Himmler’s Forgotten Telegram to the Mufti, and What It Means

Last month, Israeli researchers discovered a telegram—dated to November 1943—from the SS chief Heinrich Himmler to the former grand mufti of Jerusalem Amin Haj al-Husseini, marking the anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration and their shared hope for preventing its realization. Joel Fishman explains the telegram’s significance:

[Nazi Germany’s] alliance [with Husseini and his followers and supporters throughout the Arab world] was based on mutual support for the destruction of world Jewry, which both sides openly declared to be a shared interest and the basis of their friendship. The purpose of the telegram was to reaffirm publicly the existence of this partnership and the transaction it represented. Any discussion of Husseini’s ideological collaboration must also point out his remarkable claim that Nazism and Islam have a basic affinity. Examples of such shared values are the “Führer Principle,” discipline, and obedience which, according to him, find clear expression in the Quran. . . .

One should not overlook the essential fact that this ideological collaboration was reciprocal. The Nazi elite had a special respect and great admiration for Islam. Although these views have been documented, they have not yet been placed in context. . . . Heinrich Himmler’s doctor, Felix Kersten, wrote [in his postwar biography] an entire chapter on his patient’s “enthusiasm for Islam,” a chapter excluded from the English translation. According to Kersten, “Himmler saw Islam as a masculine, soldierly religion.” . . .

Beyond the discussion of Himmler’s telegram to Husseini, the basic challenge of honest history-writing is to place on the agenda the greater problem of Husseini’s partnership with Nazi Germany. . . . In Israel, part of the elite once argued that forgetting history is necessary in order to advance the cause of peace and understanding with the Palestinian Arabs. On the merits of the issue, it is unsound to argue that there is a virtue in preserving blank spots in our national history.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Amin Haj al-Husseini, Anti-Semitism, Arab anti-Semitism, Heinrich Himmler, History & Ideas, 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