Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Nazis of the Middle East

Baron Bodissey at the Gates of Vienna reminds me of an important part of Middle East history that does not get near the attention it deserves. (although I covered some aspects of it here: The Palestinian Role in the Holocaust where I link the Mufti to Yasser Arafat through family connections) The Baron starts with:

Pastorius has sent a note reminding me of the excellent video from German television, “Hitler, The Mufti Of Jerusalem And Modern Islamo Nazism“. It’s about the Mufti, Muhammed Amin al-Husseini, and his collaboration with the Nazis before and during the Second World War.
If you want to learn more about Pastorius or see the video the Baron has links. I asked my mother (now 85) who lived through that period in America (her mother and father were immigrants from Romania) if she had heard of Mufti al-Husseini, her reply was offhand as if every one ought to know that history: she said "Of course."
The Berlin based headquarters of the Mufti controlled almost a world-wide net of collaborators. Sponsored by German money he extended his claws to the Middle East, as well as to other areas where Muslims lived. His main activities were:

1. Radio propaganda;
2. Espionage and fifth column activities in the Middle East;
3. Organising Muslims into military units in Axis-occupied countries; and
4. Establishing some German controlled Arab Legions and the Arab Brigade.
According to this Nationa Review article, the first Arabic versions of Mein Kampf were distributed in 1938.
The Third Reich and the Arab East, by Lukasz Hirszowicz, a Polish-born scholar, was published almost 40 years ago but remains a definitive work. It examines in careful detail how Hitler's Germany sought to woo Arabs through anti-British and anti-Jewish policies. Nazi personalities like Josef Goebbels and Baldur von Schirach of the Hitler Youth carried out goodwill tours. Various German agents financed and armed clandestine Arab fascist groups. The first Arabic translation of Mein Kampf appeared in 1938, and Hitler himself tactfully proposed to omit from it his "racial ladder" theory.

Of all the Arabs convinced of Hitler's coming triumph, none was so eager as Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Palestinian Arabs in the Hitler years. Vincent Sheean, the Thomas L. Friedman of the day, thought that Haj Amin had "great gifts." Along the lines that "my enemy's enemy is my friend," Haj Amin converted the Palestinian cause into a local branch of Hitler's worldwide anti-Jewish persecution. Fleeing from the British, he spent the war in Berlin. A friend and admirer of Himmler's, he raised a division of Bosnian Muslims for the SS. Hitler made grandiose promises to him, but was cautious enough to add that they could be met only after victory.
Verrrrrrrrrrry Interesting. Did all this end with the death of the Nazi Empire? Why no. Nazi Jew hatred didn't end with the Nazis. It was taken up by Muslims all over the world. An updated version of Islamic Jew hatred. dire are the injustices and the poverty, and so threatening is the tyranny over their heads, that many are lost in pity for themselves, and hatred of everyone else. A slew of racists, radicals, and Islamists share a frame of mind that the West is selfishly conspiring against them, with the Jews once again secretly in charge. Catering to such people since the early '60s, editions of Mein Kampf have been put out in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and it is reported to be a bestseller in the Palestinian Authority area. It is available in London stores selling Arabic books. As its Arabic translator Luis al-Haj expresses it in his preface, "National Socialism did not die with the death of its herald. Rather, its seeds multiplied under each star."

In traditional society in the Middle East, Arabs were the masters and Jews were second-class subjects, protected though under rather demeaning conditions. European-style anti-Semitism, usually spread by missionaries and diplomats, came in during the 19th century. Zionism, another import from Europe, redefined Jews according to nationality rather than religion, and the accompanying improvement in their lowly status abruptly challenged Arab assumptions of superiority. These second-class people could surely never have done it on their own; they could only be obtaining their new power from outside — it had to be a plot. Hitler says so too in his book. He believed Zionism was "nothing but a comedy," and he could see through "this sly trick of the Jews."
So we have a resurgence of the European disease in the Islamic world. Swell. No wonder the Europeans don't want to look too closely at this. Let's get back to what the Baron has to say about the Mufti. Continuing his quote from Muftism and Nazism (the Baron has a link):
His greatest achievement was, however, the recruitment of tens of thousands of the Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania to the Waffen SS. His Arab Legions later participated in massacring tens of thousands of partisan Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. In 1943 there were 20,000 Muslims under arms in “his” division of the Waffen SS, the Handschar… Nevertheless, the Balkan adventure was only his spare-time activity because his main interest was the fight against World Jewry. In the annual protest against the Balfour Declaration, which in 1943 was staged in the large Luftwaffe hall in Berlin, the Mufti attacked the “Anglo-Saxon and Jewish conspiracy” phrase he so frequently used, and said: “The Treaty of Versailles was a disaster for the Germans as well as for the Arabs. But the Germans know how to get rid of the Jews. That which brings us close to the Germans and sets us in their camp is that up to day.”
This was the man who Arafat called "uncle".

