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Benjamin Netanyahu blames Holocaust on Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini at World Zionist Congress, says Hitler only wanted to expel Jews


Benjamin Netanyahu has come in for heavy criticism over his comments. (AP)

Benjamin Netanyahu has come in for heavy criticism over his comments. (AP)

Benjamin Netanyahu has come in for heavy criticism over his comments. (AP)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has placed the blame for the extermination of millions of Jewish people during World War II on the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, in a controversial speech.

The Israeli Prime Minister told the 37th World Zionist Congress this week that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler only wanted to expel the Jews - but was convinced to exterminate them by the Muslim leader, who died in 1974.

He said that the pair met in November 1941, and claimed: "Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jew. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, 'If you expel them, they'll all come here (to Palestine).' According to Netanyahu, Hitler then asked: "What should I do with them?" and the Mufti replied: "Burn them."

Mr Netanyahu has made similar claims in the past, including during a Knesset speech in 2012, where he described Husseini -  who visited Hitler and Himmler and supported their persecution of the Jews of Europe - as "one of the leading architects" of the final solution, Haaretz reported.

Others have detailed Husseini's influence on Hitler, yet the theory that Husseini was the one to initiate the mass murder of European Jews has been widely rejected.

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In his speech, as detailed in a transcript issued by the Prime Minister's Office, Mr Netanyahu also described attacks on the Jewish community in Jerusalem in 1920, 1921 and 1929 as being "instigated by a call of the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was later sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he had a central role in fomenting the final solution".

But it has been met with outrage by writers and users of social media, who have branded Mr Netanyahu's comments a "bizarre kind of Holocaust revisionism". "This statement is almost too absurd to debunk," the Alternet reported.

Others, such as novelist Linda Grant, accused Mr Netanyahu of being "toxic" and of effectively "exonerating Hitler".

And some described the PM's comments as a "whitewash" and "smear on Palestinians". 

Belfast Telegraph