The New York Times describes Hitler’s Nazis as “anti-Zionists”

I’m sure some readers will feel that the New York Times‘s description of Nazis—and of the rabid anti-Semite Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini—as mere “anti-Zionists”, is an innocuous description.  But I don’t think so. I think it’s an attempt to rewrite history and, at the same time, defuse some criticisms of Palestine made by a Saudi Prince.

First, some background. The October 6 article in the NYT (click on screenshot below) was about Saudi Prince Bandar making statements that appear to erode his country’s support for Palestine. (This is on the heels of some Arab states starting to normalize relations with Israel.) Prince Bandar’s statements including describing the cozy relationship between the Muslim Grand Mufti (of Jerusalem) and Hitler in the 1940s, as well as the failure of the Palestinians to move forward. Bandar also criticized Yasser Arafat for supporting Saddam Hussein.

The NYT article is below, and the highlighting of its words and tenor in the excerpt are analyzed in an article on the CAMERA website (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis).

The excerpt from the NYT’s article that I (and CAMERA) highlight is in bold below (my emphasis):

In a surprising televised monologue, a senior member of the Saudi royal family and former ambassador to Washington accused Palestinian leaders of betraying their people, signaling an erosion of Saudi support for an issue long considered sacrosanct.

“The Palestinian cause is a just cause but its advocates are failures, and the Israeli cause is unjust but its advocates have proven to be successful,” the royal, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, said in the first episode of a three-part program, which aired Monday on the Saudi-controlled Al Arabiya satellite channel.

. . .Prince Bandar offered a rambling and selective history of the Palestinian struggle, saying that the Palestinians “always bet on the losing side.”

His survey, interspersed with archival images and footage, cited the contacts between Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and an early Palestinian nationalist leader, and the Nazis in the 1930s, adding, “we all know what happened to Hitler and Germany.”

The prince also blasted Yasir Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, for embracing the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, despite Kuwait’s record of welcoming the Palestinians. And he accused Mr. Arafat’s P.L.O. of working harder to take over Jordan and Lebanon than to liberate Palestine.

While there is broad agreement that Mr. al-Husseini collaborated with the Nazis against Zionism, historians differ on the significance of his relationship with Nazi leaders.

Now there are two issues in this last bolded statement, and in both cases the Times grossly distorts the situation.  First is the ridiculous assertion that “Mr. al-Husseini collaborated with the Nazis against Zionism”. No, he did not collaborate against Zionism alone (i.e., the movement to create a state that was a homeland for Jews); al-Husseini collaborated with the Nazis to exterminate the Jews. (Further, the idea that the Nazis were merely “anti-Zionist” in their dealings with al-Husseini is ludicrous.) You can read an article about the Nazi’s dealings with the Middle East here, and it shows that, first of all, the Nazis wanted useful idiots and advisers in the Middle East to help with the Final Solution, and, second, that al-Husseini, while being an anti-Zionist, was more aptly seen as a rabid anti-Semite who repeatedly called for the death of Jews and their elimination from the Middle East.

Here is what some of what al-Husseini did to further “anti-Zionism” (a list from Malgorzata; you can check the claims or argue with her in the comments, if you wish):

  1. Stopping a transport of a few thousand Jewish children to Palestine – they were instead murdered in death camps.
  2. Organizing an SS Division consisting of Bosnian Muslims.
  3. Broadcasting during the whole war incendiary programs into the Arab world in which the main message was: “The Jews are enemies of God and enemies of mankind. Kill the Jews wherever you find them”.
  4. Drafting plans for death camps for Jews in the Middle East based on Auschwitz and other death camps which he visited and admired.

The CAMERA article adds a few more:

  • The United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum characterizes al-Husseini as “a vicious antisemite and actively supportive of Nazi Germany’s efforts to annihilate world Jewry.”
  • Yad Vashem states that the Palestinian mufti was motivated, inter alia, to “lend his support to the ‘Final Solution.’”

JAC: I suppose if there’s any “area of controversy”, it’s whether al-Husseini’s efforts promoted the Holocaust in Europe, and there’s not strong evidence for that. The Endlösung would have taken place with or without his help. But al-Husseini did, as you see above, contribute to the death of Jews and repeatedly called for their deaths. At best, Hitler, who met al-Husseini, got moral support from the Mufti for exterminating Jews, and there’s no doubt that al-Husseini favored exterminating rather than just deporting Jews.

