The Nazi Collaborators: The Grand Mufti
In this film, history evidence is shown, showing the Muslim Brotherhood and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem [Haj Amin al-Husseini] working alongside Adolf Hitler in World War 2.
The Turban and the Swastika, Amin Al-Husseini and the nazis
Haj Amin al-Husseini
Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini (Arabic: محمد أمين الحسيني; c. 1897; – 4 July 1974) was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in Mandatory Palestine.
Al-Husseini was the scion of a family of Jerusalemite notables. After receiving an education in Islamic, Ottoman and Catholic schools, he went on to serve in the Ottoman army in World War I. At war’s end, he positioned himself in Damascus as a supporter of the Arab Kingdom of Syria. Following the fiasco of the Franco-Syrian War and the collapse of the Arab Hashemite rule in Damascus, his early position on pan-Arabism shifted to a form of local nationalism for Palestinian Arabs and he moved back to Jerusalem. From as early as 1920, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot that broke out over the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Al-Husseini was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, but was pardoned by the British. Starting in 1921, al-Husseini was appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, using the position to promote Islam, while rallying a non-confessional Arab nationalism against Zionism.
His opposition to the British peaked during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine. In 1937, evading an arrest warrant, he fled Palestine and took refuge in, successively, the French Mandate of Lebanon and the Kingdom of Iraq, until he established himself in Italy and Germany. During World War II he collaborated with both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy by making propagandistic radio broadcasts and by helping the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. On meeting Adolf Hitler he requested backing for Arab independence and support in opposing the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home. At war’s end, he came under French protection, and then sought refuge in Cairo to avoid prosecution.
In the lead-up to the 1948 Palestine war, Husseini opposed both the 1947 UN Partition Plan and King Abdullah‘s designs to annex the Arab part of British Mandatory Palestine to Jordan, and, failing to gain command of the ‘Arab rescue army’ (jaysh al-inqadh al-‘arabi) formed under the aegis of the Arab League, formed his own militia, al-jihad al-muqaddas. In September 1948, he participated in establishment of All-Palestine Government. Seated in Egyptian-ruled Gaza, this government won a limited recognition of Arab states, but was eventually dissolved by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1959. After the war and subsequent Palestinian exodus, his claims to leadership, wholly discredited, left him eventually sidelined by the Palestine Liberation Organization, and he lost most of his residual political influence. He died in Beirut, Lebanon, in July 1974. Husseini was and remains a highly controversial figure. Historians dispute whether his fierce opposition to Zionism was grounded in nationalism or antisemitism or a combination of both.
Amin al-Husseini was born around 1897 in Jerusalem, the son of the mufti of that city and prominent early opponent of Zionism, Tahir al-Husayni. The al-Husseini clan consisted of wealthy landowners in southern Palestine, centred around the district ofJerusalem. Thirteen members of the clan had been Mayors of Jerusalem between 1864 and 1920. Another member of the clan and Amin’s half-brother, Kamil al-Husayni, also served as Mufti of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini attended a Qur’an school (kuttub), and Ottoman government secondary school (rüshidiyye) where he learnt Turkish, and a Catholic secondary school run by French missionaries, the Catholic Frères, where he learnt French. He also studied at the Alliance Israélite Universelle with its non-Zionist Jewish director Albert Antébi. In 1912 he studied Islamic law briefly at Al-Azhar University in Cairo and at the Dar al-Da’wa wa-l-Irshad, under Rashid Rida, a salafi intellectual, who was to remain Amin’s mentor till his death in 1935. Though groomed to hold religious office from youth, his education was typical of the Ottoman effendi at the time, and he only donned a religious turban in 1921 after being appointed mufti.
In 1913, approximately at the age of 16, al-Husseini accompanied his mother Zainab to Mecca and received the honorary title of Hajj. Prior to World War I, he studied at the School of Administration in Istanbul, the most secular of Ottoman institutions.
World War I
With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, al-Husseini received a commission in the Ottoman Army as an artillery officer and was assigned to the Forty-Seventh Brigade stationed in and around the city of Izmir. In November 1916 he obtained a three-month disability leave from the army and returned to Jerusalem. He was recovering from an illness there when the city was captured by the British a year later. The British and Sherifian armies, for which some 500 Palestinian Arabs were estimated to have volunteered, completed their conquest of Ottoman-controlled Palestine and Syria in 1918. As a Sherifian officer, al-Husseini recruited men to serve in Faisal bin Al Hussein bin Ali El-Hashemi‘s army during the Arab Revolt, a task he undertook while employed as a recruiter by the British military administration in Jerusalem and Damascus. The post-war Palin Report noted that the English recruiting officer, Captain C. D. Brunton, found al-Husseini, with whom he cooperated, very pro-British, and that, via the diffusion of War Office pamphlets dropped from the air promising them peace and prosperity under British rule, ‘the recruits (were) being given to understand that they were fighting in a national cause and to liberate their country from the Turks’. Nothing in his early career to this point suggests he had ambitions to serve in a religious office: his interests were those of an Arab nationalist.
Early political activism
In 1919, al-Husseini attended the Pan-Syrian Congress held in Damascus where he supported Emir Faisal for King of Syria. That year al-Husseini founded the pro-British Jerusalem branch of the Syrian-based ‘Arab Club’ (Al-Nadi al-arabi), which then vied with the Nashashibi-sponsored ‘Literary Club’ (al-Muntada al-Adabi) for influence over public opinion, and he soon became its President. At the same time, he wrote articles for theSuriyya al-Janubiyya (Southern Syria). The paper was published in Jerusalem beginning in September 1919 by the lawyer Muhammad Hassan al-Budayri, and edited by Aref al-Aref, both prominent members of al-Nadi al-‘Arabi.
Al-Husseini was a strong supporter of the short-living Arab Kingdom of Syria, established in March 1920. In addition to his support to pan-Arabist policies of King Faisal I, al-Husseini tried to destabilize the British rule in Palestine, which was declared to be part of the Arab Kingdom, even though no authority was exercised in reality.
During the annual Nabi Musa procession in Jerusalem in April 1920, violent rioting broke out in protest at the implementation of the Balfour Declaration which supported the establishment in Palestine of a homeland for the Jewish people. Much damage to Jewish life and property was caused. The Palin Report laid the blame for the explosion of tensions on both sides. Ze’ev Jabotinsky, organiser of Jewish paramilitary defences, received a 15-year sentence. Al-Husseini, then a teacher at the Rashidiya school, near Herod’s Gate in East Jerusalem, was charged with inciting the Arab crowds with an inflammatory speech and sentenced in absentia to 10-years imprisonment by a military court, since by then he had fled to Syria. It was asserted soon after, by Chaim Weizmann and British army Lieutenant Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, that al-Husseini had been put up to inciting the riot by British Field-marshal Allenby‘s Chief of Staff, Colonel Bertie Harry Waters-Taylor, to demonstrate to the world that Arabs would not tolerate a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The assertion was never proven, and Meinertzhagen was dismissed.
After the April riots an event took place that turned the traditional rivalry between the Husseini and Nashashibi clans into a serious rift, with long-term consequences for al-Husseini and Palestinian nationalism. According to Sir Louis Bols, great pressure was brought to bear on the military administration from Zionist leaders and officials such as David Yellin, to have the Mayor of Jerusalem, Musa Kazim Pasha al-Husayni, dismissed, given his presence in the demonstration of the previous March. Colonel Storrs, the Military Governor of Jerusalem, removed him without further inquiry, replacing him with Raghib al-Nashashibi of the rival Nashashibi clan. This, according to the Palin report, ‘had a profound effect on his co-religionists, definitely confirming the conviction they had already formed from other evidence that the Civil Administration was the mere puppet of the Zionist Organization.’
Until late 1920, al-Husseini focused his efforts on Pan-Arabism and the ideology of the Greater Syria in particular, with Palestine understood as a southern province of an Arab state, whose capital was to be established in Damascus. Greater Syria was to include territory of the entire Levant, now occupied by Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestinian Authority and Israel. The struggle for Greater Syria collapsed after France defeated the Arab forces in Battle of Maysalun in July 1920. The French army entered Damascus at that time, overthrew King Faisal and put an end to the project of a Greater Syria, put under the French Mandate in accordance with the prior Sykes-Picot Agreement. Palestinian notables responded to the disaster by a series of resolutions at the 1921 Haifa conference, which set down a Palestinian framework and passed over in silence the earlier idea of a south confederated with Syria. This framework set the tone of Palestinian nationalism for the ensuing decades.
Al-Husseini, like many of his class and period, then turned from Damascus-oriented Pan-Arabism to a specifically Palestinian ideology, centered on Jerusalem, which sought to block Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine. The frustration of pan-Arab aspirations lent an Islamic colour to the struggle for independence, and increasing resort to the idea of restoring the land to Dar al-Islam. From his election as Mufti until 1923, al-Husseini exercised total control over the secret society, Al-Fida’iyya (The Self-Sacrificers), which, together with al-Ikha’ wal-‘Afaf (Brotherhood and Purity), played an important role in clandestine anti-British and anti-Zionist activities, and, via members in the gendarmerie, had engaged in riotous activities as early as April 1920.
