Reprinted from Gush Shalom
IT IS not very pleasant when serious people around the world -- historians, psychiatrists, diplomats -- ask themselves if my prime minister is completely sane.
But this is happening now. And not only abroad. More and more people in Israel are asking themselves the same question.
All this is the result of one event. But people are now looking at many other events -- past and present -- in a new light.
Until now, many strange actions and utterances by Binyamin Netanyahu have been seen as the manipulations of a clever politician, a talented demagogue who knows the soul of his constituents and supplies them with ample lies.
Not anymore. A troubling suspicion is getting around: that our prime minister has serious mental problems. Is he losing his marbles?
IT ALL started two weeks ago, when Netanyahu made a speech to a world-wide Zionist assembly. What he said was shocking.
Adolf Hitler, he pontificated, did not really want to exterminate the Jews. He just wanted to expel them. But then he met the Mufti of Jerusalem, who convinced him to "burn" the Jews. Thus the Holocaust was born.
The conclusion? Hitler was not so bad after all. The Germans are not really to blame. It was the Palestinians who were the instigators of the murder of six million Jews.
If the subject had been different, this speech could be considered as one of the usual lies and falsifications typical of Netanyahu. Hitler was really not so bad, the Palestinians are to blame, the Mufti was the forerunner of Mahmoud Abbas. Just a routine piece of political propaganda.
But this concerns the Holocaust, one of the most atrocious events of modern times, and by far the most important event in modern Jewish history. This event has a direct bearing on the lives of half the Jewish population of Israel (including myself) who lost their relatives in the Holocaust, or are themselves survivors.
This speech was not just a minor political manipulation, one of those we have become accustomed to since Netanyahu became prime minister. This was something new, something awful.
ALL AROUND the world there was an outcry. There are many thousands of experts on the Holocaust. Innumerable books have been written on Nazi Germany (including one by me). Every single detail has been researched over and over again.
Holocaust survivors were shocked, because Netanyahu was really absolving Hitler, and the Germans in general, of the main blame for the horrendous crime. So Hitler was not so bad, after all. He just wanted to expel the Jews, not to kill them. It was the evil Arabs who induced him to commit the atrocity of atrocities.
Angela Merkel did the decent thing and issued an immediate denial, assuming again the total blame of the German people. Thousands of furious articles appeared around the world, many hundreds of them in Israel.
This particular utterance of Netanyahu's was not just stupid, not just ignorant. It borders on the insane.
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