Jack Cohen was an inspiration to me for the past 42 years, as a man of integrity and as a genuine advocate of peace and reconciliation between Jews and Arabs, for the more than fifty years that he lived in Israel.
Participating in Jack’s Arab Jewish relations student seminar forty years ago, Jack established a principle; What is important is not what one group says to the other group. What is important is that which the group communicates to their own people.
Jack was encouraged by the many Arab students who expressed genuine and intense commitment to peace and reconciliation.
At the same time, Jack was witness to Arab students who wanted to violently disrupt his efforts that promoted peace and reconciliation.
With the genesis of the Oslo process, Jack confided in me that the test of the Oslo process would be peace education, not the pomp and circumstance of peace conferences.
When I shared the PA curriculum with Jack, he expressed deep concern.
It is with Jack’s deep concern in mind that I dedicated the following presentation at the Israel Knesset Parliament, delivered on Holocaust Remembrance Day, on April 19, 2012, while Jack’s family were sitting Shiva for him.
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, people in Israel stand in silence to recall thOSE who were murdered by the Nazis and their allies who performed an unprecedented crime against humanity and against the Jewish people.
Tragically, the legacy of one Nazi ally deeply influences the new Palestinian Authority curriculum and the output of the official Palestinian Authority media outlets at this time: That is the titular leader of the Palestinian Arab community in the previous generation: Haj Amin Al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who forged a pact with Adolf Hitler on November 28, 1941, one week before the Wannasee conference, originally scheduled for December 7, 1941, yet postponed by one month, due to the attack on Pearl Harbor on that very day.
The protocols of the Hitler -Mufti pact, presented as evidence against the Mufti in the Nuremberg war crimes trials, explicitly state that Hitler would exterminate the Jews in Europe, while the Mufti would enlist Nazi aid to exterminate Jews in Palestine, so as to establish a “JudenRein” state of Palestine.
To that end, the Mufti ensconced himself in Hitler’s bunker, from where he recruited an Islamic unit of the Waffen SS, which actively engaged in the mass murder of Jews, while issuing Arabic language appeals on Nazi radio which incited Moslems to join the Nazi cause and to prepare for mass murder of Jews in Palestine.
The Protocols of the Nuremberg conviction of the Mufti, were published in the 1946 book, MUFTI OF JERUSALEM, authored by Journalist Maurice Pearlman, who was appointed in 1948 as the first director of the Israel Government Press Office.
Pearlman cited affidavits of senior SS prosecution witnesses who testified that the Mufti, working directly under Eichmann and Himmler, identified the Mufti’s instrumental role in making sure that millions of Jews were murdered, and not ransomed.
The affidavit of one of Eichmann’s subordinates, SS Hampsturmfuerer Dieter Wisliceny, who appeared as a witness for the Nuremberg prosecution, speaks for itself:
The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry for the Germans and had been the permanent collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of the plan…According to my opinion, the Grand Mufti, who had been in Berlin since 1941, played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews, the importance of which must not be disregarded, He had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with who had been in contact, above all before Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution of the Palestinian problem. In his messages broadcast from Berlin, he surpassed us in anti-Jewish attacks. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures…
However, there are credible historians such as Prof. Bernard Lewis and Dr. Rafeal Medoff who cannot finding corroborating evidence to the Nuremberg prosecution witnesses who testified that the Mufti was involved in planning or executing the Final Solution.
No one denies the Mufti’s Arabic language radio broadcasts, his recruitment of the Islamic SS unit,and his active involvement in SS round ups of Jews in Yugosolvia.
And there is no doubt that Mufti was aware of the Final Solution, fully supported it, and sought to extend it to the Arab world
In 1961, when Eichmann was brought to justice in Jerusalem, Israel’s then foreign minister,, Golda Meir, called for the Mossad to apprehend the Mufti and to sit him alongside Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem
Maurice Pearlman traces the Mufti’s escape to Cairo, where Pearlman reported how the Mufti influenced the newly formed Arab League to spawn the charter of the Arab League, with an explicit statement that its purpose was to wipe out any Zionist entity that would soon come about.
Indeed, the Mufti inspired charter of the Arab League would soon form the basis of the Arab league declaration of war to destroy the nascent state of Israel in 1948.
The refusal of the UK to arrest the Mufti in Cairo, described by Pearlman, caused the head of the Zionist revisionists in the United States at the time, Ben Zion Netanyahu, father of Israel’s current Prime Minister, to launch an unsuccessful campaign to push the US to demand the arrest of the Mufti in Cairo.
