the speech is it’s now shown the World for anyone who still entertain doubts that the Prime Minsiter of the State of Israel is the certifiable maniac. There is no evidence that the Mufi of the Jerusalem inspired the Nazi Holocaust. That’s not even a topic of Discussion or Controversy. It has as much connexion with the Real World as the Flat-Earth Soceity. Efforts now even to cast this as a Controversy are utterly preposterous. If you look at the authoritative History of the Nazi Extermination, namely, Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews. Its last version is three volumes. In these three hefty volumes, describing in excruciating detail the Extermination process, the Mufti of Jerusalem gets one sentence. One sentence in the three volumes. The Mufti at one point told the German Foreign Ministry that it shouldn’t let several thousand Hungarian children go to Palestine. The Mufti was aware that the children were being exterminated, and he said something which was Evil, no doubt about it. But then to turn that into the Mufti being the mastermind of the Nazi Holocaust, that’s beyond lunacy.
5.      Dareen A-bug-haid-a: I’d like to take this Discussion as to why Netanyahu would be saying this comment at this time, but before we get into that and before I bring in my other guests, let me just ask you [whether] you can clarify one point for us, because historians do disagree on the significance of Mufti’s relationship with Hitler, is that correct to say? And to what degree is there a Disagreement?
6.      Finkelstein: The only place where the Mufti played any role whatsoever – remember before I continue: The Mufti is an Arab, Hitler is an Aryan Supremacist as were all the Nazi Leaders – the very Idea that they would take an advice from an Arab, a Semite, that’s just so ridiculous. But leaving that aside for a moment, the only place where the Mufti “played” a role was he was trying to recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Nazi SS. That’s correct. He was trying to recruit for the Nazi Army. But apart from that, I had as much to do with the Nazi Holocaust as the Mufti of Jerusalem.
7.      Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Gregg, do you think Netanyahu expected such a backlash?
8.      Roman: No, but I also think there were several points in Netanyahu’s speech that were not factually accurate, like Mr. Finkelstein said. For instance, he said Mufti died in Cairo in 1974 of cancer. He died in Beirut. But I think that the real Element of what we have to look at here when regarding Mufti’s involvement, not just for the Holocaust, but about Palestinian Arab Incitement against Jews is the History of Mufti’s meetings with Hitler. In February of 1941, an invitation was extended from Hitler to the Mufti in Jerusalem to Berlin. The meeting then took place in Berlin in 1941. This is all available in German Foreign Record. In June of that year, there was a starting of the plan called Operation Barbarossa or the Nazi Invasion of Russia-Occupied Poland and Germany and Lithuania. We know that the Holocaust started its inception, became in 1929, 1939, and 1940 and 1941, and culminated in the first mass Killing in ** in September of 1941. The allegation that the Mufti was the inspiration for the Holocaust is factually incorrect. However. To deviate from the claims that the Mufti did not have any involvement with the Holocaust is also factually incorrect. We saw at this at the meeting of 28 November 1941. When the Mufti and Hitler met in Berlin, there were four Agreements that came to be. And of those Agreements, one would be: The use of Mufti’s Propaganda in trying to rally Arabs in coming forth a Middle Eastern Holocaust that was coming to be planned, and this was also a part of the historical record.
9.      Dareen A-bug-haid-a: All right, but hang on a second. Gregg, why would the Prime Minister of the Country.
10.   Roman: Sure.
11.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Why would the Prime Minister of Israel be standing before the World and make factually incorrect statements?
12.   Roman: Sometimes politicians make factually incorrect statements. However. I don’t think he was trying to point to the historical record as his general point. [Ronald Reagan & George Herbert Walker Bush] I think he was trying to point was the linkeage between the Mufti, his Ideological heir, Yasser Arafat, and subsequently, the Palestinian Incitements that’s going on today as being of the same lineage as the Mufti’s Hatred towards Jews. That’s the wider issue of what trying to bring up. The context in which he did it may have been incorrect. However. I have to say that the Element and the Patho of what he was trying to talk about was correct.
13.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Mouin, your take on why Netanyahu would be making these comments now?
