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.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

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