A little known fact concerns the Mufti’s special relationship with a young relative in Cairo, whom to the Mufti would affectionately give the name “Yassir Arafat”. In December 1996, Haaretz interviewed Yassir Arafat’s younger brother and sister, who said that the Mufti performed the role of a surrogate father figure and mentor to the young Arafat.
The failure of the Arab League, in 1948, to mobilize the Arabs of Palestine into an active war against the newly formed Jewish state led the Mufti to urge the Arab League, in 1964, to launch the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, whose stated covenant of purpose was almost identical in language to the charter of the Arab League: to exterminate new state of Israel. Yet the focus of the PLO was to organize Arabs who remained in Israel along with the Arab refugees who languished in UNRWA refugee camps to organize an effective grass roots effort to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, from Jewish rule.
Until 1967, Arabs who had fled Israel used the school books of Jordan and Egypt, which were rife with direct calls for Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews.
In 1967, after Judea and Samaria were liberated from Israel, the clauses in these school books from Jordan and Egypt which inculcated war against Israel and the murder of Jews were deleted by the new Israel Civil Administration.
Yet in April 2000, seven years into the Oslo process, our agency visited the a Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education laboratory in the Dutch consulate in Al Bira where the PA restored all of violent clauses in the school books from Jordan and Egypt which Israel had deleted from their school books.
Throughout the Spring of 2000, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education was reported to be hard at work in preparing new school books hat were supposed to promote peace and reconciliation with Israel.
At that time, our agency met with the representatives of the donor nations to the PA Ministry of Education’s new school books – Italy, Belgium, Finland and Ireland, each of whom poured substantive funds to fund what was supposed to be a new PA curriculum of peace.
In August 2000, our agency purchased five sets of the new PA school books from the PA Ministry of Education and shared them with Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Pope’s ambassdor to Jerusalem, with a request that the Vatican examine the new PA school books.
Archbishop Sambi reported The findings of the Vatican examination of the new PA school books which is that they were “manuals of war”. As a result, the Vatican asked Italy to withdraw its funds from the Palestinian Ministry of Education text book project, which Rome did.
Essentially, the PLO charter formed the underlying basis for PA school books, where demonizing Israel and praising those who kill Jews became central themes in Palestinian Authority education, as exemplified by the new PA school books.
Dr. Arnon Groiss, a veteran journalist who holds a PHD in Islamic studies, who has spent eleven years producing translations abd analysis of Arab school book texts
concludes that the new PA school books represent a “curricuclum of suspended war”
Dr. Noa Meridor, who examined and translated the new Palestinian Authority textbooks for Israeli intelligence, discovered that the theme of murder through martyrdom pervaded the new PA textbooks.
Dr. Meridor wrote that the new Palestinian Authority school books stress the “importance ascribed to battles, particularly those held in Palestine, and that Muslim who dies as a martyr for the sake of Allah (shahid) serves as a role model
Dr Meridor also wrote that, “According to the textbooks, this kind of death is an honorable one and the Palestinian nation remembers for the better those who sacrificed their lives for Allah” and that “The inculcation with the value of shahid is also done through repeated citations of the term “shahid” in every subject on the curriculum, even outside of thematic context: the word al-shuhada’ (the “shahids”) is used as an example within the context of studying the rules of the Arabic language, as are the sentences: “shahids live with their Lord” and “the warrior goes to war faced with one of the good options: victory or shahada [martyrdom for the sake of Allah]”
Dr. Meridor assessed that the new Palestinian Authority school books are “indoctrinated with the idea that death as a shahid is a highly important value, and the danger to-be lies in the student’s practical translation of this notion with regard to the struggle against Israel”
In conclusion, the new curriculum of the Palestinian Authority is imbued with the legacy of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini, whose vision of a Jew-free Palestinie is taught in every educational institution of the Palestinian Authority, together with the armed struggle to liberate Palestine, as an ideal for Palestinian Arab students.
Could the PA have had it otherwise?
A staff of educators at Beir Zeit University, an institution of higher leducation in the Palestinian Authority fostered a curriculum that stressed reconciliation with the Jewish state.
However, that curriculum was vetoed by the Palestinian Authority.
Instead, the curriculum approved by the Palestinian Authority educational system has continued the legacy of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini.