1929 French Paper Depicts Massacres in Jerusalem and Hebron

This past month, three things occurred in the context of the Israeli and Palestinian Arab conflict that help to exemplify both the root of the conflict and why, absent a titanic shift in the way Palestinian Arabs view the conflict and Israel, there can be no comprehensive resolution to the conflict. 

These three things were:

At the outset, it is important to clarify why I write “Palestinian Arab” and not just “Palestinian.” 

The reason is that history matters (especially when discussing the history of a conflict and its source), and the history of the word “Palestinian” is that until the end of the 19th century, when people referred to “Palestinians,” they were referring to Jews. This is why the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant described Jews as “the Palestinians among us,” and it is why until the very middle of the 20th century the only people living in the land of Israel who generally referred to themselves as “Palestinians” were the Jews living in British-controlled Palestine. This is not to say that since 1948 (the time of Israel’s declaration of independence from British rule), that the Palestinian Arabs have not developed and coalesced around a Palestinian identity. It is, however, clear that they don’t have a monopoly on that identity, and certainly not on its history. 

PIJ’s mission: to destroy Israel

In addition to being a designated terrorist group by the U.S. and the EU, PIJ—based on its own words—is an Islamist supremacist fundamentalist offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood (just like al Qaeda), committed to the complete destruction of Israel (from “the river to the sea”) as well as to the establishment of a totalitarian Islamist theocracy on the ashes of Israel. 

PIJ opposes any relations with Israel and its Jewish citizens—other than those designed to try to violently destroy them. In line with its anti-Semitic and genocidal raison de’etre, PIJ’s number one sponsor and financial lifeline is the Iranian Mullahcracy. Iran is another Islamist supremacist fundamentalist theocracy, which not only brutalizes and terrorizes its own people, but just like PIJ, is committed to violently wiping Israel and its 9 million citizens (and in particular its 7 million Jews) off the map.  

As PIJ lives and breathes an openly violent Islamist Supremacist ideology – which is a near mirror image of the Christian white supremacy that animates groups like the KKK – and gets its marching orders from a brutal thugacracy like Iran, a rational person might be excused for thinking that based on PIJ sending terrorists to Israeli towns and cities to murder Israeli civilians sitting in restaurants, walking their children by their apartments (in a purely residential area), and picnicking in parks and subsequently fired hundreds of rockets targeting random Jews for murder from Tel Aviv to Sderot (which also misfired repeatedly and landed in Gaza), that the mainstream international media and social media condemnation of PIJ, and corresponding support for Israel, would have been immediate and clear. But if that is what anyone expected, they would have been very disappointed. 

In fact, even after it became clear that the Palestinian Arabs’ leadership and their various media and social media arms were trying to blame Israel for the PIJ-misfired rockets that were landing in Gaza and killing Palestinian civilians, including children, much of the mainstream media refused to condemn PIJ and even repeated the bogus claim that Israel was to blame for the results of PIJ’s misfired rockets. 

“Heroic Operation” – to shoot at an unarmed pregnant woman

A few days after a ceasefire was entered into between Israel and PIJ, a Palestinian Arab terrorist, Amir Sidawi, opened fire on a random group of Jews at a bus stop. He shot eight people, including among his victims a 35-year-old pregnant woman he critically injured, whose child is still – as I write this – fighting for his life. 

In response to this heinous terror attack, where a terrorist looked in the eyes of a pregnant woman and aimed for her belly, Fatah, the party headed by the supposedly “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas, who heads up the also supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority, praised the attack and the attacker. Same, of course, for Hamas, which praised both the attack and the attacker as “brave” and “heroic.” After all, what says “bravery” and “heroism” more than shooting at a group of civilians waiting for a bus and facing down an unarmed pregnant lady with an automatic rifle? 

In response to this heinous terror attack, where a terrorist looked in the eyes of a pregnant woman and aimed for her belly, Fatah, the party headed by the supposedly “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas, who heads up the also supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority, praised the attack and the attacker.

50 Holocausts

Following up on the complete absence of any moral compass demonstrated by the actions of Islamic Jihad, the terrorist attack at the Jerusalem bus stop, and the reactions to both of those by sadly almost all Palestinian Arab groups and leaders, we had the Mahmoud Abbas “50 Holocausts” moment in Germany.

In the same country where, within living memory, the “Final Solution” was planned and implemented, the head of the Palestinian Authority was being feted by the current German government and given the incredible respect of sharing a podium with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.  