14.   Rabbani: For exactly the reason Gregg Norman just said. As he rather outrageously and obscenely claims, today’s Palestinian leaders are essentially the heirs of Nazi Ideology, and the reason that they’re in Conflict with Israel has, as he would argue, absolutely nothing to do with Israeli Colonisation, has nothing to do with Israeli Expulsion of the Palestinian and the Nakba, and has absolutely nothing to do with half a century of Occupation and Colonisation. There’s only one reason and one reason alone, that the Palestinians are in Conflict with Israel, according to this idiotic narrative, and that is simply they have pathological and abiding Hatred of Jews, whether they are in Kiryat Arba or Copenhagen. That’s irrelevant. And that’s the point that Netanyahu was trying to make, and that’s the point that Gregg Norman is seeking to make now. I mean, trying to trivialise this by saying that politicians make factually inaccurate mistakes. [Noah Baumbach & his fucking cunt parents of his.] Well, suppose that, for example, Mahmoud Abbas were to get up today, and say, Actually, the Holocaust was not Hitler’s Idea, it was proposed to him by David Ben-Gurion and Chaim Weizmann in order to justify the Creation of the State of Israel. Imagine the Outrage that we wouldn’t have someone like John Kerry saying, Both sides need to tone down the Rhetoric. Imagine the Outrage if a Palestinian leader had said something similar. So, to seek to trivialise this is, I think, quite obscene. I also do think, however, it raises another opportunity for another important Discussion we need to have, and that is the role of the Zionist Movement in the 30s and the 40s. Netanyahu is an heir of that faction of pre-State Zionist Movement, conventionally known as Revisionism, which was in fact inspired by Fascism, albeit totalitarian variant led by Mussollini. And during World War Two, in 1941, one faction of that Movement that was eventually led by Izhak Shamir made approach to the Nazi Germany, during the Holocaust, I should add, proposing an alliance with Berlin against the British, who then ruled Palestine. So there’s a long History here. Netanyahu is today the heir and the leader of that wing of the Zionist Movement.
15.   Roman: That claim is factually incorrect.
16.   Rabbani: If you’ll let me finish, because your Organisation, Gregg Norman, the Middle East Forum, is also deeply implicated in all of this. Your leader, for example, Daniel Pipes, has described the Dutch far-right neo-Fascist leader, **, as the most important European alive. Your Organisation has been funneling Money to him. So there’s a long thread here, and not at all surprising that someone like Gregg Norman has prepared to come on this show and try to trivialise the statement and seek to justify it by making exactly the same -
17.   Roman: I think I deserve an opportunity to respond to these outrageous accusations.
18.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Let’s just keep the topic. I will give you the opportunity. Let’s keep the topic to Netanyahu’s statement and the Language of Incitement. Gregg, I allow you to respond to Mouin’s comments, and just tell us [whether] you agree that Netanyahu’s trying to smear Palestinian Nationalism in context of what is happening right now on the ground. And that’s according to Mouin has been just telling us.
19.   Roman: I disagree with that, but first and foremost, I think any ad hominem attacks against my Organisation or any Individuals involved with it would be completely irresponsible.
20.   Rabbani: It’s not ad hominem, it’s factual. Your Organisation has been publicly funneling Money to him.
21.   Roman: Yes, we did support the Right of Free Speech. We did support the Free Speech in Europe. Like right now, we’re supporting the Right to Have a Discussion about the elements in Palestinian Extremism. This doesn’t have anything to do with this historical narrative that you’re trying to bring up and take away from the ad hominem attacks that are going on in Israel right now. So let me address the Incitement narrative that I was asked by the interviewer.
22.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Yes, please.
23.   Roman: The roots of Palestinian Incitements come from [Amin] al-Husseini, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. In 1999, released autobiography, written only in Arabic and not having been translated into English until 2014 when the book came out called The Nazis, the Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East. We see that the Grand Mufti himself describes the protocols of his meeting with Hitler taking place, and trying and claim to take the Responsibility for an Incitement that took place in North Africa and in the Middle East, and even taking Responsibility for the **, in 1941 in Pogram against Jews in Baghdad. There is an inescapable and inextracable connexion between Islamists in 40s and the Nazi Movement. And to make a claim that there was an unholy alliance between Zionism and Nazism is absurd. The conversation that took place between Shamir and elements. That alliance you were talking about was not an alliance against the British. It was an effort to extract Jews from Europe so that they wouldn’t die in the gas chambers. If you look at actual Zionist archives.