Mufti of Jerusalem
Following the death of Amin’s half-brother, the mufti Kamil al-Husayni in March 1921, the British High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel pardoned al-Husseini. He and another Arab had been excluded from the generalamnesty, six weeks earlier, because they had fled before their convictions had been passed down. Elections were then held, and of the four candidates running for the office of Mufti, al-Husseini received the least number of votes, the first three being Nashashibi candidates. Nevertheless, Samuel was anxious to keep a balance between the al-Husseinis and their rival clan the Nashashibis. A year earlier the British had replaced Musa al-Husayni as Mayor of Jerusalem with Ragheb al-Nashashibi. They then moved to secure for the Husseini clan a compensatory function of prestige by appointing one of them to the position of mufti, and, with the support of Ragheb al-Nashashibi and Sheikh Hussam Jārallāh, prevailing upon the Nashashibi front-runner, Sheikh Hussam ad-Din Jarallah, to withdraw. This automatically promoted Amin al-Husseini to third position, which, under Ottoman law, allowed him to qualify, and Samuel then chose him as Mufti. His initial appointment was as Mufti, but when the Supreme Muslim Council was created in the following year, Husseini demanded and received the title Grand Mufti that had earlier been created, perhaps on the lines of Egyptian usage, by the British for his half-brother Kamil. The position came with a life tenure.
In 1922, al-Husseini was elected President of the Supreme Muslim Council which had been created by Samuel in 1921. Matthews argues that the British considered the combinations of his profile as an effective Arab nationalist and a scion of a noble Jerusalem family ‘made it advantageous to align his interests with those of the British administration and thereby keep him on a short tether.’. The Council controlled the Waqf funds, worth annually tens of thousands of pounds and the orphan funds, worth annually about £50,000, as compared to the £600,000 in the Jewish Agency‘s annual budget. In addition, he controlled the Islamic courts in Palestine. Among other functions, these courts were entrusted with the power to appoint teachers and preachers.
The British initially balanced appointments to the Supreme Muslim Council between the Husseinis and their supporters (known as the majlisiya, or council supporters) and the Nashashibis and their allied clans (known as the mu’aridun, the opposition). Themu’aridun, were more disposed to a compromise with the Jews, and indeed had for some years received annual subventions from the Jewish Agency. During most of the period of the British mandate, bickering between these two families seriously undermined any Palestinian Arab unity. In 1936, however, they achieved a measure of concerted policy when all the Palestinian Arab groups joined to create a permanent executive organ known as the Arab Higher Committee under al-Husseini’s chairmanship.
Haram ash-Sharif and the Western Wall
The Supreme Muslim Council and its head al-Husseini, who regarded himself as guardian of one of the three holy sites of Islam, launched an international campaign in Muslim countries to gather funds to restore and improve the Haram ash-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) or Temple Mount, and particularly the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the shrine Dome of the Rock (which houses the holiest site in Judaism). The whole area required extensive restoration, given the disrepair into which it had fallen from neglect in Ottoman times. Jerusalem was the original direction towards which Muslims prayed, until the Qibla was reorientated towards Mecca by Mohammed in the year 624. Al-Husseini commissioned the Turkish architect Mimar Kemalettin. In restoring the site, al-Husseini was also assisted by the Mandatory power’s Catholic Director of Antiquities, Ernest Richmond. Under Richmond’s supervision, the Turkish architect drew up a plan, and the execution of the works gave a notable stimulus to the revival of traditional artisan arts like mosaic tesselation, glassware production, woodcraft, wickerwork and iron-mongering.
Al-Husseini’s vigorous efforts to transform the Haram into a symbol of pan-Arabic and Palestinian nationalism were intended to rally Arab support against the postwar influx of Jewish immigrants. In his campaigning, al-Husseini often accused Jews of planning to take possession of the Western Wall of Jerusalem, which belonged to the waqf of Abu Madyan as an inalienable property, and rebuild the Temple over the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He took certain statements, for example, by the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Palestine, Abraham Isaac Kook regarding the eventual return in time of the Temple Mount back to Jewish hands, and turned them to a concrete political plot to seize control of the area. Al-Husseini’s intensive work to refurbish the shrine as a cynosure for the Muslim world, and Jewish endeavours to improve their access to, and establish a ritually appropriate ambiance on the plaza by the Western Wall, led to increased conflict between the two communities, each seeing the site only from their own traditional perspective and interests.Zionist narratives pinpointed al-Husseini’s works on, and publicity about, the site and threats to it, as attempts to restore his own family’s waning prestige. Arab narratives read the heightened agitation of certain Jewish groups over the Wall as an attempt to revivediaspora interest in Zionism after some years of relative decline, depression and emigration. Each attempt to make minor alterations to the status quo, still governed by Ottoman law, was bitterly protested before the British authorities by the Muslim authorities. If Muslims could cite an Ottoman regulation of 1912 specifically forbidding objects like seating to be introduced, the Jews could cite testimonies to the fact that before 1914 certain exceptions had been made to improve their access and use of the Wall. The decade witnessed several such episodes of strong friction, and the simmering tensions came to a head in late 1928, only to erupt, after a brief respite, into an explosion of violence a year later.
1929 Palestine Riots
Arab protest delegations against British policy in Palestine during 1929
On 10 August 1928, a constituent assembly convened by the French in Syria was rapidly adjourned when calls were made for a reunification with Palestine. Al-Husseini and Awni Abd al-Hadi met with the Syrian nationalists and they made a joint proclamation for a unified monarchical state under a son of Ibn Sa’ud. On the 26th. the completion of the first stage of restoration work on the Haram’s mosques was celebrated with great pomp, in the presence of representatives from the Muslim countries which had financed the project, the Mandatory authorities, and Abdullah, Emir of Transjordan. A month later, after an article appeared in the Jewish press proposing the purchase and destruction of houses in the Moroccan quarter bordering on the wall to improve pilgrim access and further thereby the ‘Redemption of Israel.’ Soon after, on 23 September, Yom Kippur, a Jewish beadle introduced a screen to separate male and female worshippers at the Wall. Informed by residents in the neighbouring Mughrabi quarter, the waqf authority complained to Harry Luke, acting Chief Secretary to the Government of Palestine, that this virtually changed the lane into a synagogue, and violated the status quo, as had the collapsible seats in 1926. British constables, encountering a refusal, used force to remove the screen, and a jostling clash ensued between worshippers and police.
Zionist allegations that disproportionate force had been employed during what was a solemn occasion of prayer created an outcry throughout the diaspora. Worldwide Jewish protests remonstrated with Britain for the violence exercised at the Wall. The Jewish National Council Vaad Leumi ‘demanded that British administration expropriate the wall for the Jews’. In reply, the Muslims organized a Defence Committee for the Protection of the Noble Buraq, and huge crowd rallies took place on the Al-Aqsa plaza in protest. Work, often noisy, was immediately undertaken on a mosque above the Jewish prayer site. Disturbances such as opening a passage for donkeys to pass through the area, angered worshippers. After intense negotiations, the Zionist organisation denied any intent to take over the whole Haram Ash-Sharif, but demanded the government expropriate and raze the Moroccan quarter. A law of 1924 allowed the British authorities to expropriate property, and fear of this in turn greatly agitated the Muslim community, though the laws of donation of the waqf explicitly disallowed any such alienation. After lengthy deliberation, a White Paper was made public on 11 December 1928 in favour of the status quo.
After the nomination of the new High Commissioner Sir John Chancellor to succeed Lord Plumer in December 1928, the question was re-examined, and in February 1929 legal opinion established that the mandatory authority was within its powers to intervene to ensure Jewish rights of access and prayer. Al-Husseini pressed him for a specific clarification of the legal status quo regarding the Wall. Chancellor mulled weakening the SMC and undermining al-Husseini’s authority by making the office of mufti elective. The Nabi Musa festival of April that year passed without incident, despite al-Husseini’s warnings of possible incidents. Chancellor thought his power was waning, and after conferring with London, admitted to al-Husseini on 6 May that he was impotent to act decisively in the matter. Al-Husseini replied that, unless the Mandatory authorities acted, then, very much like Christian monks protecting their sacred sites in Jerusalem, the sheikhs would have to take infringements of the status quo into their own hands, and personally remove any objects introduced by Jews to the area. Chancellor asked him to be patient, and al-Husseini offered to stop works on the Mount on condition that this gesture not be taken as a recognition of Jewish rights. A change of government in Britain in June led to a new proposal: only Muslim works in the sector near where Jews prayed should be subject to mandatory authorisation: Jews could employ ritual objects, but the introduction of seats and screens would be subject to Muslim authorisation. Chancellor authorised the Muslims to recommence their reconstructive work, while, responding to further Zionist complaints, prevailed on the SMC to stop the raucous Zikr ceremonies in the vicinity of the wall. He also asked the Zionist representatives to refrain from filling their newspapers with attacks on the government and Muslim authorities. Chancellor then departed for Europe where the Mandatory Commission was deliberating.
With Chancellor abroad, and the Zionist Commission itself, with its leader Colonel Frederick Kisch, in Zurich for the 16th. Zionist Congress (attended also by Ze’ev Jabotinsky), the SMC resumed works, confidentially authorised, on the Haram only to be met with outcries from the Jewish press. The administration rapidly published the new rules on 22 July, with a serious error in translation that fueled Zionist reports of a plot against Jewish rights. A protest in London led to a public declaration by a member of the Zionist Commission that Jewish rights were bigger than the status quo, a statement which encouraged in turn Arab suspicions that local agreements were again being overthrown by Jewish intrigues abroad. News that the Zurich Congress, in creating the Jewish Agency on 11 August., had brought unity among Zionists and the world Jewish community, a measure that would greatly increase Jewish investment in British Palestine, set off alarm bells. On 15 August, Tisha B’Av, a day memorializing the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, the revisionist Betar movement, despite Pinhas Rutenberg‘s plea on 8 August to the acting High Commissioner Harry Luke to stop such groups from participating, rallied members from Tel Aviv to join them in the religious commemoration. Kisch, before leaving, had banned Jewish demonstrations in Jerusalem’s Arab quarters. The Betar youth gave the ceremony a strong nationalist tinge by singing the Hatikvah, waving the flag of Israel, and chanting the slogan ‘The Wall is Ours’. The following day coincided with mawlid (or mawsin al-nabi), the anniversary of the birth of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. Muslim worshippers, after prayers on the esplanade of the Haram, passed through the narrow lane by the Wailing Wall and ripped up prayer books, and kotel notes (wall petitions), without harming however three Jews present. Contacted by Luke, al-Husseini undertook to do his best to maintain calm on the Haram, but could not stop demonstrators from gathering at the Wall.
On 17 August a young Jewish boy was stabbed to death by Arabs while retrieving a football, while an Arab was badly wounded in a brawl with Palestinian Jews. Strongly tied to the anti-Hashemite party, and attacked by supporters of Abdullah in Transjordan for misusing funds marked out for campaigning against France, al-Husseini asked for a visa for himself and Awni Abd al-Hadi to travel to Syria, where the leadership of the Syrian anti-French cause was being contested. Averse to his presence in Syria, the French asked him to put off the journey. Meanwhile, despite Harry Luke’s lecturing journalists to avoid reporting such material, rumors circulated in both communities, of an imminent massacre of Jews by Muslims, and of an assault on the Haram ash-Sharif by Jews. On 21 August a funeral cortège, taking the form of a public demonstration for the dead Jewish boy, wound its way through the old city, with the police blocking attempts to break into the Arab quarters. On the 22nd, Luke convoked representatives of both parties to calm things down, and undersign a joint declaration. Awni Abd al-Hadi and Jamal al-Husayni were ready to recognize Jewish visiting rights at the Wall in exchange for Jewish recognition of Islamic prerogatives at the Buraq. The Jewish representative, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, considered this beyond his brief—which was limited to an appeal for calm—and the Arabs in turn refused. They agreed to pursue their dialogue the following week.
On 23 August, a Friday, two or three Arabs were murdered in the Jewish quarter of Mea Shearim. It was also a day of Muslim prayer. A large crowd, composed of many people from outlying villages, thronged into Jerusalem, many armed with sticks and knives. It is not known whether this was organized by al-Husseini or the result of spontaneous mobilisation. The sermon at Al-Aqsa was to be delivered by another preacher, but Luke prevailed on al-Husseini to leave his home and go to the mosque, where he was greeted as ‘the sword of the faith’ and where he instructed the preacher to deliver a pacific sermon, while sending an urgent message for police reinforcements around the Haram. Deluded by the lenitive address, extremists harangued the crowd, accusing al-Husseini of being an infidel to the Muslim cause. The same violent accusation was launched in Jaffa against sheikh Muzaffir, an otherwise radical Islamic preacher, who gave a sermon calling for calm on the same day. An assault was launched on the Jewish quarter. Violent mob attacks on Jewish communities, fueled by wildfire hearsay about ostensible massacres of Arabs and attempts to seize the Wall, took place over the following days in Hebron, Safed and Haifa. In all, in the killings and subsequent revenge attacks, 136 Arabs and 135 Jews died, while 340 of the latter were wounded, as well as an estimated 240 Arabs.
Two official investigations were subsequently conducted by the British and the League of Nations‘s Mandatory Commission. The former, The Shaw Report, concluded that the incident on 23 August consisted of an attack by Arabs on Jews, but rejected the view that the riots had been premeditated. Al-Husseini certainly played an energetic role in Muslim demonstrations from 1928 onwards, but could not be held responsible for the August riots, even if he had ‘a share in the responsibility for the disturbances’. He had nonetheless collaborated from the 23rd. of that month in pacifying rioters and reestablishing order. The worst outbreaks occurred in areas, Hebron, Safed, Jaffa, and Haifa where his Arab political adversaries were dominant. The root cause of the violent outbreaks lay in the fear of territorial dispossession. In a Note of Reservation, Mr. Harry Snell, who had apparently been swayed by Sir Herbert Samuel‘s son, Edwin Samuel states that, although he was satisfied that the Mufti was not directly responsible for the violence or had connived at it, he believed the Mufti was aware of the nature of the anti-Zionist campaign and the danger of disturbances. He therefore attributed to the Mufti a greater share of the blame than the official report had. The Dutch Vice-Chairman of the Permanent Mandates Commission, M. Van Rees, argued that ‘the disturbances of August 1929, as well as the previous disturbances of a similar character, were, in brief, only a special aspect of the resistance offered everywhere in the East, with its traditional and feudal civilisation, to the invasion of a European civilisation introduced by a Western administration’ but concluded that in his view ‘the responsibility for what had happened must lie with the religious and political leaders of the Arabs’.
Many observers saw al-Husseini as the mastermind behind the riots, accusing him of dispatching secret emissaries to inflame regional passions [citation]. In London, Lord Melchett demanded his arrest for orchestrating all anti-British unrest throughout the Middle East. Consular documentation discarded the plot thesis rapidly, and identified the deeper cause as political, not religious, namely in what the Palin report had earlier identified as profound Arab discontent over Zionism. Arab memoirs on the fitna (troubles) follow a contemporary proclamation for the Defence of the Wall on 31 August, which justified the riots as legitimate, but nowhere mention a coordinated plan. Izzat Darwaza, an Arab nationalist rival of al-Husseini, alone asserts, without details, that al-Husseini was responsible. Al-Husseini in his memoirs never claimed to have played such a role.
The High Commissioner received al-Husseini twice officially on 1 October 1929 and a week later, and the latter complained of pro-Zionist bias in an area where the Arab population still viewed Great Britain favorably. Al-Husseini argued that the weakness of the Arab position was that they lacked political representation in Europe, whereas for millennia, in his view, the Jews dominated with their genius for intrigue. He assured Chancellor of his cooperation in maintaining public order.
Political activities, 1930–1935
By 1928–1929 a coalition of a new Palestinian nationalist group began to challenge the hegemony so far exercised by al-Husseini. The group, more pragmatic, hailed from the landed gentry and from business circles, and was intent on what they considered a policy of more realistic accommodation to the Mandatory government. From this period on, a rift emerged, that was to develop into a feud between the directive elite of Palestinian Arabs.
In 1931, al-Husseini founded the World Islamic Congress, on which he was to serve as president. Versions differ as to whether or not al-Husseini supported Izz ad-Din al-Qassam when he undertook clandestine activities against the British Mandate authorities. His appointment as imam of the al-Istiqlal mosque in Haifa had been approved by al-Husseini. Lachman argues that he secretly encouraged, and perhaps financed al-Qassam at this period. Whatever their relations, the latter’s independent activism, and open challenge to the British authorities appears to have led to a rupture between the two. He vigorously opposed the Qassamites’ exactions against the Christian and Druze communities. By 1935 al-Husseini did take control of one clandestine organization, of whose nature he had not been informed until the preceding year,which had been set up in 1931 by Musa Kazim al-Husayni‘s son, Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni and recruited from the Palestinian Arab Boy Scout movement, called the ‘Holy Struggle’ (al-jihad al-muqaddas). This and another paramilitary youth organization, al-Futuwwah, paralleled the clandestine Jewish Haganah. Rumours, and occasional discovery of caches and shipments of arms, strengthened military preparations on both sides.