Plainly, it should be considered absurd to honor with a joint press conference, with the German head of state, a man who is virtually stealing EU and American aid money (meant to better the lives of Palestinian Arabs); as he refuses to sit for elections and is in the 18th year of his original (supposed) four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority. Setting aside this absurdity, it was only natural, given the 50th anniversary of the Munich Massacre, that the German press would ask Abbas questions about the heinous and brutal terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics, which he helped plan and fund.

But after being asked the to be expected question about whether he was ready to apologize—50 years after the fact—for his role in the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, Abbas did not respond with an apology (for being an accomplice to the mass murder of athletes attending the Olympics), but rather with the claim that Israel has committed “50 Holocausts” against the Palestinians. 

Of course, since in the entire approximate 100-year history of the Arab-Israeli conflict around 17,000 Palestinian Arabs and 26,000 Israelis have been killed (mostly in armed conflict and in Israeli responses to terrorist and rocket attacks from armed Palestinian Arab groups), the claim that Israel has committed even one “Holocaust” (where more than 6 million Jews—one-third of the worldwide Jewish population—were intentionally murdered in barely 5 years) would be an extraordinarily immoral comment bearing no relationship to the truth, or respect for facts or history. But “50 Holocausts”? That represents a worldview that is beyond malignant. Beyond out of touch with reality. Rather, one that is informed by antisemitism while completely unhinged from both reality and human decency.  

Sadly, the fact that the Palestinian Arabs’ “moderate” leader and supposed “partner for peace” with Israel is that unhinged from reality and engages simultaneously in Holocaust denial, Holocaust inversion, and blood libeling the one Jewish state (as he claims Israel has done something 50 times worse than the worst crime of the Nazis) should surprise no one. 

At the same time that Abbas has repeatedly been the invited and honored guest of world leaders since his last election as the Palestinian Authority president, Abbas has also repeatedly trafficked in the worst antisemitism, revisionist history, and Holocaust denial and inversion. In 2018, Abbas blamed Jews for 6 million of them being murdered, claiming that “Jewish behavior and not anti-Semitism” caused the Holocaust. In 2015, Abbas asserted that Jews have no right to go to the holiest site in Judaism (the Temple Mount), and actually referred to Jews “defiling” the site with their “filthy feet.” 

Abbas also heads up a Palestinian Authority dictatorship that not only praises terrorist attacks; it has a literal Jew-murder incentive program (colloquially known as “Pay to Slay”), which rewards those who murder Jews in acts of terrorism with lifetime salaries that are often eight times what the average high school teacher makes in Ramallah. Abbas’s Palestinian Authority is also a Der Sturmer-like fount of Jew-hatred and antisemitic revisionist history. From promoting Henry Ford and Nazi-type claims about Jews controlling banks and foreign governments, to claims that harken back to medieval times about Jews “harvesting organs” and poisoning wells, there seems to be no antisemitic line the Palestinian Authority and its “moderate” leader are not willing to cross.

This is why these three events: PIJ’s unvarnished antisemitism and Islamist Supremacy, as well as the world’s reaction to it; the continued glorification of even the most heinous act of terrorism (shooting an unarmed pregnant woman in her stomach); and Abbas’s “50 Holocausts” libel and the world’s feigned outrage—as they keep touting Abbas as a moderate, and sending billions of dollars to the PA—exemplify the root of the conflict and why there cannot be a foreseeable near-term resolution to it.

As long as the most “moderate” of Palestinian Arab leaders engage in Holocaust denial;  promote anti-Semitic canards; and deny any Jewish historical connection to the land of Israel—all while they praise and reward the murder of Jews—peace is simply not possible.

The modern inception of this conflict was in the 1920s. At that time, there were two principal heads of the two most powerful Palestinian Arab families who were vying for effective control of the Palestinian Arab cause and narrative. The first was the Ragheb Nashashibi, the then mayor of Jerusalem, as determined by the British Mandate. On the other side of this divide, was Haj Amin el-Husseini, the head of the Arab Higher Committee and the Mufti of Jerusalem (also as determined by the British).

Ragheb Nashashibi at that time represented a far less virulent and aggressive response to Zionism. He represented a then influential voice of compromise, and notably supported the partition proposed by the Peel Commission: a proposed partition plan by the British, which if it had been implemented would have led to a sovereign Jewish state, and would have likely saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Jews, who ended up being murdered in the Holocaust.

As long as the most “moderate” of Palestinian Arab leaders engage in Holocaust denial;  promote anti-Semitic canards; and deny any Jewish historical connection to the land of Israel—all while they praise and reward the murder of Jews—peace is simply not possible.