24.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Just one second. Norman, I see you shaking your head. What I want to focus at this point is the Language of Incitement that People are saying is being used by both sides, Norman. So Israeli politicians are accusing the Palestinians of what they say are Nazi-like Incitements. Abbas is being personally accused by Netanyahu. And Palestinian Authority is warning the Israeli’s Incitement against Mahmoud Abbas is lead to a big explosion. What does this all mean to the situation on the ground? How does it translate into what’s happening right now?
25.   Finkelstein: Well, first of all, I do think it’s important to get facts correct. Mr. Norman is plainly incorrect when he says that the Stern Gang didn’t propose political, Ideological alliance with Hitler. The Stern Gang, as he knows - eventually became Izhak Shamir the Prime Minister of Israel – he was one of the [homo sapiens] who proposed the alliance. It did not speak to prevent the Extermination of Jews. It spoke to a political, Ideological alliance. We have the document. Number two, Gregg Norman is correct. Mufti died peacefully in Lebanon. He lived there in 1970s, which poses an interesting question, and I would certainly like to hear Gregg Norman answer.
26.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Gregg Roman, if I can correct you.
27.   Finkelstein: Roman. If the Mufti of Jerusalem was the mastermind of the Nazi Holocaust, then why didn’t the Israeli do to the Mufti what they did to Eichmann? If they went all the way to the Argentina to kidnap Eichmann in order to bring him to Justice, why didn’t they send and dispatch the same team to kidnap the Mufti, the mastermind of the Final Solution and bring him to Justice?
28.   Roman: I reiterate. The Mufti was not the mastermind of the Final Solution.
29.   Finkelstein: Why did they let him live peacefully in retirement there?
30.   Roman: You’re putting words into my mouth, sir. I said the Mufti, the Mufti was not the architect nor the mastermind of the Holocaust. That’s what I’m saying. And in addition to that.
31.   Finkelstein: Mr. Roman.
32.   Roman: You may quote whomever you want, but you will not quote me. I would say this to you: The Mufti.
33.   Finkelstein: I was quoting. I was quoting. The Mufti was not sought out by the Nuremberg Tribunal.
34.   Roman: He was sought after by the Nuremberg Tribunal. He was a War-criminal.
35.   Finkelstein: No, it’s incorrect, {Mr. Roman.} You don’t know what you’re talking about. The problem is you read so much of your own Propaganda, you read the Zionist WikiPedia entries for everybody that you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.
36.   Roman: You can try to talk over me all you want, but it doesn’t change the facts.
37.   Finkelstein: Mr. Roman, I’m sorry.
38.   Roman: It doesn’t change the facts.
39.   Finkelstein: I’m sorry. Mr. Roman, unlike you, I read books. I don’t read WikiPedia entries for Zionist Confederation.
40.   Roman: Mr. Finkelstein, I’m glad you know how to read.
41.   Finkelstein: You memorised four dates. You memorised four dates.
42.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Gentlemen, please allow me to get in here, because I’d really like to discuss why this Incitement at this particular point. No one has answered that question for me yet. So Mouin Rabbani, why now?
43.   Rabbani: I think it’s quite clear. What Netanyahu is seeking to do is, once again. Israel has been putting the Holocaust as a political use since 1930s. [Woody Allen. Noah Baumbach & his fucking cunt parents of his. Michael Oren. Wolf Blitzer.] What he’s seeking to do now is to try to make the point that the reason the Palestinians are resisting the Occupation and the Colonisation of their Land has nothing to do with Israel or Israeli policy or Israeli Action, but as a result of an innate and pathological Hatred of the Jews. In other words, it’s disconnected from Reality. Secondly, if you’re seeking to justify the Murder, the summary Execution, the building of Settlements and all the rest of it, then what better than to present the Palestinians as really the ones responsible for the Holocaust, more than even the Nazis themselves? As you know, the Holocaust is broadly seen as a uniquely Evil Crime in History. So what can be more effective than to tar the Palestinians with the brush of the Holocaust, when actually it’s these People that are responsible.