1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine
On 19 April 1936, a wave of protest strikes and attacks against both the British authorities and Jews was unleashed in Palestine. Initially, the riots were led by Farhan al-Sa’di, a militant sheik of the northern al-Qassam group, with links to the Nashashibis. After the arrest and execution of Farhan, al-Husseini seized the initiative by negotiating an alliance with the al-Qassam faction. Apart from some foreign subsidies, including a substantial amount from Fascist Italy, he controlled waqf and orphan funds that generated annual income of about 115,000 Palestine pounds. After the start of the revolt, most of that money was used to finance the activities of his representatives throughout the country. To Italy’s Consul-General in Jerusalem, Mariano de Angelis, he explained in July that his decision to get directly involved in the conflict arose from the trust he reposed in Italian dictator Benito Mussolini‘s backing and promises. Upon al-Husseini’s initiative, the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans formed the Arab Higher Committee under the Mufti’s chairmanship. The Committee called for nonpayment of taxes after 15 May and for a general strike of Arab workers and businesses, demanding an end to the Jewish immigration. The British High Commissioner for Palestine, Sir Arthur Wauchope, responded by engaging in negotiations with al-Husseini and the Committee. The talks, however, soon proved fruitless. Al-Husseini issued a series of warnings, threatening the ‘revenge of God Almighty’ unless the Jewish immigration were to stop, and the general strike began, paralyzing the government, public transportation, Arab businesses and agriculture.
As the time passed, by autumn the Arab middle class had exhausted its resources. Under these circumstances, the Mandatory government was looking for an intermediary who might help persuade the Arab Higher Committee to end the rebellion. Al-Husseini and the Committee rejected King Abdullah of Transjordan as mediator because of his dependence on the British and friendship with the Zionists, but accepted the Iraqi Foreign Minister Nuri as-Said. As Wauchope warned of an impending military campaign and simultaneously offered to dispatch a Royal Commission of Inquiry to hear the Arab complaints, the Arab Higher Committee called off the strike on 11 October. When the promised Royal Commission of Inquiry arrived in Palestine in November, al-Husseini testified before it as chief witness for the Arabs.
In July 1937, British police were sent to arrest al-Husseini for his part in the Arab rebellion, but, tipped off, he managed to escape to the sanctuary of asylum in the Haram. He stayed there for three months, directing the revolt from within. Four days after the assassination of the Acting District Commissioner for that area Lewis Yelland Andrews by Galilean members of the al-Qassam group on 26 September, al-Husseini was deposed from the presidency of the Muslim Supreme Council, the Arab Higher Committee was declared illegal, and warrants for the arrest of its leaders were issued, as being at least ‘morally responsible’, though no proofs existed for their complicity. Of them only Jamal al-Husayni managed to escape to Syria: the remaining five were exiled to theSeychelles. Al-Husseini was not among the indicted but, fearing imprisonment, on 13–14 October, after sliding under cover of darkness down a rope from the Haram’s wall, he himself fled via Jaffa to Lebanon, disguised as a Bedouin, where he reconstituted the committee under his leadership. Al-Husseini’s tactics, his abuse of power to punish other clans, and the killing of political adversaries he considered ‘traitors’, alienated many Palestinian Arabs. One local leader, Abu Shair, told Da’ud al-Husayni, an emissary from Damascus who bore a list of people to be assassinated during the uprising “I don’t work for Husayniya (‘Husayni-ism’) but for wataniya (nationalism).” He remained in Lebanon for two years, under French surveillance in the Christian village ofZouk, but, in October 1939, his deteriorating relationship with the French and Syrian authorities led him to withdraw to the Kingdom of Iraq. By June 1939, after the disintegration of the revolt, Husseini’s policy of killing only proven turncoats changed to one of liquidating all suspects, even members of his own family, according to one intelligence report.
The rebellion itself had lasted until March 1939, when it was finally quelled by British troops. It forced Britain to make substantial concessions to Arab demands. Jewish immigration was to continue but under restrictions, with a quota of 75,000 places spread out over the following five years. On the expiry of this period further Jewish immigration would depend on Arab consent. Besides local unrest, another key factor in bringing about a decisive change in British policy was Nazi Germany’s preparations for a European war, which would develop into a worldwide conflict. In British strategic thinking, securing the loyalty and support of the Arab world assumed an importance .of some urgency. While Jewish support was unquestioned, Arab backing in a new global conflict was by no means assured. By promising to phase out Jewish immigration into Palestine, Britain hoped to win back support from wavering Arabs. Husseini, allied to radical elements in exile, hailing from provincial Palestinian families, convinced the AHC, against moderate Palestinian families who were minded to accept it, to reject the White Paper of 1939, which had recommended an Arab-majority state and an end to building a Jewish national home. The rejection was based on its perceived failure to promise an end to immigration; the land policy it advocated was thought to provide imperfect remedies: and the promised independence appeared to depend on Jewish assent and cooperation. Husseini, who also had personal interests threatened by these arrangements, also feared that acceptance would strengthen the hand of his political opponents in the Palestine national movement, such as the Nashashibis. Schwanitz and Rubin argue that Husseini’s rejectionism was, ironically, the real causal factor for the establishment of the state of Israel.
Neve Gordon writes that al-Husseini regarded all alternative nationalist views as treasonous, opponents became traitors and collaborators, and patronizing or employing Jews of any description illegitimate. From Beirut he continued to issue directives. The price for murdering opposition leaders and peace leaders rose by July to 100 Palestinian pounds: a suspected traitor 25 pounds, and a Jew 10. Notwithstanding this, ties with the Jews were reestablished by leading families such as the Nashashibis, and by the Fahoum of Nazareth.
Ties with the Axis Powers during World War II
Throughout the interwar period, Arab nationalists bore Germany no ill-will, despite its earlier support for the Ottoman Empire. Like many Arab countries, it was perceived as a victim of the post-World War 1 settlement. Hitler himself often spoke of the ‘infamy of Versailles’. Unlike France and Great Britain it had not exercised imperial designs on the Middle East, and its past policy of non-intervention was interpreted as a token of good will. While the scholarly consensus is that Husseini’s motives for supporting the Axis powers and his alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy were deeply inflected by anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist ideology from the outset, some scholars, notably Renzo De Felice, deny that the relationship can be taken to reflect a putative affinity of Arab nationalism with Nazi/Fascist ideology, and that men like Husseini chose them as allies for purely strategic reasons, on the grounds that, as Husseini later wrote in his memoirs,’the enemy of your enemy is your friend’. When Husseini eventually met with Hitler and Ribbentrop in 1941, he assured Hitler that ‘The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies… namely the English, the Jews, and the Communists’.
In 1933, within weeks of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, the German Consul-General in Palestine, the pro-nazi Heinrich Wolff, sent a telegram to Berlin reporting al-Husseini’s belief that Palestinian Muslims were enthusiastic about the new regime and looked forward to the spread of Fascism throughout the region. Wolff met al-Husseini and many sheiks again, a month later, at Nabi Musa. They expressed their approval of the anti-Jewish boycott in Germany and asked Wolff not to send any Jews to Palestine. Wolff subsequently wrote in his annual report for that year that the Arabs’ political naïvety led them to fail to recognize the link between German Jewish policy and their problems in Palestine, and that their enthusiasm for Nazi Germany was devoid of any real understanding of the phenomenon. The various proposals by Palestinian Arab notables like al-Husseini were rejected consistently over the years out of concern to avoid disrupting Anglo-German relations, in line with Germany’s policy of not imperilling their economic and cultural interests in the region by a change in their policy of neutrality, and respect for British interests. Hitler’s Englandpolitik essentially precluded significant assistance to Arab leaders. Italy also made the nature of its assistance to the Palestinian contingent on the outcome of its own negotiations with Britain, and cut off aid when it appeared that the British were ready to admit the failure of their pro-Zionist policy in Palestine. Al-Husseini’s adversary, Ze’ev Jabotinsky had at the same time cut off Irgun ties with Italy after the passage of antisemitic racial legislation.
Though Italy did offer substantial aid, some German assistance also trickled through. After asking the new German Consul-General, Hans Döhle on 21 July 1937 for support, the Abwehr briefly made an exception to its policy and gave some limited aid. But this was aimed to exert pressure on Britain over Czechoslovakia. Promised arms shipments never eventuated. This was not the only diplomatic front on which al-Husseini was active. A month after his visit to Döhle, he met with the American Consul George Wadsworth(August 1937), to whom he professed his belief that America was remote from imperialist ambitions and therefore able to understand that Zionism ‘represented a hostile and imperialist aggression directed against an inhabited country’. In a further interview with Wadsworth on 31 August, he expressed his fears that Jewish influence in the United States might persuade the country to side with Zionists. In the same period he courted the French government by expressing a willingness to assist them in the region.
Al-Husseini in Iraq
With the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 the Iraqi Government complied with a British request to break off diplomatic relations with Germany, interned all German nationals, and introduced emergency measures putting Iraq on a virtual war-footing. A circle of 7 officers opposed this decision and the measures taken. With Nuri as-Said‘s agreement—he wished to persuade al-Husseini of the value of the British White Paper of 1939—they invited al-Husseini to Iraq in October 1939, and he was to play an influential role there in the following two years. A quadrumvirate of four younger generals among the seven, three of whom had served with al-Husseini in World War I, were hostile to the idea of subordinating Iraqi national interests to Britain’s war strategy and requirements. In March 1940, the nationalist Rashid Ali replaced Nuri as-Said. Ali made covert contacts with German representatives in the Middle East, though he was not yet an openly pro-Axis supporter, and al-Husseini’s personal secretary Kemal Hadad acted as a liaison between the Axis powers and these officers. As the European situation for the Allies deteriorated, Husseini advised Iraq to adhere to the letter to their treaty with Great Britain, and avoid being drawn into the war in order to conserve her energies for the liberation of Arab countries. Were Russia, Japan and Italy to side with Germany however, Iraqis should proclaim a revolt in Palestine.
