The pro-Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem Enjoys High Standing in Iraq, Meets British Officials under Iraqi Government Sponsorship
One of the sinister characters infesting Baghdad before the Farhud was Haj Amin el-Husseini [al-Husayni], the British-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem. An Iraqi government commission investigating the causes of the Farhud found that the Mufti's Judeophobic, pro-Nazi agitation had been one of the factors preparing the way for the anti-Jewish Farhud, June 1&2, 1941 [see next post].
To illustrate the high standing that Husseini enjoyed in Iraq with the leading politicians there, before the war with the British, the Mufti held talks with the British together with Nuri al-Sa`id, a notoriously pro-British politician, in an effort to increase Arab gains ensuing from the 1939 "Palestine White Paper" issued by the Neville Chamberlain government. The White Paper policy was an official disavowal by the UK of its commitment --its mandate-- to foster development of the Jewish National Home in the ancient Jewish homeland. It restricted Jewish immigration into Israel to 15,000 per year for the coming five years, after which any Jewish immigration would be subject to Arab approval [which obviously would not be given]. This policy was instituted at the very time when the Jews most needed a national home, when the Jews needed a country to which they could freely immigrate, the years of the Holocaust. The policy was found illegal by the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission, whereas it was the League which had assigned the mandate to Britain to foster development of the Jewish National Home. The Commission's finding did not deter His Majesty's Govt. It was clearly an anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist policy, although a whole school of professional liars well-ensconced in Western universities tries mightily to obscure the truth about the period of the White Paper.
In 1940, the Mufti negotiated with a British representative, Colonel Newcombe, about "settlement of the Palestine problem." Husseini was backed up by the Iraqi foreign minister, the pro-British Nuri al-Said:
. . . General Nuri tried to reconcile the Iraqi, as well as the Arab, nationalists with Great Britain. When Colonel S F Newcombe came out to Baghdad in July 1940 on semi-official business, General Nuri, then Foreign Minister, in agreement with Prime Minister Rashid Ali, held several meetings at which Haj Amin Husayni, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Jamal Husayni [a relative of the Mufti], and Musa al-Alami were present. A suggestion was transmitted through Colonel Newcombe, and with his agreement, to the British Government for the settlement of the Palestine problem: the White Paper of 1939 was to be accepted as the basis of the Palestine settlement and the transition period was to be fixed at ten years. The Iraqi Government decided, in August 1940, that in return for such a settlement it would make a formal declaration of war on the Axis Powers and place one-half of the Iraqi forces at the disposal of the Middle East Command for service outside Iraq. General Nuri left for Cairo to communicate the decision of the Iraqi Government to General Wavell, and the whole arrangement was referred to London, but there was no response from the British Government. It was most unfortunate that no reply was made to either Iraq or to the Palestinian leaders, since the British Government's silence was construed to mean that no just settlement was contemplated in London. From that time on, declared General Nuri to the writer [to Khadduri], the attitude of the Iraqi nationalists became increasingly hostile towards England. [Majid Khadduri, Independent Iraq (1st ed; London: Oxford Univ Press, 1951), p 170]
Note that Khadduri says that a "just settlement" is a settlement that the Arabs want. Moreover, it is quite obvious that the Palestinian Arabs were in no way alone. According to Khadduri's account, they had the backing of the Arab world which intervened in their favor with the British.
Furthermore, British policy had become quite clearly anti-Jewish and pro-Arab from 1939 on, the Holocaust years. Of course, the Arabs, as experts in always chiseling a little more out of their negotiating partners, were not satisfied. The White Paper did not go far enough for them. But since they had expected further British concessions to them, this shows that their evaluation of the White Paper policy was that it was pro-Arab. Furthermore, a year later [May 1941], Anthony Eden, the British foreign secretary, called on the Arabs to move towards unity. Eden's call, repeated in 1943, eventuated in the Arab League.
Further, note that Amin el-Husseini negotiated with the British together with the Iraqi foreign minister and enjoyed his support in the negotiations. This means that there was not then --just as there is not now-- a separate, distinct "Palestinian people." Further, Khadduri indicates that "Iraqi nationalists" were just a species of Arab nationalist, just as the Mufti is perceived as an Arab leader, not strictly a "Palestinian" leader. The British representative, Newcombe, who was in Baghdad on "semi-official business" [Khadduri, p 170], talked with the Mufti, although he was supposedly wanted for crimes in the so-called Arab Revolt in Israel, from 1936-1939. I say "so-called" since the "revolt" was in fact a "revolt by leave" [by permission of the British] in the words of Horace Samuel in his pamphlet of the same name. After leaving Iraq upon the defeat of the Rashid Ali government by the British and auxiliary forces, the Mufti made his way to Berlin where he lived for most of the rest of the war and participated in the Holocaust. Rashid Ali too spent the war years in Berlin.
Most importantly, note that the Jews were contemptuously cast aside by the British when the Jews most needed friends. Even then, the Arabs had more population, more territory, and more oil than the Jews.
ADDITION: The very fact that the Arabs wanted to use the 1939 White Paper as the basis of negotiations shows that they viewed it as a pro-Arab document.
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Coming: An Iraqi government commission investigates the causes of the Farhud, Jews in Jerusalem, oppression of Jews in Muslim lands, etc.