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PM tries walking back incorrect Holocaust comments

Netanyahu today said – ahead of a state visit to Berlin – that in his speech at the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem he did not mean to exempt Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler from his “diabolical responsibility” for the Holocaust of the Jews of Europe.

“He is responsible for the final solution, and he made that decision,” Netanyahu clarified.

He counters his critics – including opposition politicians but also historians of the Holocaust and the history of the Jewish people – and says their criticism of his comments is “absurd.”

“It is also absurd to ignore the role filled by Hajj Amin al Husseini, who was a war criminal and encouraged Hitler to destroy the Jews of Europe,” he says.

The prime minister says he wanted to stress the mufti’s involvement in the Final Solution, the Nazi program to exterminate European Jewry. In his speech he read quotes from one of the associates of Adolf Eichmann, who said at the Nurenberg Trials that the mufti filled an important part in the Final Solution and was one of the initiators of the systematic genocide against European Jews.

Some academics, he says, try to provide apologetic excuses for the role the mufti filled during the Holocaust. “I did not want to absolve Hitler of responsibility but only to show that the father of the Palestinian nation [sic] wanted to exterminate Jews even without issues of territories, occupation or settlements,” Netanyahu says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the 37th World Zionist Congress conference at the Jerusalem Convention Center on October 20, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the 37th World Zionist Congress conference at the Jerusalem Convention Center on October 20, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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