The horror of Bibi’s recent Holocaust revisionism in front of the World Zionist Congress has appalled everyone I know. It’s repulsive not just because it’s a lie (the conversation he quoted between the Grand Mufti & Hitler literally never happened). It’s not just because blaming Palestinians for the Holocaust demonizes and dehumanizes them. And it’s not just because the Grand Mufti is far from representative of Palestinian leadership, as his popular among the general populace was waning immensely by World War II. It’s horrible for two reasons I have heard little discussion about: Bibi’s comment is just the latest in Israel blaming the Palestinians for their own oppression; and his world view further distances fighting anti-Semitism from fighting other forms of bigotry.
First: Let’s take his word as true for a moment. (It’s hella not, but just pretend to be totally off the rails for a moment with me.) If Palestinian leadership were responsible for the killing of Jews in the Holocaust, Jews fighting in mandatory Palestine during the late ‘40s were not actually overthrowing the British, but a defensive response to the slaughter of the Holocaust. The Irgun and Deir Yassin massacres: self-defense. Bombing Gaza in ’08, ’12, and ’14: self defense. And the list goes on and on, of all of the big and small moments in the 67 years in between.
The Holocaust was not caused by one conversation. Complex horrors like that never have simple causes. Ending them, too, will be complex. But we will not end anti-Semitism with leaders like Netanyahu, or through denying Palestinians their human rights.