In mid May 1940, despairing of their ability to secure control of Iraq’s oil fields and deny access to Germany, the British turned to the extremist Irgun, approaching one of its commanders, David Raziel, whom they had imprisoned in Mandatory Palestine. They asked him if he would undertake to destroy Iraq’s oil refineries, and thus turn off the spigots to Germany. Raziel agreed on condition he be allowed to “acquire”(kidnap) the Mufti and bring him back to Palestine. The mission plan was changed at the last moment, however, and Raziel died when his plane was shot down by a German fighter.
Al-Husseini used his influence and ties with the Germans to promote Arab nationalism in Iraq. He was among the key promoters of the pan-Arab Al-Muthanna Club, and supported the coup d’état by Rashid Ali in April 1941. The situation of Iraq’s Jews rapidly deteriorated, with extortions and sometimes murders taking place. When the Anglo-Iraqi War broke out, al-Husseini used his influence to issue a fatwa for a holy war against Britain. As the British advanced on the capital, the Farhud pogrom in Baghdad, led by members of the Al-Muthanna Club, which had served as a conduit for German propaganda funding, erupted in June 1941, following the Iraqi defeat and the collapse of Rashid Ali‘s government. The pogrom was rooted in antisemitic incitement during the preceding decade against the backdrop of the conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine.
When the war failed for the Iraqis—given its paucity, German and Italian assistance played a negligible role in the war—al-Husseini escaped to Persia (together with Rashid Ali), where he was granted legation asylum first by Japan, and then by Italy. On 8 October, after the occupation of Persia by the Allies and after the new Persian government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi severed diplomatic relations with the Axis powers, al-Husseini was taken under Italian protection and conveyed through Turkey to Axis Europe in an operation organized by Italian Military Intelligence (Servizio Informazioni Militari, or SIM).
In Nazi-occupied Europe
Al-Husseini arrived in Rome on 10 October 1941. He outlined his proposals before Alberto Ponce de Leon. On condition that the Axis powers ‘recognize in principle the unity, independence, and sovereignty, of an Arab state, including Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Transjordan’, he offered support in the war against Britain and stated his willingness to discuss the issues of ‘the Holy Places, Lebanon, the Suez Canal, and Aqaba‘. The Italian foreign ministry approved al-Husseini’s proposal, recommended giving him a grant of one million lire, and referred him to Benito Mussolini, who met al-Husseini on 27 October. According to al-Husseini’s account, it was an amicable meeting in which Mussolini expressed his hostility to the Jews and Zionism.
Back in the summer of 1940 and again in February 1941, al-Husseini submitted to the Nazi German Government a draft declaration of German-Arab cooperation, containing a clause:
Germany and Italy recognize the right of the Arab countries to solve the question of the Jewish elements, which exist in Palestine and in the other Arab countries, as required by the national and ethnic (völkisch) interests of the Arabs, and as the Jewish question was solved in Germany and Italy.
Encouraged by his meeting with the Italian leader, al-Husseini prepared a draft declaration, affirming the Axis support for the Arabs on 3 November. In three days, the declaration, slightly amended by the Italian foreign ministry, received the formal approval of Mussolini and was forwarded to the German embassy in Rome. On 6 November, al-Husseini arrived in Berlin, where he discussed the text of his declaration with Ernst von Weizsäcker and other German officials. In the final draft, which differed only marginally from al-Husseini’s original proposal, the Axis powers declared their readiness to approve the elimination (Beseitigung) of the Jewish National Home in Palestine.
Haj Amin al-Husseini meeting with Adolf Hitler (December 1941).
On 20 November, al-Husseini met the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and was officially received by Adolf Hitler on 28 November. He asked Adolf Hitler for a public declaration that ‘recognized and sympathized with the Arab struggles for independence and liberation, and that would support the elimination of a national Jewish homeland’. Hitler refused to make such a public announcement, saying that it would strengthen the Gaullists against the Vichy France, but asked al-Husseini ‘to lock …deep in his heart’ the following points, which Christopher Browning summarizes as follows, that
‘Germany has resolved, step by step, to ask one European nation after the other to solve its Jewish problem, and at the proper time, direct a similar appeal to non-European nations as well’. When Germany had defeated Russia and broken through the Caucasus into the Middle East, it would have no further imperial goals of its own and would support Arab liberation… But Hitler did have one goal. “Germany’s objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power”. (Das deutsche Ziel würde dann lediglich die Vernichtung des im arabischen Raum unter der Protektion der britischen Macht lebenden Judentums sein). In short, Jews were not simply to be driven out of the German sphere but would be hunted down and destroyed even beyond it.’
Al-Husseini meeting with Muslim volunteers, including the Legion of Azerbaijan, at the opening of the Islamic Central Institute in Berlin on 18 December 1942, during the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha.
A separate record of the meeting was made by Fritz Grobba, who until recently had been the German ambassor to Iraq. His version of the crucial words reads “when the hour of Arab liberation comes, Germany has no interest there other than the destruction of the power protecting the Jews”. Al-Husseini’s own account of this point, as recorded in his diary, is very similar to Grobba’s. According to Amin’s account, however, when Hitler expounded his view that the Jews were responsible for World War I, Marxism and its revolutions, and this was why the task of Germans was to persevere in a battle without mercy against the Jews, he replied: “We Arabs think that Zionism, not the Jews, is the cause of all of these acts of sabotage.”
In December 1942, al-Husseini held a speech at the celebration of the opening of the Islamic Central Institute (Islamische Zentralinstitut) in Berlin, of which he served as honorary chair. In the speech, he harshly criticised those he considered as aggressors against Muslims, namely “Jews, Bolsheviks and Anglo-Saxons.” At the time of the opening of the Islamic Central Institute, there were an estimated 3,000 Muslims in Germany, including 400 German converts. The Islamic Central Institute gave the Muslims in Germany institutional ties to the ‘Third Reich’.
Al-Husseini and the Holocaust
In post-war historiography some attempts have been made to portray Husseini as an architect of the Holocaust, a thesis revived recently by Schwanitz and Rubin. Documents, such as the testimony of Fritz Grobba,confirm that an associate of al-Husseini’s, together with three associates of former Iraqi Prime Minister certainly did visit the Sachsenhausen concentration camp as part of a German secret police “training course” in July 1942. At the time, the Sachsenhausen camp housed large numbers of Jews, but was only transformed into a death camp in the following year. Their tour through the camp presented it as a re-educational institution, and they were shown the high quality of objects made by inmates, and happy Russian prisoners who, reformed to fight Bolshevism, were paraded, singing, in sprightly new uniforms. They left the camp very favourably impressed by its programme of educational indoctrination.
Various sources have repeatedly alleged that he visited other concentration camps, and also the death camps of Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka and Mauthausen, and according to Höpp there is little conclusive documentary evidence to substantiate these other visits. Although some historians have questioned al-Husseini’s knowledge of the Holocaust while it was in progress, Wolfgang G. Schwanitz notes that in his memoirs Husseini recalled that Heinrich Himmler, in the summer of 1943, while confiding some German war secrets, inveighed against Jewish “war guilt”, and revealed the on-going extermination (in Arabic, abadna) of the Jews.
Gilbert Achcar, referring to this meeting with Himmler, observes:
The Mufti was well aware that the European Jews were being wiped out; he never claimed the contrary. Nor, unlike some of his present-day admirers, did he play the ignoble, perverse, and stupid game of Holocaust denial…. His amour-propre would not allow him to justify himself to the Jews….gloating that the Jews had paid a much higher price than the Germans… he cites… : ‘Their losses in the Second World War represent more than thirty percent of the total number of their people …’. Statements like this, from a man who was well placed to know what the Nazis had done … constitute a powerful argument against Holocaust deniers. Husseini reports that Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler … told him in summer 1943 that the Germans had ‘already exterminated more than three million’ Jews: “I was astonished by this figure, as I had known nothing about the matter until then.” …. Thus. in 1943, Husseini knew about the genocide….
The memoir then continues:-
Himmler asked me on the occasion: ‘How do you propose to settle the Jewish question in your country?’ I replied: ‘All we want from them is that they return to their countries of origin.’ He (Himmler) replied: ‘We shall never authorize their return to Germany.’Laurens 2002, p. 469.
By Husseini’s admission therefore he was informed of the Nazi genocide of the Jews certainly by the summer of 1943. Wolfgang G. Schwanitz doubts the sincerity of his surprise since, he argues, Husseini had publicly declared that Muslims should follow the example Germans set for a “definitive solution to the Jewish problem”.
Subsequently, the Mufti declared in November, 1943:
It is the duty of Muhammadans in general and Arabs in particular to … drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries….Germany is also struggling against the common foe who oppressed Arabs and Muhammadans in their different countries. It has very clearly recognized the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution [endgültige Lösung] for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world. ….