The Baron concludes with this:
A favorite canard from Muslims (and the Left) is that “the Jews are just like the Nazis”. But the story of the Mufti is a sobering reminder — as if we needed one — that such assertions are what psychologists refer to as “projection”.

The Baron has a photo of the Mufti and Himmler looking perfectly slimy shaking each other's hand.

Update: 31 Aug '06 0611z

Captain's Quarters reviews a movie Obsession about the Nazi/Islamic fascist connection.


Anonymous said...

This is a very important subject. It highlights the need that the Islamists have for an ideology that can't win and with which the west cannot reconcile itself (the value of ardent anti-semitism and other obvious tempermental parallels go without saying).

Nazism in the modern world is a recipe for perpetual conflict with anybody who feels they have a stake in this civilization. This makes it ideal.

Chas said...

Of course the other ingredient in this unwholesome recipe is the "war on terror" the ultimate Owellian, unwinable, unloseable, war - perpetual conflict seems assured .. congratulations all round , I think.



Anonymous said...

The war on terror has clear boundaries in scope. When you have governments and whole societies involved on one side of it, its a WAR. When terrorism goes back to being the pastime of a few kooks with bombs it'll be a police issue again.

Mark in Texas said...

Mein Kampf was also extremely popular in China in the 1930s. The antisemitism didn't seem to resonate but the idea of recovering from a period of national humiliation did.

Even today Hitler is thought of not all that badly in the far east. You might remember a few years ago there was an uproar about some Asian manufacturer had a cute little cartoon Hitler in an ad for some appliance.

I suppose that we might be equally insensitive if we think of Ghengis Kahn in terms of fur hats, mustaches, John Wayne in "The Conqueror" and don't remember the pyramids of skulls in Chinese cities.

Chas said...

interesting point. Perhaps there are some additional factors at work in the ME which make anti-semitism resonate there? Or is it just that all arabic people are inherently evil ... I wonder?

When the war on terror was first mooted, in the run up to the invasion of Afghanistan, there was much talk about the 'other' side of the war, the need to fight poverty, promote dialogue and democracy and peaceful progress towards the resolution of regional disputes, for example .. I won't give an example .. it is too obvious.
But that aspect of the war has vanished, if it was ever real .. and left, surprise surprise, only the military option.
So the "scope" of the war is like the horizon .. always receding as you approach it. As bungled military campaigns accompany the increasing inability to contemplate , let alone attempt, serious efforts at political engagement, rhetoric replaces reason - on both sides and demonization serves as a substitute for thought - again on both sides, the WoT continues to create more terrorists than it eliminates and radicalize more populations than it moderates. It is, in short, a self perpetuating hate-machine.
It is most revealing that the failure of of the Israelis to succeed militarily in accomplishing the WoT goals in Lebanon, in spite of, or more likely because of, support from the US - seems to be creating more momentum for peace in the region than their success would have. Still too early to say though.



Anonymous said...

Chas you're confusing yourself with a lot of rhetoric.

The scope is clear. There are terror supporting states. You know who they are. They support extremely dangerous terrorist groups. You know who they are too. They have victims. You also know who they are. By not naming any of these, I'm demonstrating to you that by common sense alone you know how to fill in all these blanks. It's only when the voices start circling around in your head that you get confused and start thinking that the effort to fight the bloodthirsty murderers who are trying to kill you is somehow contributing to a self perpetuation hate machine.

Haven't you ever seen what Palestinian kids are taught in school? Do you have any idea what passes for social commentary in mainstream Arab newspapers?

You must not be aware of the realities in the Middle East. How else can you justify telling this audience that the Jews are responsible for the hate directed at them, just by virtue of fighting for their lives?

And this is your response to an article about the perpetuation of Nazi ideology in the Arab world?

Lirun said...

you may have heard of the adolph hitler food chain.. it started in mumbai just recently and is going gangbusters..

there are plans for 6 more very soon..

the place is decorated in red black and white and notwithstanding the opposition to the restaurant by the small local jewish community and german expats.. the concept is going very strong..

i think the place is called hitler's cross..

personally not a fan of nazi chat..

M. Simon said...


Here is an LGF link Eat at Adolph's

With a picture.

Paul said...

To me, there's no question that the hatred of Jews in the Arab world is not only something that just suddenly emerged after the founding of the State of Israel. But in many discussions I hear Israel is the cause of the hatred, the occupation etc. and they then refer to the "Zionists", not the Jews.
But, what about the period before 1948, and then not just e.g. Hebron 1923 but also earlier on and the position of the Jews in the Arab world? I often hear they were better of in the Arab world than their European counterparts for example in the Middle Ages. Is this true?

Anonymous said...


Not all Muslims are anti-zionist. Before the revolution, Iran had a good relationship with Israel. Turkey has a good relationship with Israel today. The peace agreements between Israel and Egypt and Jordon imply that those two countries have made peace with zionism, if an uncomfortable peace. Even the PLO eventually came around to the acceptance of the right of the Jewish state to exist.

Who remains at war? That's the thing. At the end of the day it's not occupation, or a history of conflict, or entrenched financial interests, that perpetuate this conflict. All those issues have shown themselves to be resolvable in reasonable ways. At the end of the day, Jew hatred drives this conflict forward, in the territories, in Lebanon, with Iran ...

And who are the Jew haters? Usually they're cowardly and ashamed. They hide behind pseudo peaceful rhetoric, cycle of violence rhetoric and moral equivalency. At least Nasrallah is man enough to stand up and wear his passions on his sleeve. But the american Jew hater, who shows up around here from time to time, is nothing but a whimpering little puppy who needs to be dominated by a strong Jewish woman.

Chas said...

sorry for the late reply, I have to sleep sometime.
Not confused, though your reading of my post certainly was. Please do not try to accuse me of things I did not say. I said that there were other factors at work in the ME that caused the the anti-semitic message to find fertile ground. You leapt to your own conclusions. I would say the over reliance by Israel on military solutions to essentially political problems is one, but only one of these factors.
I am not talking about times like the 6-day war and Yom-kippur, when the military option was the only possible response. I mean at times when there were other possibilities.
I am not opposed to Israel, just to militarism as an end in itself, which is what the rest of my post was about .. it is a doctrine which morally corrodes the societies which espouse it. There is to be sure a place for the military as a servant of politics, not as the master.



M. Simon said...

The Israeli military in the Second Lebanese War has served politics well.

It has created conditiions where UNSCR 1701 and 1559 are being implimented.

So just where did the military solution fail?

Anonymous said...

> I am not opposed to Israel,
> just to militarism as an
> end in itself

Hamas and Hezballah are both perfectly clear in their genocidal intent. It's hard to come up with a better case for militarism, but to conclude that Israelis are militaristic as an end in itself is specious, or at the very least terribly misinformed.

C. Owen Johnson said...

M. Simon: Good post. I'm glad people are highlighting this connection. Indeed the connections between recent Islamic radicalism and Western ideologies, be they liberal thought, Nazism or Marxism are not nearly well appreciated enough. I do not think the growth of Islamic radicalism in Europe is a coincidence.

Also I think Chas has a mistaken understanding of the GWOT because he lacks a clear view of its purpose and scope, and of the strategy that is being employed to fight it. That is perhaps not surprising, as it seems that these are not widely understood in almost any circles. For those interested, there is more on this, accessible through my blog.


M. Simon said...

The clickable link to Nemesis is:

Lirun said...

i dont think u need to go to refined literature to uncover hatred in our region.. there are many more obvious voices that make it abundantly clear..

i know people think i'm "on something" but with limited resources and time i urge people to look towards the other direction and delve more into what can change..

you can only deal with the hatred of the world for so long.. and then suddenly you reslise your life is over..