The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, with Nazi Encouragement, Made Anti-Semitism Part of Islamism

While some historians have argued otherwise, Amin Haj al-Husseini—the grand mufti of Jerusalem prior to World War II—did not influence the Final Solution; he did, however, form a close alliance with Nazi Germany, which protected him and supported him financially, in exchange for his production of pro-Nazi propaganda for the Muslim world. Most importantly, writes Jeffrey Herf, the mufti’s lasting legacy was his contribution to a particular strain of Islamic anti-Semitism:

In his confidential conversations with German diplomats and then in a major public speech in Syria in 1937, Husseini made clear that his opposition to Zionism was rooted in his interpretation of Islam. Husseini’s importance . . . lay in his ability to weave together an interpretation of Islam and the secular language of Arab nationalism and anti-colonialism. In his reading of the Quran and its commentaries, Islam emerges as a religion that is inherently anti-Semitic and is hostile both to the religion of Judaism and to [Jews themselves].

Husseini was one of the founding fathers of the ideological tradition [now] known as . . . Islamism. That tradition, which continues in our own time, has Sunni and Shia variations, but its original base was in the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, which inspired such subsequent organizations as al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hizballah, and Islamic State—[as well as] the Islamic Republic of Iran. Despite their differences, [these entities] all share a conviction that, among other things, the message of Islam is inherently anti-Jewish and anti-democratic and that it provides justification for terrorism against Jews, “non-believers,” and “infidels” such as Christians, as well as Muslims who take a different view of Islam.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Amin Haj al-Husseini, Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Islamism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Nazism

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy