Last week, when the British-appointed grand mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Haj al-Husseini, was the subject of numerous headlines, Martin Kramer circulated a photograph of David Ben-Gurion, his wife Paula, and the mufti seated in a row, apparently at some function coordinated by the British authorities in Palestine. Apart from this photograph, there is no evidence the two ever met:
This was indeed a very curious photograph. It suggested that in British-mandated Palestine, even avowed enemies could be made to sit together at the behest of the high commissioner. And it oozed irony, given the subsequent history of the mufti, and that notorious photograph of him with Hitler. In all histories of the period, the mufti and Ben-Gurion are two warships that passed in the night. . . . Was this previously unknown encounter one more opportunity missed?
Then a Palestinian journalist contacted Kramer to raise doubts about the identity of the man in the photograph—who, it turns out, is not the mufti at all:
In history, as in investments, if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. . . . As of this moment, this is a photograph of David Ben-Gurion seated alongside an unidentified Muslim dignitary. Feel free to lose interest right here and move on. But if you are still curious, we now have a mystery man.