At the Nuremberg trials, one of Adolf Eichmann‘s deputies, Dieter Wisliceny, stated that al-Husseini had actively encouraged the extermination of European Jews, and that he had had an elaborate meeting with Eichmann at his office, during which Eichmann gave him an intensive look at the current state of the “Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe” by the Third Reich. These allegations are controversial. A single affidavit by Rudolf Kastner reported that Wisliceny told him that he had overheard Husseini say he had visited Auschwitz incognito in Eichmann’s company. Eichmann denied this at his trial in Jerusalem in 1961. He had been invited to Palestine in 1937 with his superior Hagen by a representative of the Haganah, Feival Polkes, Polkes supported German foreign policy in the Near East and offered to work for them in intelligence. Eichmann and Hagen spent one night in Haifa but were refused a visa to stay any longer. They met Polkes in Cairo instead. Eichmann stated that he had only been introduced to al-Husseini during an official reception, along with all other department heads. The Jerusalem court accepted Wisliceny’s testimony about a key conversation between Eichmann and the mufti, and found as proven that al-Husseini had aimed to implement the Final Solution. Hannah Arendt, who was present at the trial, concluded in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil the evidence for an Eichmann- al-Husseini connection was based on rumour and unfounded.
Rafael Medoff concludes that ‘actually there is no evidence that the Mufti’s presence was a factor at all; the Wisliceny hearsay is not merely uncorroborated, but conflicts with everything else that is known about the origins of the Final Solution.’ Bernard Lewis also called Wisliceny’s testimony into doubt: ‘There is no independent documentary confirmation of Wisliceny’s statements, and it seems unlikely that the Nazis needed any such additional encouragement from the outside.’ Bettina Stangneth called Wisliceny’s claims “colourful stories” that “carry little weight”.
Al-Husseini’s attempts to block Jewish refugees
The Mufti opposed all immigration of Jews into Palestine. The Mufti’s numerous letters appealing to various governmental authorities to prevent Jewish emigration to Palestine have been widely republished and cited as documentary evidence of his collaboration with Nazis and his participative support for their genocidal actions. For instance, Husseini intervened on 13 May 1943, before the meeting with Himmler when he was informed of the Holocaust, with the German Foreign Office to block possible transfers of Jews from Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, after reports reached him that 4,000 Jewish children accompanied by 500 adults had managed to reach Palestine. He asked that the Foreign Minister “to do his utmost” to block all such proposals and this request was complied with. According to Idith Zertal, none of the documents presented at Eichmann’s trial prove that it was the Mufti’s interference, in these ‘acts of total evil,’ that prevented the children’s rescue. In June 1943 the Mufti recommended to the Hungarian minister that it would be better to send Jews in Hungary to Concentration Camps in Poland rather than let them find asylum in Palestine (it is not entirely clear that the Mufti was aware of the Extermination Camps in Poland, e.g. Auschwitz, at this time). A year later, on 25 July 1944 (when he certainly knew the details about the Nazi program to destroy the Jews) he wrote to the Hungarian foreign minister to register his objection to the release of certificates for 900 Jewish children and 100 adults for transfer from Hungary, fearing they might end up in Palestine. He suggested that if such transfers of population were deemed necessary, then:
I ask your Excellency to permit me to draw your attention to the necessity of preventing the Jews from leaving your country for Palestine, and if there are reasons which make their removal necessary, it would be indispensable and infinitely preferable to send them to other countries where they would find themselves under active control, for example, in Poland, thus avoiding danger and preventing damage.”
Haj Amin al-Husseini and Nazi collaborator Mile Budak in occupied Sarajevo (1943).
Achcar quotes the Mufti’s memoirs about these efforts to influence the Axis powers to prevent emigration of Eastern European Jews to Palestine:
We combatted this enterprise by writing to Ribbentrop, Himmler, and Hitler, and, thereafter, the governments of Italy, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and other countries. We succeeded in foiling this initiative, a circumstance that led the Jews to make terrible accusations against me, in which they held me accountable for the liquidation of four hundred thousand Jews who were unable to emigrate to Palestine in this period. They added that I should be tried as a war criminal in Nurenberg.
In November, 1943 (when he certainly was aware of the genocidal nature of the Nazi Final Solution) the Mufti said:
It is the duty of Muhammadans in general and Arabs in particular to … drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries….Germany is also struggling against the common foe who oppressed Arabs and Muhammadans in their different countries. It has very clearly recognized the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution [endgültige Lösung] for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world. ….
In September 1943, intense negotiations to rescue 500 Jewish children from the Arbe concentration camp collapsed due to the objection of al-Husseini who blocked the children’s departure to Turkey because they would end up in Palestine.
Intervention in Palestine and Operation Atlas
The Mufti collaborated with the Germans in numerous sabotage and commando operations in Iraq, Transjordan, and Palestine, and repeatedly urged the Germans to bomb Tel Aviv and Jerusalem ‘in order to injure Palestinian Jewry and for propaganda purposes in the Arab world’, as his Nazi interlocutors put it. The proposals were rejected as unfeasible. The Italian Fascists envisaged a project to establish him as head of an intelligence centre in North Africa, and he agreed to act as commander of both regular and irregular forces in a future unit flanking Axis troops to carry out sabotage operations behind enemy lines.
Operation ATLAS was one such joint operation. A special commando unit of the Waffen SS was created, composed of three members of the Templer religious sect in Palestine, and two Palestinian Arabs recruited from the Mufti’s associates, Hasan Salama and Abdul Latif (who had edited the Mufti’s Berlin radio addresses). It has been established that the mission, briefed by al-Husseini before departure, aimed at establishing an intelligence-gathering base in Palestine, radioing information back to Germany, and buying support among Arabs in Palestine, recruiting and arming them to foment tensions between Jews and Arabs, disrupting the Mandatory authorities and striking Jewish targets. The plan ended in fiasco: they received a cold reception in Palestine, three of the five infiltrators were quickly rounded up, and the matériel seized. Their air-dropped cargo was found by the British, and consisted of explosives, submachine guns, and dynamite, radio, submachine guns, dynamite, radio equipment, 5,000 Pound sterling, a duplicating machine, a German-Arabic dictionary, and a quantity of poison. Michael Bar-Zohar and Eitan Haber, report that the mission included a plan to poison the Tel Aviv water supply, There is no trace of this poison plot in the standard biographies, Palestinian and Israeli, of Husseini.
Bosniak soldiers of the SS 13 Division, reading Husseini’s pamphletIslam and Judaism
Throughout World War II, al-Husseini worked for the Axis Powers as a broadcaster in propaganda targeting Arab public opinion. He was thereby joined by other Arabs such as Fawzi al-Qawuqji and Hasan Salama. The Mufti was paid “an absolute fortune” of 50,000 marks a month (when a German field marshal was making 25,000 marks a year), the equivalent today of $12,000,000 a year. Walter Winchell called him ‘the Arabian Lord Haw-Haw.’
The Mufti also wrote a pamphlet for the 13th SS Handschar division, translated as Islam i Zidovstvo (Islam and Judaism) which closed with a quotation from Bukhari-Muslim by Abu Khurreira that states:”The Day of Judgement will come, when the Muslims will crush the Jews completely: And when every tree behind which a Jew hides will say: ‘There is a Jew behind me, Kill him!”.
On 1 March 1944, while speaking on Radio Berlin, al-Husseini said: ‘Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.’
Haj Amin el-Husseini reviewing SS 13th Division soldiers from a car
Among the Nazi leadership, the greatest interest in the idea of creating Muslim units under German command was shown by Heinrich Himmer, who viewed the Islamic world as a potential ally against the British Empire and regarded the Nazi-puppet Independent State of Croatia as a ‘ridiculous state’. Himmler had a romantic vision of Islam as a faith ‘fostering fearless soldiers’, and this probably played a significant role in his decision to raise three Muslim divisions under German leadership in the Balkans from Bosnian Muslims and Albanians: the 13th Handschar, the 21st Skanderberg, and the 23rd Kama (Shepherd’s dagger). Riven by interethnic conflict, the region’s Jewish, Croat, Roma, Serb and Muslim communities suffered huge losses of life, Bosnian Muslims losing around 85,000 from a genocidal Chetnik ethnic cleansing operations alone. The Muslims had three options: to join the Croatian Ustaše, or the Yugoslav partisans, or to create local defense units. Following a tradition of service in the old Bosnian regiments of the former Austro-Hungarian army, they chose an alliance with Germany, which promised them autonomy. Husseini, having been petitioned by the Bosnian Muslim leaders, was well informed of their plight. Dissatisfied with low enlistenment, Himmler asked the mufti to intervene. Husseini negotiated, made several requests, mostly ignored by the SS, and conducted several visits to the area. His speeches and charismatic authority proved instrumental in improving enlistment notably. In one speech he declared that:
Those lands suffering under the British and Bolshevist yoke impatiently await the moment when the Axis (powers) will emerge victorious. We must dedicate ourselves to unceasing struggle against Britain -that dungeon of peoples – and to the complete destruction of the British Empire.We must dedicate ourselves to unceasing struggle against Bolshevist Russia because communism is incompatible with Islam.’
