Friday, August 22, 2008

The Mufti's Early Connections With Germany

Early connections with Germany

Since the First World War the British, the French and even the Italians had become an object of a growing distrust and hatred in the Middle East. They all had colonised some parts of the late Ottoman Empire and aroused Muslim distrust of the Western culture they tried to introduce. However, Germany had remained a mere observer. Germany's fervent nationalism, anti­semitism and anti‑Versailles sentiments did not escape the attention of the Muslim Middle East. The Mufti was no exception.

And the Mufti had plans to keep the Palestine pot boiling — with
the help of Adolf Hitler. The Führer despised the Jews for economic and
ideolog­ical terms; the Mufti for political and social reasons. Hitler
wanted to weaken Britain's imperial system; Haj Amin to oust her out the Middle
East. The two men had a good deal in common.

In March 1933 the Mufti sent a telegram to Berlin, in which he sent greetings to the Nazi regime and said he looked forward to spreading their ideology in the Middle East, especially in Palestine.
[2] A month later, he secretly met Wolff, the German Consul-General, near the Dead Sea and expressed his approval of the anti‑Jewish boycott in Germany and asked him not to send any Jews to Palestine.[3] Later that year, the Mufti’s assistants approached Wolff, seeking his help in establishing a National Socialist Arab party in Palestine. Both Wolff and his superiors disapproved, but the German refusal could hardly have been a surprise. Firstly, Germany's Palestinian policy was then to keep the country open for further immigration of German Jews besides they did not want to get involved in the British sphere of influence. Also, both Wolff and his superiors were following a pro-Zionist policy because the need for further Jewish immigration, made known in the Ha'avara. Secondly, the membership of the NSDAP, the Nazi party, was restricted to German speaking “Aryans” only.[4]

The policy of the Nazi party was then to make Germany juden­rein, free of Jews. The only country which could possibly absorb a larger number of Jews was Palestine. The Nazi leaders realised that it was in their interest to keep on sending the Jews to Palestine, despite the Mufti's protests. Nevertheless, the German Palestinian policy was unstable and depended heavily upon Hitler's day-to-day decisions. However, one thing remained certain: Germany did not want a Jewish National Home in Palestine, or elsewhere, let alone a Jewish State. When the Mufti finally realised that his pleas for support from Germany would not be successful he turned to Italy and in 1934 he received his first payment from there.[5] His interest in Germany, however, was not to be severed, despite Hitler's official lack of interest for the time being. However, the Führer's Palestinian policy was not to remain pro-Zionist much longer.


[1] Kurzman: Genesis, 32.
[2] Yisraeli: The Third Reich, 350, 353.
[3] Nicosia: The Third Reich and Palestine, 85, 86.
[4] ibid, 89, 90.
[5] Brenner: Zionism, 91.

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