Thursday, 26 July 2012
“Know your enemy,” said the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, “and know yourself – that is the recipe for victory a hundred times over.”
Do we in the civilized world know ourselves?
There is no consensus on most of the big issues that confront us. For example, what is more important to us, individual rights or the protection of society? Or consider Syria today. Should defenceless civilians be sacrificed to the political self-interest of powerful nations? The UN Security Council requires unanimity before it sanctions action against a rogue state − which is a safeguard against arbitrary activity by a clique of nations, but a severe curtailment on effective action. Are we content with that balance?
As for knowing our enemy, we are even more deficient. That the civilised world in general, and Israel in particular, is confronted by loosely-knit world-wide Islamist terrorist groupings − jihadists − intent on disrupting and eventually destroying our way of life, to be replaced by an Islamic Caliphate, that much is widely recognised. What is less well known, perhaps, is that their origins and philosophy are intimately associated with Nazism in its most malignant anti-semitic manifestation.
In a recent article Professor David Patterson traces the modern jihadists’ virulent hatred of Jews, a prime element in their declared philosophy, to three founding fathers: Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, jihadist ideologue Sayyd Quth, and the leader of the Palestinian Arabs from 1920s to the 1940s, the Jerusalem mufti Hajj Amin Husseini.
Al-Banna was an open admirer of Hitler and Nazi methods of anti-semitic propaganda; modern jihadists take their lead from him and repeatedly quote the long-discredited forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as proof of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy, deny the Holocaust and blame the Jews for starting the Second World War.
As Patterson points out, the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg argued that Jews must be annihilated because all Jews were evil and were poisoning the Aryan race; Sayyd Quth followed the same line, giving it an Islamist twist. Jews, he held, were “by nature determined to fight God’s truth and sow corruption and confusion.” Just like the Nazis, the jihadists must eliminate this source of evil that threatens all humanity.
Patterson quotes a televised address, delivered in January 2009, by the Egyptian cleric, Muhammad Hussein Yacoub.
“If the Jews left Palestine to us,” he said, “would we start loving them? Of course not… They are enemies not because they occupied Palestine… Our fighting with the Jews is eternal, and it will not end until the final battle…until not a single Jew remains on the face of the earth.”
Thus the Islamist message is that hatred of Jews and their extermination is obligatory for Muslims, as it was for Nazis.
Patterson says, and provides chapter and verse for doing so, that the jihadist who more than any other espoused the Nazis’ loathing of Jews, and their aim of exterminating them, was Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the one-time mufti of Jerusalem. “He who kills a Jew is assured of a place in the next world” was his rallying cry to the Arabs of Palestine in 1929, when they rose against the British mandate government and went on a frenzy of killing that left 133 Jews dead and many more wounded.
Just two months after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Husseini − having established links with the Muslim Brotherhood − met the Nazi general consul in Jerusalem, Heinrich Wolff, and arranged for the Nazis to provide support for the Brotherhood. He later indicated that the Arab revolt that he instigated in 1936, starting with rioting against the Jews of Jaffa, was engineered with the help of the Nazis.
In October 1937, shortly after the Peel Commission had recommended partition as the best way to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict, Husseini had his first meeting with Adolf Eichmann and one of his colleagues in the Gestapo’s Department of Jewish Affairs.
He spent the next few years fomenting trouble, an effort that climaxed in May 1941 with his issuing a fatwa announcing a jihad against Britain and the Jews. By November that year he was in Germany, conferring with Hitler. Before the end of the year, Husseini again met Eichmann, now responsible for carrying out the “Final Solution”. Eichmann’s deputy later stated that the mufti was directly involved in its initiation and execution, and in advising Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and its architect.
On 2 November 1943, Husseini declared at a rally in the Luftwaffe Hall in Berlin, “The Germans know how to get rid of the Jews … They have definitely solved the Jewish problem. [This makes] our friendship with Germany… permanent and lasting…” In a series of broadcasts, he proclaimed that there are “considerable similarities between Islamic principles and those of National Socialism.” He enjoined Muslims to “kill the Jews wherever you find them.” As the war turned against Germany, Husseini began to fear that it might end before the extermination of the Jews could be accomplished. He wrote to Himmler twice, urging greater speed in completing the enterprise.
The modern jihadist movement has remained faithful to its origins. The 1968 final version of the Palestinian National Charter envisages no peaceful outcome to the struggle, but − turning facts on their heads − asserts that “claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history”. Jews not only have no place in Israel, but no place anywhere: “Israel is … the geographical base for world imperialism... Israel is a constant source of threat vis-à-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world.”
Arafat declared that “the end of Israel is the goal of our struggle…Peace for us means the destruction of Israel and nothing else.” Following the murder of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the United Nations recognised the PLO as the representatives of the Palestinians and granted it observer status. Subsequently PLO chief, Salah Khalaf, asserted: “an independent state on the West Bank and Gaza is the beginning of the final solution” – using the chilling Nazi code for the extermination of European Jewry. The phrase was echoed by Fatah leader Sakhr Habash, shortly after Israel left the Gaza Strip.
Hamas, which seized power in Gaza, is entirely rejectionist as far as any accommodation with Israel is concerned, and is involved in a power struggle with Fatah for the hearts and minds of Palestinians. Both need to assert and reassert their commitment to their jihadist origins, so as recently as August 2009 Fatah’s Sixth General Assembly asserted that “the struggle will not stop until the Zionist entity is eliminated and Palestine is liberated.” The Hamas charter expands on the theme of the God-approved duty of every Muslim to kill Jews. A good Muslim mother must prepare her children for the fighting that awaits them, for, as article 28 asserts: “The Zionist invasion of the world…[aims] at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character, and annihilating Islam…Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people.”
Thus, as Professor Patterson concludes, Hamas, true to its core Nazi beliefs, asserts that “evil is rooted not only in the Jews, but in Judaism itself. The only way to liberate humanity is to cast the satanic Jew into hell − and, as the embodiment of God on earth, Hamas takes the lead in that endeavour. Hamas is humanity’s saviour.”
Patterson declares, not without reason, that by refusing to name the evil they confront, world leaders remain wilfully blind to it. Maintaining that the media are complicit in this, he castigates world leaders for refusing to refer to Islamist fascists as either Islamists or as fascists.
What does his analysis mean for the so-called “peace process”, currently frozen solid and immovable?
It does not mean that the world has to throw its hands in the air and declare that the search for an accommodation between Israel and the Palestinians is a pointless exercise. “Know your enemy”, just as “know yourself” is simply an essential precursor to successful action.
Published in the online Jerusalem Post today, Thursday 26 July 2012: