Amin al Husyani-The Most Important Man in Modern Israel and Palestianin History.

  • 7 minute read
  • • by Sharon Koifman
  • • September 21, 2022

Punchline:

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Al-Husayni, has single-handedly influenced the relationship between Arabs and Jews in Palestine more than all the other key players combined. He instigated Arabs to start riots against the Jews. He put effort into minimizing Jewish immigration, and when the UN wanted to negotiate, he ignored them on behalf of the Arabs. He was also a great ally of the Nazis and, worst of all, was one of the architects of the Palestinian refugee crisis.

Long Version:

Throughout history, we often see unique individuals like Alexander The Great or Abraham Lincoln that defined and changed an entire Era. Yet, more often than not, the antagonist villain, whether it is Hitler, Stalin, or the ancient Pharaoh, truly defines the story.

The interesting aspect of the Arab/Palestinian-Jewish conflict is that it is often assumed to come on organically. Where Jews and Arabs have not gotten along for thousands of years, and today’s conflict is simply the inflamed results of this ancient disagreement.

But in reality, there is nothing organic nor ancient about the Arab-Israel conflict. The Disaster that we call the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been shaped mostly by a single man and his family.

In modern history, we tend to focus on our Heroes such as Chaim Weizmann, David ben Gurion, Menachem Begin and Golda Meir. But this one character has more influence on Israelis, Jews, and Palestinians than any of our Heros combined. Unfortunately, most of you probably never heard of him.

His name was Amin Al-Husayni: the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

So how did the Grand Mufti manage to create so much influence and so much hate against the Jews to start an entire conflict?

Here’s this story of that man.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husayni comes from a rich and influential family of noble landlords, the al-Husayni clan.

When I say noble, think Lannister for all you Game of Thrones Fans.

The al-Husayni family came from an ecosystem of a wealthy, privileged class with many lands and was sustained with rent paid by the Arab peasant class (fellahin).

When the Zionists came in to buy land to build settlements, they also built the very first modern Arabic school in Palestine. They introduced the local population to the farming industry and employed the fellahin (Arab peasants) in their factories.

This threatened Arab noblemen such as Mohhamed Tahir Al-Husayni, who also was Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti at the time. Because of that, he used his political influence in Jerusalem to stop Jewish immigration, An effort that was continued by his successors all over Palestine till the 1947 war. Anti-Semitism was a family hobby, and Young Amin Al-Husayni grew up in this passionate hatred toward the Jews, which defined his entire career.

Things were a bit like Game of Thrones in the early 20th century Middle East. Arab leaders were all trying to gain as much land as they could. It was a killed or get killed region, involving a lot of manipulating, creating alliances, and murdering whoever threatened your stance.

Amin Al-Husayni, the descendant of the noble Husayni family and the new Grand Mufti, had his eye on controlling the region of Palestine.

He became quite effective in building relationships with the surrounding Arab leaders while lying in bed with both the British and the Nazis.

His rivals, the Nashashibi family, were a powerful opposing family that actually wanted to compromise with the Jews.

Throughout his career, he pushed and killed any leader that opposed his power, and by the time the British left, there was no one to dispute his power, whether through alliance or even more from fear.  He still needed to work with foreign Arab leaders that also had an interest in this land. But he potentially was on the path to being the first king of this newly established Palestine land. He had only one major obstacle: the Jews. They were not interested in submitting to his rule, preventing him from full control of the territory.

The reality is that many Arabs understood the connection of the Jew to the land and, if anything, were interested in minimizing the size of the future Eretz Israel instead of acting like Jews were some foreign invaders that didn’t belong in the region. Some were even happy that Jews were there to help the region grow.

Like I explained above, the Nashashibi family understood that, and so did Amin’s older brother and the original Grand Mufti of JerusalemIsrael, Kamil Al-Husayni. Kamil’s son Tahir was on the path of negotiation with the Jews and he denounced Amin as an inciter. Yet Amin, even if he was so much less popular, managed to manipulate himself into power and got chosen by the Brits as the new Grand Mufti. Tahir later became an informer, though we don’t know how much impactful his information was.