But the weasel statement that “historians differ on the significance of his relationship with Nazi leaders” is misleading, as we have a lot of evidence about that relationship. What we don’t know is how much al-Husseini’s influence on Hitler buttressed the Führer’s determination to exterminate the Jews. I’m happy to believe that the influence was miniscule, and that Hitler was determined to do it with or without al-Husseini. So what? The anti-Semitic Mufti himself contributed to the death of Jews.

More actions from CAMERA about the “relationship”:

  • Nazi official Wilhelm Melchers is quoted as stating after the war, during testimony about al-Husseini, that “the mufti was an accomplished foe of the Jews and did not conceal that he would love to see all of them liquidated.” (Jennie Lebel, The Mufti of Jerusalem: Haj-Amin el-Husseini and National Socialism, pg. 255.)
  • Jeffrey Herf, a professor of German history, wrote of al-Husseini that “In Hitler and the Nazis he recognized ideological soulmates who shared his profound hatred of the Jews, Judaism and Zionism.”
  • In his book on Nazi propaganda in the Arab world, Herf  describes al-Husseini’s “intense hatred of Jews,” quoting the Palestinian leader as referring to the “overwhelming egoism” of Jews, who “lived like a sponge among peoples, sucked their blood, seized their property, undermined their morals,” and so on. Jews had “tormented the world for ages” and were “the enemy of the Arabs and of Islam since its emergence,” al-Husseini argued.
  • In al-Husseini’s 1937 text “Islam and the Jews,” he charges Jews with perfidy going back to the time of Muhammed:
    The battle between Jews and Islam began when Mohammed fled from Mecca to Medina… In those days the Jewish methods were exactly the same as they are today. Then as now, slander was their weapon. They said Mohammed was a swindler… They tried to undermine his honor… They began to pose senseless and unanswerable questions to Mohammed… and then they tried to annihilate the Muslims. Just as the Jews were able to betray Mohammed, so they will betray the Muslims today… the verses of the Koran and the Hadith assert that the Jews were Islam’s most bitter enemy and moreover try to destroy it.
  • Al-Husseini also called on his followers to “Rise as one and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion. This serves your honor. God is with you.”

Some “anti-Zionism”! Seriously, New York Times?

Although you can argue that the sentence in bold above is just a throwaway remark, I see a whole world of bias in it—bias that the NYT has shown repeatedly.  As a woke paper, the NYT must perforce be pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli as well as anti-Zionist, and, I would argue, anti-Semitic, though it has to be careful because many of its readers are Jewish. The owners of the paper are Jewish, and have been, but that means nothing, for some of the most rabid Jew-haters have a Jewish background.  I know I’ll be excoriated for calling the Times anti-Semitic, but if it makes you feel better, let’s just call it anti-Zionist and leave it there.

It’s telling that after Bari Weiss (a Jewish columnist who was pro-Israel) left the paper—probably hounded out of her job for her views—they took on Peter Beinart as a contributing op-ed writer. His views on Israel are very different from Weiss’s, and probably align more with those of the editors. Beinart has been a persistent and notable critic of Israel and favors a “one-state” solution in which Israel is not a Jewish state but a Jewish “home”, and in which Jews and Palestinians live together. That’s anti-Zionism for sure, but it’s also a recipe for a bloodbath. It’s like creating a cage in the zoo containing a lion and a lamb. It would lead to the end of the Jews in the Middle East, and all advocates of the one-state solution know this.

Here’s Beinart’s op-ed:

We can only speculate about why the editors and writers of the NYT have an anti-Israel stand so strong that it distorts their reporting, to the point that they consistently neglect Palestinian perfidy in favor of criticizing Israel. But that they do this is unquestionable, and it’s a view held by many on the “progressive” Left, like the Congressional “squad”. I’ll finish by quoting the CAMERA article:

Al-Husseini’s anti-Zionism likely condemned countless Jewish children to death at the hands of the Nazis. But make no mistake: Thanks to the New York Times‘ campaign to normalize and boost anti-Zionism, its recasting of the Nazis and al-Husseini as collaborating merely “against Zionism” will be seen by some of its readers as exculpatory. This is the same newspaper, after all, that not only hosted a debate on its pages about whether Israel should continue to exist, but that stacked the deck so that the defenders of Israel’s existence were outnumbered. It is the same paper that has repeatedly turned its Opinion pages over to activists, from Ian Lustick to Muammar Qaddafi to Ali Abunimah to Peter Beinart, calling for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map. Beinart’s anti-Zionist Op-Ed seemingly earned him a job offer from the New York Times Opinion department within days of its publication.