One SS officer reporting on impressions from the mufti’s Sarajevo speech said Husseini was reserved about fighting Bolshevism, his main enemies being Jewish settlers in Palestine and the English. During a visit in July 1943 the Mufti said: “The active cooperation of the world’s 400 million Muslims with their loyal friends, the German, can be of decisive influence upon the outcome of the war. You, my Bosnian Muslims, are the first Islamic division [and] serve as an example of the active collaboration….My enemy’s enemy is my friend.”  Himmler in addressing the unit on another occasion declared “Germany [and] the Reich have been friends of Islam for the past two centuries, owing not to expediency but to friendly conviction. We have the same goals.”
In an agreement signed by Husseini and Himmler on May 19, 1943, it was specified that no synthesis of Islam and Nationalism was to take place. Husseini asked that Muslim divisional operations to be restricted to the defense of the Moslem heartland of Bosnia and Herzegovina; that partisans be amnestied if they laid down their arms; that the civilian population not be subject to vexations by troops;that assistance be offered to innocents injured by operations; and that harsh measures like deportations, confiscations of goods, or executions be governed in accordance with the rule of law. The Handschar earned a repute for brutality in ridding north-eastern Bosnia of Serbs and partisans: many local Muslims, observing the violence, were driven to go over to the communist partisans. Once redeployed outside Bosnia, and as the fortunes of war turned, mass defections and desertions took place, and Volksdeutsche were drafted to replace the losses. The mufti blamed the mass desertions on German support for the Četniks. Many Bosnians in these divisions who survived the war sought asylum in Western and Arab countries, and of those settling in the Middle East, many fought in Palestine against the new state of Israel. In 1942, al-Husseini helped organize Arab students and North African emigres in Germany into the “Arabisches Freiheitkorps,” an Arab Legion in the German Army that hunted down Allied parachutists in the Balkans and fought on the Russian front.
Activities after World War II
Arrest and flight
After the end of the Second World War, al-Husseini attempted to obtain asylum in Switzerland but his request was refused. He was taken into custody at Constanz by the French occupying troops on 5 May 1945, and on 19 May, he was transferred to the Paris region and put under house arrest.
At around this time, the British head of Palestine’s Criminal Investigation Division told an American military attaché that the Mufti might be the only person who could unite the Palestinian Arabs and ‘cool off the Zionists’.
Henri Ponsot, a former ambassador of France in Syria, led the discussions with him and had a decisive influence on the events. The French authorities expected an improvement in France’s status in the Arab world through his intermediaries and accorded him “special detention conditions, benefits and ever more important privileges and constantly worried about his well-being and that of his entourage”. In October, he was even given permission to buy a car in the name of one of his secretaries and enjoyed some freedom of movement and could also meet whoever he wanted. Al-Husseini proposed to the French two possibilities of cooperation: ‘either an action in Egypt, Iraq and even Transjordan to calm the anti-French excitement after the events in Syria and because of its domination in North Africa; or that he would take the initiative of provocations in [Palestine], in Egypt and in Iraq against Great Britain’, so that the Arabs countries will pay more attention to British policy than to that of France. Al-Husseini was very satisfied with his situation in France and stayed there for a full year.
As early as 24 May, Great Britain requested al-Husseini’s extradition, arguing that he was a British citizen who had collaborated with the Nazis. Despite the fact that he was on the list of war criminals, France decided to consider him as a political prisoner and refused to comply with the British request. France also refused to extradite him to Yugoslavia where the government wanted to prosecute him for the massacres of Serbs. Poussot believed al-Husseini’s claims that the massacre of Serbs had been performed by General Mikhailovitch and not by him. Al-Husseini also explained that 200,000 Muslims and 40,000 Christians had been assassinated by the Serbs and that he had established a division of soldiers only after Bosnian Muslims had asked for his help, and that Germans and Italians had refused to provide any support to them. In the meantime, Zionist representatives—fearing that al-Husseini would escape—backed Yugoslavia’s request for extradition. They stated that al-Husseini was also responsible for massacres in Greece and pointed out his action against the Allies in Iraq in 1941; additionally they requested the support of the United States in the matter.
The reputation of Haj Amin al-Husseini among Jews in the immediate postwar period is indicated by the observation by Raul Hilberg that when culpability for the destruction of the European Jews was debated in 1945, al-Husseini was the only specific individual singled out to be put on trial. In June, Yishuv leaders decided to eliminate al-Husseini. Although al-Husseini was located by Jewish Army members who began to plan an assassination, the mission was canceled in December by Moshe Sharett or by David Ben-Gurion, probably because they feared turning the Grand Mufti into a martyr.
A campaign of intimidation was launched to convince the mufti that at Léon Blum’s request he would be handed over to the British. In September, the French decided to organize his transfer to an Arab country. Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Yemen were considered and diplomatic contacts were made with their authorities and with the Arab League.
On 29 May, after an influential Moroccan had organized his escape, and the French police had suspended their surveillance, al-Husseini left France on a TWA flight for Cairo using travel papers supplied by a Syrian politician who was close to the Muslim brotherhood. It took more than 12 days for the French Foreign Minister to realize he had fled, and the British were not able to arrest him in Egypt, after that country granted him political asylum.
On 12 August 1947, al-Husseini wrote to French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault, thanking France for its hospitality and suggesting that France continue this policy to increase its prestige in the eyes of all Muslims. In September, a delegation of the Arab Higher Committee went to Paris and proposed that Arabs would adopt a neutral position on the North African question in exchange of France’s support in the Palestinian question.
1948 Palestine war
The U.N. Partition Resolution
When the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine delivered its recommendations for the partition of Palestine, the High Commissioner of Palestine, Alan Cunningham sent emissaries to Cairo to sound out the Mufti, though transferring any power of state to him was unthinkable. Interviewed on the Ist of September, he said that the proposed partition was unjust, since it deprived the Arabs of Palestine of what belonged to them, and would not satisfy in any case the Zionists, who desired all of the country. He cited the example of Chaim Weizmann, who opposed the idea of a Jewish state in 1922, approved partition in 1937, and at the Biltmore Conference in 1942, laid claim to the whole of Palestine. It was said of Hitler, he added, that he would never try to apply the ideas he set forth in Mein Kampf. The Zionists, he asserted, would never restrict their programme to a part of Palestine, for l’appétit vient en mangeant(the more you get the more you want). The English would never have ceded a part of their country in exchange for peace with the Nazis. Zionism was a bluff like Italian fascism, which would collapse at the first shock.
The wartime reputation of Haj Amin al-Husseini was employed as an argument for the establishment of a Jewish State during the deliberations at UN in 1947. The Nation Associates under Freda Kirchwey prepared a nine page pamphlet with annexes for the United Nations entitled The Arab Higher Committee, Its Origins, Personnel and Purposes. This booklet included copies of communications between Haj Amin al-Husseini and high ranking Nazis (e.g. Heinrich Himmler, Franz von Papen, Joseph Goebbels), the Mufti’s diary account of meeting Hitler, several letters to German officials in several countries where he requested that Jews never be permitted to emigrate from Europe to a Jewish Home in Palestine, and many photographs of the Mufti, Rashid Ali, and other Arab politicians in the company of Nazis and their Italian and Japanese allies. It claimed to demonstrate that German Nazis and Palestinian politicians (some of whom were requesting recognition at the UN in 1947 as representatives of the Palestinian Arab population) had made common cause during World War II in their opposition to the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine. In May 1948, the Israeli government thanked Kirchwey for “having a good and honorable share of our success”, at least partly as a consequence of distributing information on al-Husseini to the UN representatives.
On the eve of the United Nations’ partition of Mandatory Palestine, King Abdullah, who shared with Zionists a hostility to Palestinian nationalism, reached a secret entente with Golda Meir to thwart the mufti and annex the part of Palestine in exchange for Jordan’s dropping its opposition to the establishment of a Jewish state. The meeting, in Shlaim’s words, ‘laid the foundations for a partition of Palestine along lines radically different from the ones eventually envisaged by the United Nations’. Husseini’s popularity in the Arab world had risen during his time with the Nazis, and Arab leaders rushed to greet him on his return, and the masses accorded him an enthusiastic reception, an attitude which was to change rapidly after the defeat of 1948, when he was singled out as a scapegoat to blame for the failure.
From his Egyptian exile, al-Husseini used what influence he had to encourage the participation of the Egyptian military in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. He was involved in some high level negotiations between Arab leaders—before and during the War—at a meeting held in Damascus in February 1948, to organize Palestinian Field Commands and the commanders of the Holy War Army. Hasan Salama and Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni (Amin al-Husseini’s nephew), were allocated the Lydda district and Jerusalem respectively. This decision paved the way for undermining the Mufti’s position among the Arab States. On 9 February 1948, four days after the Damascus meeting, he suffered a severe setback at the Arab League‘s Cairo session, when his demands for more Palestinian self-determination in areas evacuated by the British, and for financial loans were rejected. His demands included, the appointment of a Palestinian Arab representative to the League’s General Staff, the formation of a Palestinian Provisional Government, the transfer of authority to local National Committees in areas evacuated by the British, and both a loan for Palestinian administration and an appropriation of large sums to the Arab Higher Executive for Palestinian Arabs entitled to war damages.