44.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Let’s bring in Norman, and see whether that is going to be effective.
45.   Finkelstein: I of course completely agree with what Mouin just said: That the Nazi Holocaust has become the equivalent of an all-purpose schmata. Schmata is the yiddish word for rag. You use it for any political purpose that might be useful at a particular moment, however much it disgrace the Memory of the suffering of the Jewish People during the World War Two, which is completely beside the point. [Fucking disgusting. Woody Allen. Noah Baumbach & his fucking cunt parents of his. Michael Oren. Wolf Blitzer.] It’s a schmata. It’s a rag. In the case of Netanyahu, it’s quite clear to anyone observing from the outside that he is decomposing. His Looney Toon cartoons at the United Nations, his [priceless] bug-eyed stare at the United Nations, his attempt to barge in on the US Congress. The man is losing it. Few marbles that he has left are obviously rapidly disappearing. On the other hand, he’s surrounded by all these courtiers, these sycophants, these grabblers, who keep telling him what a genius he is, how brilliant he is. He’s totally disconnected from Reality. He’s the equivalent of the leader of the North Korea, who goes before the United Nations and tells them that the North Korea is the Culture capital of the World. That’s Netanyahu. He has People like Michael Oren, writing these books, telling the World how brilliant Netanyahu is, what a brilliant orator he is. Yeah, that’s true, he’s a bilingual lunatic. And then you have People like Gregg Roman on this programme.
46.   Roman: I’d like to be able to respond to this diatribe for the last minue and a half, if that’s okay.
47.   Finkelstein: This lunatic, this maniac is normal.
48.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Let’s have Gregg Roman’s response.
49.   Roman: Sure, sure. The only [lunatics] and maniacs that I’ve been able to see is young Palestinian teenagers getting on to the bus filled with Israeli children and try to stab them to death. This conversation about Incitement is not about the Prime Minister Netanyahu. What it is about the roots of Incitement that have been plaguing Palestinian Society going back 70 years. Whether it was an attempted involvement of Mufti, trying to bring the Holocaust to the Middle East. [What the fuck?]
50.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: But allow me, allow me. But a lot of People are saying the roots here are the Occupation, the Israeli Occupation.
51.   Roman: Occupation is not the root of the Palestinian Incitement. There was no State of Israel from which to resist in 1941 when the Mufti met with Hitler. The Ideological heir to the Symbolism and the Ideology of Resistance, which Palestinians claim it is and which I’m saying is Terrorism, started many years before the State of Israel was founded. And the argument is: Generation after generation that is used by the Palestinian leaders that try to whip up the Fury and resentment against the Jews who are living rightfully in their historical homeland of Israel is coming from the same base of Hatred that is being used today that try to convince the young Palestinians on social Media and other venues of Incitement to commit these heinous terrorist Attacks. If we want to end the cycle of Violence, we also have to end the cycle of Incitement that has been going on for generations. Now, it was interesting to see that we talked about David Ben-Gurion and also Yitzhak Shamir, both Individuals who came to accept the fact that they had to negotiate with their Palestinian partner. Israelis had accepted the Idea of the State of Palestine since 1948 -
52.   Rabbani: Shamir?
53.   Roman: - when UN was able to vote on it. And what we see now is even Binyamin Netanyahu.
54.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: Mouin, last 15 seconds. Last 15 seconds, you can have the last few words, Mouin Rabbani.
55.   Roman: Sure.
56.   Rabbani: We’re supposed to believe that Yitzhak Shamir came to the conclusion that he had to negotiate with the Palestinians? This is Shamir, who after being ousted from office, his plan was -
57.   Roman: Go to the Madrid Conference, sir. That’s all you need to do.
58.   Rabbani: - to discontinue the talks indefinitely.
59.   [omitted]
60.   Dareen A-bug-haid-a: I apologise. We’ve run out of Time. Thank you very much for joining us. Norman Finkelstein is from New York. Gregg Roman from Philadelphia. Mouin Rabbani, you’re with us from Ammad. And thank you for watching us. Always you can leave your comments on our website, You can also post your views on You can also tweet us at @AJInsideStory. Thanks for watching here at ** and the whole team in **. Goodbye for now.

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