A big chunk of the Fellahin (Arab Peasants), were also perfectly content with the Jews and had no interest to start any war or deny Jews a land to call their own. That is, at least, until Mufti instigated many of them.

Yet Amin al-Husayni was not only passionately hateful towards Jews, he needed them out strategically to take over the land of Palestine.

Throughout 2 decades, Amin and his uncle Musa have instigated many Riots and Arab revolts, including the:

  • 1920 Nebi Musa Massacre
  • 1921 (Jaffra Riots)
  • 1929 Palestine riots, Jaffa Massacre, Safed Massacre, Jerusalem riot, Kfar Darom massacre, Hebron Massacre
  • 1936-1939 Great Arab Revolt

If you heard of any of those revolts, it was the Husaynis that created displacement and fear of the Jews among the Arabs.

He even put his dirty hands on outside Anti-Semitic activities. He was among the key promoters of the pan-Arab fascists Al-Muthanna Club, a group heavily responsible for the Farhud pogrom against Jews in Iraq.

He also led the delegation to negotiate with the Brits and was a key player in pushing Anti-Jewish immigration policies.

The most crucial moment in Amin’s career is his involvement, or should I say, lack of involvement, in the UN negotiation.

In 1947 when the UN wanted to negotiate a land division between the Arab and the Jews we often say that the Arabs gave them the silent treatment, but it was specifically Amin Al Husayni that ignored the UN on behalf of the Arabs. One of Husayni’s followers, Sami Taha, knew that this was not the right strategy and sent a Telegram to the UN without consent, and he was immediately demonized and killed.

No story about the Grand Mufti would be complete without mentioning how close he was with the Nazis. He was so intimate with Heinrich Himmler, where they often enjoyed tea parties together! And he was even BFFs with Adolf Eichman. Did I mention that the Mufti formed a Muslim Nazi batallion for Hitler in Eastern Europe and he was deeply involved with a genocide against the Serbs in Yugoslavia?

No picture better defined his relationship with Nazis than this one.

Look at those 2 cuties chumming along.

If it often questioned by Historians who understand the conflict, whether there would have been an actual Jew-Arab conflict if not for the Husaynis. Some claim that if not for the existence of this man, another asshole would have taken over. But there was a bigger chance that if a friendly leader like his nephew Tahir Al-Husayni, or the Nashashibi family, were in power, they would have been interested in working with the Jews. There also would probably be a lot less instigation and fear-mongering for the local Arab population, who were influenced by the Husayni Family to hate the Jews.

Another shocking reality is if not for this man, after the war, they might not have had a refugee problem, and the local Arab refugees would not have been used as Pawns to keep an open sore between the Arab and the Jews for nearly seven decades.

If you think I’m exaggerating (even after knowing that the Mufti committed genocide):

On the 18th of August 1949, the Mufti signed a memo to the Arab League demanding that no refugee should return home. He wanted them to become refugees forever until all the land was empty of Jews.

Yes, the man was so power-hungry and so hateful towards the Jews that he was willing to put the entire Arab population of Palestine in a state of suffering in order to achieve his destructive goal, a commitment followed by all Palestinian leaders after him.

The Mufti has been practically erased from the history books. You must be an avid learner of Israeli History to even learn of his name. Yet somehow, he is the most influential character in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we want to bring him back to our history books. Not because I want to promote this evil man, but because by understanding that this conflict was caused by one person, it means that the Jews and Arabs were not predestined to hate each.  Arabs and Jews could have gotten along perfectly well and could have thrived well with a two-state solution even before any war. It is also to make it clear to the Palestinians that they were betrayed by their own leadership and not by the Jews.

I hope I have helped you define the Pharaoh, the Haman of the 20th-century Middle East.

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