Netanyahu Holocaust comment ‘not backed by scholarly evidence’

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and German Chancellor Merkel hold joint news conference in Berlin. (Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments on Wednesday linking a Muslim leader to the Holocaust were not supported by scholarly evidence, the State Department said, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry left Washington for talks on ending weeks of Palestinian-Israeli violence.

Netanyahu, speaking just before the start of a visit to Germany, said that Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Muslim elder in Jerusalem during the 1940s, persuaded Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews.

Opposition politicians and Holocaust experts criticized the remarks and accused Netanyahu of distorting the historical record. A German government spokesman said the Holocaust was Germany’s responsibility and there was no need for another view on it.

State Department spokesman John Kirby declined to characterize Netanyahu’s comments as potentially inciting, but he said scholarly evidence on the Holocaust did not support the prime minister’s view.

“We’ve seen the press reports of his comments, and if you look at them, they would connote that the scholarly evidence does not support that position,” Kirby told a daily briefing.

Kerry will meet with Netanyahu in Berlin on Thursday at the outset of a trip aimed at finding ways to end the violence between Israelis and Palestinians, Kirby said.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49