On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jewish leaders at the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem that the recent violence in Israel was caused by some big lies being spread by Palestinians about Israel's intentions regarding the Al Aqsa Mosque, revered as holy by both Muslims and Jews (who call it the Temple Mount). One "huge lie" is that Israel wants to destroy the mosque, he said, calling it a 100-year-old falsehood started by Palestinian Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini. Husseini "was later sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he had a central role in fomenting the Final Solution," or Holocaust, Netanyahu said, then added:
He flew to Berlin. Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, "If you expel them, they'll all come here." "So what should I do with them?" he asked. He said, "Burn them." [Netanyahu]
Netanyahu's comments about the Holocaust begin at the 2:08 mark:
Historians, opposition politicians, and Palestinian officials strongly disagreed with Netanyahu's version of history. The mufti did meet with Hitler, but not until November 1941, when Hitler's mass extermination of German and Eastern European Jews had been underway for months, leading Holocaust historians tell Israel's Ynet.
Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog, of the Zionist Union party, took to Facebook to demand an apology: "This is a dangerous historical distortion and I demand Netanyahu correct it immediately as it minimises the Holocaust, Nazism, and... Hitler's part in our people’s terrible disaster." Fellow Zionist Union MP Itzik Shumli piled on, calling it "a great shame, a prime minister of the Jewish state at the service of Holocaust deniers — this is a first."
Netanyahu stood by his remarks. "I had absolutely no intention of absolving Hitler of his diabolical responsibility for the extermination of Europe's Jews," he told reporters before boarding a plane to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Hitler was responsible for the Final Solution to murder six million, it was his decision." But "it is absurd to ignore the role played by the mufti," he added, "in encouraging and goading Hitler" and his deputies. As proof he offered testimony by a deputy to Adolf Eichmann who had shifted blame to Husseini when he was on trial for war crimes in Nuremberg.