How Nazi Propaganda and the Muslim Brotherhood Led to the 1948 Israel-Arab War

Although the UN plan for partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states was opposed by the vast majority of Arab leaders, most were long unwilling to go to war to prevent it from happening. What pushed the states to war, argues Matthias Kuenzel, was the persistent lobbying of the Muslim Brotherhood, its ability to shape popular Arab opinion with the help of Nazi-sponsored anti-Semitic propaganda, and its support for Grand Mufti Amin Haj al-Husseini—a former collaborator with the Nazis who rejected any compromise with the Jews:

In 1947 most Arabs in Mandatory Palestine itself were opposed to war. Tens of thousands of them had found work in Jewish-dominated economic sectors such as citrus-fruit production. Moreover, they were aware of the Zionists’ military strength. . . . There was a similar absence of war-like intentions in the Arab League states of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. In August 1946, the Jewish Agency reported that “the Egyptians agree that there is no other acceptable solution to the Palestine question except partition.” . . . .

Let us consider this hypothetical proposition. Had the government of Egypt banned the Muslim Brotherhood at the end of 1945, its pro-Husseini campaign would not have taken place and there would have been far less pressure on the Egyptian authorities to re-install the mufti as leader of the Palestinian Arabs. Neither the Brotherhood nor the mufti would have been in a position to whip up war fever through the use of anti-Jewish attacks in Palestine. Egypt would have held fast to its original rejection of war. The outcome would have been different, and partition might have been implemented. History, however, took a different path. . . .

This war was not inevitable. It happened because Nazi anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist propaganda continued to dominate the political culture of the Arab world after the defeat of Germany, thus preventing any viable challenge to the anti-Semitic policies of the mufti and the Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore, the war of 1947-48 appears as an aftershock of the Nazi war against the Jews.

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More about: Amin Haj al-Husseini, Anti-Semitism, Arab League, Egypt, History & Ideas, Israeli War of Independence, Muslim Brotherhood, Nazism

Israel’s Nation-State Law and the Hysteria of the Western Media

Aug. 17 2018

Nearly a month after it was passed by the Knesset, the new Basic Law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” is still causing outrage in the American and European press. The attacks, however, are almost uniformly incommensurate with this largely symbolic law, whose text, in the English translation found on the Knesset website, is barely over 400 words in length. Matthew Continetti comments:

Major journalistic institutions have become so wedded to a pro-Palestinian, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu narrative, in which Israel is part of a global trend toward nationalist authoritarian populism, that they have abdicated any responsibility for presenting the news in a dispassionate and balanced manner. The shameful result of this inflammatory coverage is the normalization of anti-Israel rhetoric and policies and widening divisions between Israel and the diaspora.

For example, a July 18, 2018, article in the Los Angeles Times described the nation-state law as “granting an advantageous status to Jewish-only communities.” But that is false: the bill contained no such language. (An earlier version might have been interpreted in this way, but the provision was removed.) Yet, as I write, the Los Angeles Times has not corrected the piece that contained the error. . . .

Such through-the-looking-glass analysis riddled [the five] news articles and four op-eds the New York Times has published on the matter at the time of this writing. In these pieces, “democracy” is defined as results favored by the New York Times editorial board, and Israel’s national self-understanding as in irrevocable conflict with its democratic form of government. . . .

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. . . .  The New York Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said [that] “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish state.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel's Basic Law, Israeli democracy, Media, New York Times