. . . What could make the newspaper whitewash all of this, and recast the partnership between the Nazis and al-Husseini as strictly anti-Zionist? The New York Times has an Israel problem; it has an antisemitism problem; and it has a problem reporting forthrightly on Palestinian antisemitism and anti-Jewish violence — extending, apparently, even to leaders who supported and eagerly collaborated with the Nazis.

That is apparently why the paper made a point of signaling to readers that the Saudi Prince’s criticism of past Palestinian decision-making is invalid, and that al-Husseini wasn’t antisemitic.

It’s telling, for example, that the newspaper characterized Bandar bin Sultan’s criticism as “a rambling and selective history,” when that same newspaper had previously described a conspiratorial, error-filled, and anti-Jewish rant by current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as nothing worse than a “lengthy history lecture.” What makes a history “rambling and selective,” then, is neither bloviation nor inaccuracy. It is the focus of that history. You can fabricate Jewish history all you want. Just don’t shine too hard a light on Palestinian leaders.

Again and again, in fact, New York Times journalists have engaged in advocacy journalism to protect Palestinian decision-makers from criticism. In 2014, after a Palestinian terrorist slaughtered Jews who were praying in a Jerusalem synagogue, editors inexplicably cut from their story on the incident any reference to US Secretary of State John Kerry blaming the massacre on Palestinian incitement. (Kerry’s damning condemnation, in fact, was replaced by a Palestinian accusation that Israel is guilty of incitement.) Last year, a passage explaining that Islamic Jihad is “listed as a terrorist organization by many countries” — an accurate and relevant piece of context — likewise mysteriously disappeared from a Times article.

There’s more, but I’ve seen enough evidence to now believe that the Times’s coverage of the Israeli/Palestine conflict is a Middle Eastern version of The 1619 Project: a distortion of history meant to buttress the paper’s ideology.

al-Husseini meeting with Hitler, 1941


(From Wikipedia): Haj Amin al-Husseini, alongside SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen SS Karl-Gustav Sauberzweig, greeting Bosnian SS volunteers during their training in November 1943.


  1. Malgorzata
    Posted October 11, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink


  2. rickflick
    Posted October 11, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I never thought I’d see the historically important NYT behaving like a corrupt neighborhood news letter.

    • darrelle
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Yeah. It’s disgusting. Pisses me off.

  3. flayman
    Posted October 11, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    And to think that former mayor of London and former Labour MP Ken Livingstone has argued that Hilter was at first a supporter of Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews”.

    Livingstone is now a former member of the Labour Party along with the contemptible George Galloway, who once complimented Saddam Hussein’s “indefatigability”. With the undignified death of Corbynism, I’m really hoping we can put this chapter of Labour nastiness behind us. Horrible creatures.

  4. Gingerbaker
    Posted October 11, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Bravo, Dr Coyne. Thank you for telling it like it is. In today’s world, that takes some guts.

  5. Posted October 11, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I agree that they significantly downplay al-Husseini with that statement, and looking at anti-Zionism rather than Holocaust overall downplays the context. However, the activities of the Nazis are well-known to the average New York Times reader.

    For this reason, I do not see it as a Woke or Pro-Palestinian bias to link al-Husseini to the Nazis, and calling their activities anti-Zionistic. This has rather the opposite effect than as an euphemism. It’s putting anti-Zionism under the Holocaust. That is correct in the case of Nazis where it was one aspect. They made emigration difficult by 1931, when Jews had to relinquish half their assets to the state (“Reichsflucht”) and made it officially verboten entirely ten years later (“Ausreiseverot”, October 1941) when the Holocaust began.

    • Mike
      Posted October 11, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes I agree about the definition of anti-Zionism as one part of the Holocaust. I think where it matters is that applying Anti-Zionism to al-Husseini tends to hide his broadly antisemitic racism (not just his opposition to a Jewish state). And by association it tends to obscure the antisemitism of other Palestinians and their apologists. This redefinition of antisemitic racism as mere “anti-Zionism” is newspeak, in the sense that the goal is clearly to make it harder to talk about antisemitic racism, and instead insist on using the phrase “anti-Zionism”, which lacks the universally understood element of racism. At least that’s how the words seem to me, but I could be wrong about how they are more broadly understood (or why the NYT would want to redefine them this way).

