Elon sees this as an obstacle to peace. Of course it would be foolish to see every Arab in this way and the typical Israeli that Elon presents seems to be a straw man of his own manufacture. Yet Elon's diatribe, which goes on for eight columns of rather small type, disregards the relevant history, to wit, the collaboration in the Holocaust of the Mufti of Jerusalem and others whose families are still prominent in the Palestinian Arab leadership. Nor does he mention the massacres carried out by Arabs in the past 40 years in Lebanon, the Sudan, and Iraqi Kurdistan. Surely this information was relevant to his discussion. However, these omissions are apparently intentional since Elon goes on to argue that "a little forgetfulness [toward the Holocaust] might finally be in order." (49)
One might accept Elon as sincere if one knew that he had asked the Arabs too to forget their various grievances.
Making Elon's article all the more bizarre (and it happens to be the featured article of the issue), is that the same issue of New York Review contains a piece by George Soros describing contemporary Holocaust-like events in Bosnia. Now after all, if Serbs or other former Yugoslavs, exposed for years to Communist propaganda in favor of the brotherhood of nations, could commit numerous atrocities against other ethnic groups, then why could not the Arabs who have been subject for years to intense nationalist (indeed chauvinist) indoctrination (and more recently to Islamic jihad incitement) do the same?
Another Israeli, Zvi El-Peleg, a biographer of the Mufti, admits part of the Mufti's pro-Nazi activities, denies or casts doubt on other parts, and distorts the moral meaning of his pro-Nazi and pro-Holocaust exertions. In the Hebrew edition of his book, El-Peleg takes pains to cast doubt on one of the incriminating pieces of evidence against Husseini. He writes that "those who saw him [Husseini] as a partner to the Nazi crimes" reported "that he asked of the Germans that upon their arrival in the Middle East they allow the Arabs 'to solve the Jewish Question in Palestine and the other Arab countries in accord with the interests of the Arabs and in the same ways in which this problem was solved in the Axis states.'" (50)
El-Peleg writes as if to insinuate that Jewish writers hostile to the Mufti chose to believe without substantial proof that he had made such a request of the Germans. What El-Peleg fails to say is that a nearly identical request is reported in a book by Husseini's Arab admirer, the historian Majid Khadduri (Independent Iraq, 2nd ed.), (51) a book listed in El-Peleg's bibliography. Neither Khadduri nor his publisher, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), has been suspected in the past of pro-Zionist or pro-Jewish bias. By the way, an interesting discussion of different versions of this request appears in Bernard Lewis' Semites and Anti-Semites. (52)
Lewis considers the difference between versions submitted while Husseini was in Iraq and those drawn up after he arrived in Axis Europe.
Another tendentious interpretation by El-Peleg is his denial of Husseini's Arab nationalist, pan-Islamic political outlook, by making him into a "Palestinian" nationalist, a more suitable, politically correct creature for the 1990s. Ironically, the quotes from the Mufti that El-Peleg presents in his book show Husseini's pan-Arabist, pan-Islamist character.
Whereas the respected American journalist Edgar Ansel Mowrer said of Husseini, "As a murderer, this man ranks with the great killers of history," (53) El-Peleg chooses to glorify this war criminal. El-Peleg is a historical revisionist, but even more is he a moral revisionist.
Just what explains the compulsion of Elon, El-Peleg, and others to portray the Arabs as historical innocents or to explain away Arab guilt remains an open question. But it appears symptomatic of the political prejudices and Orwellian political morality of our times.