Both Bibi Netanyahu and Ayman Mohyeldin need a reassignment | #Ethics on Blog#42

I don’t often comment on the Middle East. It’s too close and painful. As someone who is half-Arab, half-Jew, stories like these are very painful. With all of the anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiment in the media, social media, and the press, I realized some time ago that it is impossible to have any discussions that don’t degenerate into a free for all.

This week saw some pretty bad behavior and I will come out of my self-imposed moratorium to say this: both Bibi and Ayman need to be taken off their assignments for essentially the same reason.

When you have to resort to doing or saying the unthinkable in order to garner the public’s sympathy, it’s time to get out. When you speak to the world and tell them things they know are untrue and expect everyone to defer to you, it’s time to get out. When you are reporting, live, and describe to viewers the opposite of what they are seeing as you speak and the host whose show you are appearing on corrects you, it’s time to get out.

Mediaite reports:

Mohyeldin reported live on MSNBC Wednesday morning that he and the NBC News team had a good vantage point and they did not see anyone getting stabbed “at the time of this incident.” He said the man who approached the police was shot after ignoring multiple warnings.

He himself did not confirm that the attacker had a knife on him, telling Jose Diaz-Balart that when he was lying on the ground “both of his hands were open and both of his hands did not have a knife.”

Diaz-Balart jumped in to bring up a still image NBC News obtained in which “we can clearly see the man… with what appears to be, at least in his right hand, a knife.”

https://youtu.be/652h9-p8HCU

This isn’t the first time Mohyeldin misstates the truth we can all see in front of us. Last time I saw it with my own eyes was while he was on the air with Chris Hayes. The only difference is that Chris Hayes went along with it and Diaz-Balart didn’t.

Bibi’s transgressions have been getting worse by the day, it seems. This week’s outrageous statement, however, is probably the worst he’s ever dared speak. Here too we have our collective eyes and knowledge to defend truth with. Adolph Hitler neither needed convincing or encouragement from an Arab to commit his crimes against humanity. The Jewish Forward reports:

In a speech to the Zionist Congress late on Tuesday, Netanyahu referred to a series of Muslim attacks on Jews in Palestine during the 1920s that he said were instigated by the then-Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Husseini famously flew to visit Hitler in Berlin in 1941, and Netanyahu said that meeting was instrumental in the Nazi leader’s decision to launch a campaign to annihilate the Jews.

“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,” Netanyahu said in the speech. “And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here (Palestine).’

“‘So what should I do with them?’” Netanyahu said Hitler asked the mufti, who responded: “Burn them.”

Netanyahu, whose father was an eminent historian, was quickly harangued by opposition politicians and experts on the Holocaust who said he was distorting the historical record.

Let’s forget, just for a moment, that Netanyahu’s father hadn’t been a historian, he and I learned the very same historical facts from the same Israeli education system, along with millions of Israelis, some whose parents and grandparents founded the nation and know, not only from dry accounts in history books, but from stories handed down to them, what the truth is.

A book, published last year, made all kinds of claims, twisting an already unsavory truth about the Mufti into half truths and outright lies. The truth is that the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini did visit with Hitler and he indeed was looking for the support of the Nazis against the nascent Jewish state and, at the end of the Second World War, fled Palestine to avoid prosecution. But insofar as culpability for the extermination of 6 million Jews, as Mother Jones reports and German Chancellor Angela Merkel felt the need to reiterate through Steffen Seibert, her spokesperson:

“All Germans know the history of the murderous race mania of the Nazis that led to the break with civilization that was the Holocaust,” and “This is taught in German schools for good reason, it must never be forgotten. And I see no reason to change our view of history in any way. We know that responsibility for this crime against humanity is German and very much our own.”

As it is, the narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict is rife with inaccuracies, bias, and blatant lies. It doesn’t need additional help from either man. What’s more, with so much horror, hate, and cruelty the world has seen only on rare occasions unfolding before our eyes throughout the entire region, extending throughout the Levant, what does this kind of cheap rhetoric add to the mix?  Does Israel need more violence? Do terrorists need more incitement?

I hope the shame Bibi has brought to his nation causes his government to topple. I hope there are still enough men and women of conscience in the Knesset who will go along with a motion of censure and cause an early election cycle. Whatever promise Menachem Begin ever saw in Bibi, it is gone. Maybe it never existed. Netanyahu is an embarrassment to Israel and Jews everywhere.

I hope the powers that be at NBC take a good look at Mohyeldin’s career and realize that a very bright reporter’s career and their network aren’t well-served when he is assigned to cover a land that is too close to his roots and his heart. Allowing him to continue reporting from Israel or the West Bank and Gaza is irresponsible.


Historical and popular press references:

Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini visit with Hitler, 1941
Wikipedia entry

2014 opinion piece by Robert Fisk in the UK’s the Independent:

Dumping blame for the Holocaust on the Grand Mufti is an insult to its six million victims

A highly incriminating story, if true – but “possible” is hardly the stuff of history

And so – amid the tragedy and revenge of last week’s butchery by Arabs and Jews, we should return to that devious, hypocritical – yes, and anti-Semitic – man, the Palestinian Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the prelate who visited Hitler and Himmler and supported their persecution of the Jews of Europe. Did he know that the Holocaust had started?  Of course he knew. Did he make morally iniquitous broadcasts for the Nazis? Of course he did. Did he appeal to the Germans to send Jews “to the east”? Of course, he made just such a call which may – or may not – have sealed the fate of Jews in Europe.

But a new book goes much further. Its two authors, the late Barry Rubin and Wolfgang Schwanitz, claim this Palestinian Jew-hater (let us not avoid the truth here) was actually responsible for the mass killing of the Jews of the Holocaust, that without him – without this single, one Arab Muslim who was largely treated by the Nazis themselves with the scorn he deserved – the greatest crime against humanity in modern generations would not have taken place. You get the point, of course. Haj Amin was a Palestinian. He brought about the mass murder of the Jews. Therefore the Palestinians were responsible for the Holocaust. Ergo…

Read the rest of this op-ed at The Independent

  • Edward M

    “I don’t often comment on the Middle East. It’s too close and painful.”
    It never ought to be if one is willing to accept the price of objectivity.