    • Posted October 12, 2020 at 2:07 am | Permalink

      Clarification, of course, Hitler took power in 1933. The “Reichsfluchtsteuer“ was imposed two years before the Nazis. The term leans on “Kapitalflucht” (moving capital out of the state) and was designed to prevent tax evasion.

      For the first few years, up until 1937, the Nazis wanted Jews to leave the Reich, but at significant costs, though the adaption of this law. Their efforts to solve their “jewish question” through emigration is an occasional talking point of right wingers, who however omit this significant detail. It counters the myth that Nazis were in favour of Zionism as a “solution” at first. They clearly weren’t, they were interested in exploitation of the Jews and getting rid of them. That’s why the outright ban on emigration later on is not really a change.

  6. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 11, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Times .

    “Buried by the Times is a 2005 book by Laurel Leff. The book is a critical account of The New York Times’s coverage of Nazi atrocities against Jews that culminated in the Holocaust. It argues that the news was often buried in the back pages in part due to the view about Judaism of the paper’s Jewish publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger.”

    Leff attributes the NYT’s strange avoidance of reporting about the Nazis’ program of extermination to Arthur Sulzberger’s bias toward assimilationism, the fanciful notion that Jews (in America) were no more than a religious tendency, like Methodism. [A corollary today might be that Nazis and their collaborators were no more than anti-Zionists.] A related interpretation is that Sulzberger had the mentality of the medieval “court Jew”: a member of the minority community close to the seat of power, doing his best to maintain protective coloration.

  7. Posted October 11, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    The Grand Mufti was indeed anti-Zionist. He was also a murderous anti-semite who encouraged the annihilation of the European jews by his Nazi German friends.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 11, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    It’s telling that after Bari Weiss (a Jewish columnist who was pro-Israel) left the paper—probably hounded out of her job for her views—they took on Peter Beinart as a contributing op-ed writer. His views on Israel are very different from Weiss’s, and probably align more with those of the editors. Beinart has been a persistent and notable critic of Israel and favors a “one-state” solution in which Israel is not a Jewish state but a Jewish “home”, and in which Jews and Palestinians live together. That’s anti-Zionism for sure, but it’s also a recipe for a bloodbath.

    I’ve been reading Beinart since he was with Marty Peretz’s The New Republic in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He’s certainly no self-loathing Jew, and I don’t think it’s fair to classify him as anti-Zionist. He continues to self-identify as a “liberal Zionist,” as he alludes in the NYT opinion piece linked to above (which, I think, ought to be read in conjunction with Beinart’s earlier and longer piece on the same subject in Jewish Currents).

    Given the utter lack of progress toward a two-state solution, I sense a growing resignation that the two-state solution is being forsaken by both the hardline Right and the soft-line Left (in both Israel and the US) — although the two views of what that one-state solution would entail are entirely incompatible. Since I find both versions of a one-state solution unpalatable, I continue to hold out hope, however quixotic it currently appears, that a two-state solution can eventually be achieved.

    • trazom
      Posted October 11, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      The “utter lack of progress toward a two state solution” that you cite stems from the fact — never discussed publicly from what I can tell — that the Palestinians DO NOT want a state of their own. They could easily have had one by now.

      But they are content with their victimization narrative, despite the fact that it has reaped them absolutely nothing tangible.

      Of course, Iran — for whose sclerotic theocracy “justice for Palestine” is an ideological pillar — and its proxies have threatened to assassinate ANY Palestinian who
      dares to strike a deal with Israel.

      The world is moving on… the Saudis are now reported to be edging toward an open relationship with Israel.

      Short of renegotiating 242, and dispensing with the article “the” in the French language version, the territorial question will never be resolved. And that will be tolerable for all involved.

  9. jezgrove
    Posted October 11, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Lest we forget, some Jews fought the British in World War II and tried to negotiate a deal with Hitler and Mussolini.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted October 11, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes, of course, it’s very important to remember this marginal group (in their best times they had a few hundred fighters) condemned by the majority of Jews. Of course, as is well known, a few desperate terrorists can inflict damage and they did. When it comes to attempts to negotiate with Hitler and Mussolini it may be also worth to mention what the negotiations were supposed to be about: saving European Jews who were barred from Mandatory Palestine by the British and couldn’t escape the European inferno. Oh, and in reality there nevere were any negotiations with Hitler nor with Mussolini. Oh, and the number of Lehi members was much, much lower than the number of British Fascists (

      • jezgrove
        Posted October 11, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Everything you say is true, and the behaviour of Britain and France, as the colonial powers in the Middle East, have a lot to answer for. Nevertheless, if Lehi’s offer to fight the British alongside the Axis powers in return for a homeland for the European Jews had been successful presumably the other groups that the Nazis aimed to eradicate, like Roma/Gypsies, the disabled, and homosexuals, would have been left to their fates and still have been killed. And a Nazi victory in World War II would have been a disaster for the world, whatever the faults of the British.