Haj Amin el-Husseini, in sharp contrast to Nashashibi, opposed all compromise (all “normalization”) and regularly incited violence against Jews by telling outrageous lies, which used classic antisemitism to foment hatred of Jews and to deny the Jewish people any right to exist as a sovereign people in any part of their indigenous land. For Husseini, the conflict had less to do with land and who had sovereign control of which parts, and far more to do with hatred of the Jewish people, and a fundamentalist duty to destroy the Jewish people, which is why, shortly after 1937, he became an honored guest of Hitler in Berlin and a Nazi collaborator.

Unfortunately, by the time the Arab Higher Committee had rejected in 1937 the creation of the first independent Arab state west of the Jordan River, pursuant to the Peel Commission, it had also become clear that Husseini had taken on the role as the de facto leader of the Palestinian Arab population. Subsequently, after Husseini had repeatedly incited with antisemitic lies multiple mass murder pogroms between 1920 and 1936 targeting Jews in British controlled Palestine, he ended up taking on the role of being the Arabic voice of the Nazis on German radio and on July 7, 1942, the “Voice of Free Arabism” hosted by Husseini played a program titled, “Kill the Jews Before They Kill You.” 

Just like the violence so often incited against Jews in Israel over the past 15 years by the “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, this broadcast began with a lie: “A large number of Jews residing in Egypt and a number of Poles, Greeks, Armenians, and Free French have been issued with revolvers and ammunition” to fight “against the Egyptians at the last moment, when Britain is forced to evacuate Egypt.” The broadcast by Husseini continued:

“In the face of this barbaric procedure by the British we think it best, if the life of the Egyptian nation is to be saved, that the Egyptians rise as one man to kill the Jews before they have a chance of betraying the Egyptian peopleIt is the duty of the Egyptians to annihilate the Jews and to destroy their property. … You must kill the Jews, before they open fire on you. Kill the Jews, who have appropriated your wealth and who are plotting against your security. Arabs of Syria, Iraq, and Palestine, what are you waiting for? The Jews are planning to violate your women, to kill your children and to destroy you. According to the Muslim religion, the defense of your life is a duty which can only be fulfilled by annihilating the JewsThis is your best opportunity to get rid of this dirty race, which has usurped your rights and brought misfortune and destruction on your countries. Kill the Jews, burn their property, destroy their stores, annihilate these base supporters of British imperialism. Your sole hope of salvation lies in annihilating the Jews before they annihilate you.”

In 1942, the democracies of the world at least treated Haj Amin el-Husseini and those who trafficked in his lies like the extremist Jew-hating racist supremacists they were. Today, out of convenience or moral cowardice, as much of the media ignore the virulent and open Islamist supremacism by groups like Islamic Jihad, most world leaders pretend there is a meaningful difference between Mahmoud Abbas and his Holocaust-denying antisemitism and exploitation of antisemitic canards, to the extremism of Haj Amin el-Husseini. They pretend that there is a credible difference between the “moderate” Palestinian Arab leadership and the views and lies of an outright Nazi collaborator; a man who is widely credited with being the godfather of the Palestinian Arab nationalism, as well as of the collective Palestinian Arab rejection of any right of the Jewish people to have any sovereignty and self-determination in their indigenous land. A rejection grounded in lies, revisionist history, and outright antisemitism, which has fueled this conflict for over a century. 

But while Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies may wear nice suits and occasionally say in English some nice words about peace, their actions and claims—as illustrated by these three events and sadly many others—demonstrate that when it comes to the possibility of peaceful coexistence, any differences between Husseini and Abbas are meaningless. 

Moreover, until the democracies of the world recognize that the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict—both in the 1930s under the leadership of Husseini, and today under Abbas—remains the antisemitic view of the Jews as being a “dirty race” that should be “killed” and who somehow brought the Holocaust upon themselves with their “behavior,” as they commit far worse horrors than the Nazis themselves; and refuse to tolerate such views and thereby further enable the perpetuation of these sick beliefs among most of the Palestinian Arab leaders writ large, peace will never be possible. Impossible that is, absent a self-imposed titanic shift among the Palestinian Arabs themselves, a shift, which would include a return to Nashashibi’s pragmatism, and even more importantly, the complete rejection of Husseini’s Nazi-collaborating antisemitic legacy, as perpetuated presently by all of the  Palestinian Arab leadership, from Abbas to Hamas to Islamic Jihad.