        In mentioning Lehi I was only seeking to point out that it wasn’t only the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem etc. who thought they could deal with the Nazis to achieve their own ends. And that includes a small number of extremist Jews.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted October 11, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          I do understand why you thought it important to show that Mufti, who not only thought that he could collaborate with the Nazis but actually did that, was not worse than this small group of Jews. When we are on the track of reminding forgotten pieces of history it may be equally important to remind that there were many Palestinian Arabs who wanted peace with Jews and thought it could be a win-win situation both for Arabs and Jews. Unfortunatley, Mufti and his band of killers took care of them – decisively.

          • jezgrove
            Posted October 11, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

            I certainly wasn’t trying to equate the extremists of Lehi with the Mufti. (Although their attitude to the Palestinians wasn’t exactly, er, enlightened. And after the war they assassinated Folke Bernadotte, who saved thousands of people, including Jews, from Nazi concentration camps.)

            But our host’s post was about an attempt to rewrite history, and my point is simply that it shouldn’t be forgotten that there were also Zionists in Palestine (and, I fully accept, aristocrats and others in England as well) who thought that Hitler would be victorious and that they could advance their own narrow interests by interacting with him. It is a part of the historical record, albeit a very small one, that shouldn’t be swept under the carpet. That said, I deeply regret drawing quite so much attention to it as that was very far from my own intentions – I’m most certainly not some kind of Nazi/Mufti apologist or Israel denialist, I assure you!

        • Posted October 11, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          Desperate times lead to desperate measures. And wartime is desperate. Churchill sank the French navy, killing a thousand former allies, after France fell. These “extremist” jews were desperate as well. Millions of jews faced death in Europe and groups like Lehi and Irgun believed loosening the British grip on Palestine would open up Palestine for jewish refugees, who were turned practically everywhere else. I do not think the Mufti had such a compelling life and death cause. He just wanted to keep the jews out of Palestine.

          It is notable that two prime ministers of Israel fought for this cause. Menachem Begin was a member of Irgun and Yitzhak Shamir was a member of Lehi.

  10. trazom
    Posted October 11, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The NYT’s coverage of Israel and the Palestinians is appallingly one sided. Always has been.

    There was on Saturday Oct. 10 a column published by Roger Cohen about AOC and the fact that she skipped some sort of memorial ceremony on the anniversary of the Rabin assassination. Cohen of course depicted Rabin as a “peacemaker” and suggested that his assassination was inexplicable. I submitted the following comment, which was not published.

    “Mr Cohen fails to explain the context of the Rabin assassination and the polarization of the electorate that set the stage for same.

    The night before the Knesset vote on the Oslo accords — which was 60 to 59 against — Rabin and Ehud Barak, at the time the interiorm minister, visited the home of Alex Goldfarb, a one man Knesset faction. Goldfarb had made aliyah from Romanian just four years earlier.

    Rabin had the support of the Israeli Arab parties — a politically anathema source of backing in Israel on any issue, let alone the territorial question — and needed just one more vote to ensure a tie and thus Knesset approval of Oslo.

    Rabin told Goldfarb that in exchange for his yes vote, he, Rabin, would make Goldfarb a deputy minister in his next government and said Goldfarb would have his own limousine.

    Goldfarb agreed and voted in favor of Oslo the next day.

    Arch dove Ezer Weizman wrote a column in Ha’aretz a few days later, accusing Rabin of treachery.”

    We can only speculate about why the editors and writers of the NYT have an anti-Israel stand so strong that it distorts their reporting, to the point that they consistently neglect Palestinian perfidy in favor of criticizing Israel. But that they do this is unquestionable,

  11. openidname
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    I know you think the Times is trying to soften Al-Husseini’s anti-Semitism by calling it anti-Zionism. To me, though, it gives the whole game away — the Times is implicitly admitting that anti-Zionism *IS* anti-Semitism.

  12. Posted October 12, 2020 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    I wrote an article recently, here at first then variously syndicated, about the woke left and its problem with Israel.

    D.A., NYC

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