The Arab League blocked recruitment to al-Husseini’s forces, and they collapsed following the death of one of his most charismatic commanders, Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, on 8 April 1948.
Anwar Nusseibeh, a supporter of the Mufti, said the Mufti refused to issue arms to anyone except his loyal supporters and only recruited loyal supporters for the forces of the Holy War Army. This partially accounts for the absence of an organized Arab force and for the insufficient amount of arms, which plagued the Arab defenders of Jerusalem.
Establishment of All-Palestine Government
Following rumors that King Abdullah I of Transjordan was reopening the bilateral negotiations with Israel that he had previously conducted clandestinely with the Jewish Agency, the Arab League—led by Egypt—decided to set up the All-Palestine Government in Gaza on 8 September 1948, under the nominal leadership of al-Husseini. Avi Shlaim writes:
‘The decision to form the Government of All-Palestine in Gaza, and the feeble attempt to create armed forces under its control, furnished the members of the Arab League with the means of divesting themselves of direct responsibility for the prosecution of the war and of withdrawing their armies from Palestine with some protection against popular outcry. Whatever the long-term future of the Arab government of Palestine, its immediate purpose, as conceived by its Egyptian sponsors, was to provide a focal point of opposition to Abdullah and serve as an instrument for frustrating his ambition to federate the Arab regions with Transjordan’.
The All-Palestine Government was declared in Gaza on 22 September, in a way as a countermeasure against Jordan. According to Moshe Ma’oz this was “a mere tool to justify Cairo’s occupation of the Gaza Strip”  Pre-conference by the Arab League obtained an agreement to have Ahmad Hilma Pasha preside over the government, while giving al-Husseini a nominal role, devoid of responsibilities. A Palestinian National Council was convened in Gaza on 30 September 1948, under the chairmanship of Amin al-Husseini. On 30 September, al-Husseini was elected unanimously as President, but had no authority outside the areas controlled by Egypt. The council passed a series of resolutions culminating on 1 October 1948 with a declaration of independence over the whole of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital.
The All-Palestine Government was hence born under the nominal leadership of Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, named as its President. Ahmed Hilmi Abd al-Baqi was named Prime Minister. Hilmi’s cabinet consisted largely of relatives and followers of Amin al-Husseini, but also included representatives of other factions of the Palestinian ruling class. Jamal al-Husayni became foreign minister, Raja al-Husayni became defense minister, Michael Abcarius was finance minister, and Anwar Nusseibeh was secretary of the cabinet. Twelve ministers in all, living in different Arab countries, headed for Gaza to take up their new positions. The decision to set up the All-Palestine Government made the Arab Higher Committee irrelevant, but Amin al-Husseini continued to exercise an influence in Palestinian affairs.
Jordan’s Abdullah retaliated on 2 October by organizing a Palestinian congress, which countermanded the decision taken in Gaza. Abdullah regarded the attempt to revive al-Husseini’s Holy War Army as a challenge to his authority and on 3 October, his minister of defense ordered all armed bodies operating in the areas controlled by the Arab Legion to be disbanded. Glubb Pasha carried out the order ruthlessly and efficiently. Nonetheless, Egypt, which manipulated its formation, recognized the All-Palestine Government on 12 October, followed by Syria and Lebanon on 13 October, Saudi Arabia the 14th and Yemen on the 16th. Iraq’s decision to the same was made formally on the 12th, but was not made public. Both Great Britain and the US backed Jordan, the US saying that the mufti’s role in World War II could be neither forgotten nor pardoned. The sum effect was that:
‘The leadership of al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni and the Arab Higher Committee, which had dominated the Palestinian political scene since the 1920s, was devastated by the disaster of 1948 and discredited by its failure to prevent it.’
The nakba narratives, according to Hillel Cohen, tend to ignore the open resistance to al-Husseini by many influential Palestinians. A member of the Darwish family on expressing dissent with Husseini’s war objective in favour of negotiation was told by the mufti: idha takalam al-seif, uskut ya kalam—’when the sword talks, there is no place for talking’. Many recalled his policy of assassinating mukhtars in the Revolt of 1936–39 and viewed Husseini and his kind as ‘an assembly of traitors’. The opposition of a relevant percentage of the Palestinian society to al-Husseini goes back to an earlier period and was also connected to the British way of dealing with the local majority: ‘The present administration of Palestine’, lamented for example the representatives of the Palestine Arab Delegation in a letter to British public opinion in 1930, ‘is appointed by His Majesty’s Government and governs the country through an autocratic system in which the population has no say’.
Exile from Palestine
Although al-Husseini had been removed from the Supreme Muslim Council and other administrative roles by the British government in 1937, they did not remove him from the post of mufti of Jerusalem. They later explained this as due to the lack of legal procedure or precedent. However, on December 20, 1948, Abdullah announced his replacement as mufti by his long-term rival Husam Al-din Jarallah.
The king was assassinated on 20 July 1951, on the eve of projected secret talks with Israel, by a militant, Mustafa Ashu, of the jihad al-muqaddas, while entering the Haram ash-Sharif to pray. There is no evidence al-Husseini was involved, though Musa al-Husayni was among the six indicted and executed after a disputed verdict. Abdullah was succeeded by King Talal—who refused to allow al-Husseini entry into Jerusalem. Abdullah’s grandson, Hussein, who had been present at the murder, eventually lifted the ban in 1967, receiving al-Husseini as an honoured guest in his Jerusalem royal residence after uprooting the PLO from Jordan.
The Palestinian Government was entirely relocated to Cairo in late October 1948 and became a government-in-exile, gradually losing any importance. Having a part in the All-Palestine Government, al-Husseini also remained in exile at Heliopolis in Egypt throughout much of the 1950s. As before 1948, when the Yishuv believed the ex-Mufti’s hand could be detected ‘behind every anti-Jewish pogrom, murder, and act of sabotage’, Israel persisted in asserting that al-Husseini was behind many border raids from Jordanian and Egyptian-held territory, and Egypt expressed a readiness to deport him if evidence were forthcoming to substantiate the charges. The All-Palestine Government was eventually dissolved in 1959 by Nasser himself, who envisaged a United Arab Republicembracing Syria, Egypt and Palestine. That year he moved to Lebanon. He refused requests to lend his support to the emergent PLO after the Six Day War of 1967, was opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state on the west Bank after 1967. and his closest collaborator, Emil Ghuri, continued to work for the Jordanian monarchy even after the massacre of Palestinians there in 1970.
Al-Husseini died in Beirut, on 4 July 1974. He had wished to be buried on the Haram ash-Sharif in Jerusalem. However, Israel had captured East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. The Supreme Muslim Council asked the Israeli government permission to bury him there but permission was refused. Three days later, al-Husseini was buried in Beirut. Within two years, the Christian Lebanese Phalange sacked his villa, and stole his files and archives. His granddaughter married Ali Hassan Salameh, the founder of PLO’sBlack September, who was later killed by Mossad for his involvement in the Munich massacre. According to Zvi Elpeleg, almost all trace of his memory thereafter vanished from Palestinian awareness, and Palestinians have raised no monument to his memory, or written books commemorating his deeds.
Amin al-Husseini and antisemitism
Al-Husseini’s first biographer, Moshe Pearlman, described him as virulently antisemitic, as did, a decade and a half later, Joseph Schechtman. More recent biographers like Mattar and Elpeleg, writing in the late 1980s and early 1990s, began to emphasize hisnationalism. While the Palestinian historian Mattar blames him as the main culprit of sowing the seeds of the Arab–Israeli conflict, Israeli historian Elpeleg compares him to Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, and even to Theodor Herzl. Peter Wien judges that his behaviour in World War II deserved the image among Zionists of him as an ‘arch villain’, but adds that Israeli and Zionist leaders have long since used this to denigrate the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation as inspired by Nazism and anti-semitism.
Scholarly opinion is divided on the issue, with many scholars viewing him as a staunch antisemite while some deny the appropriateness of the term, or argue that he became antisemitic. Robert Kiely sees Husseini as moving “incrementally toward anti-Semitism as he opposed Jewish ambitions in the region.” Historian Zvi Elpeleg, who formerly governed both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while rehabilitating him from other charges, concludes his chapter concerning al-Husseini’s involvement in the extermination of the Jews as follows:
‘[i]n any case, there is no doubt that Haj Amin’s hatred was not limited to Zionism, but extended to Jews as such. His frequent, close contacts with leaders of the Nazi regime cannot have left Haj Amin any doubt as to the fate which awaited Jews whose emigration was prevented by his efforts. His many comments show that he was not only delighted that Jews were prevented from emigrating to Palestine, but was very pleased by the Nazis’ Final Solution’.
Walter Laqueur, Benny Morris, Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers are among the historians who share the view that al-Husseini was biased against Jews, not just against Zionists. Morris, for instance, notes that al-Husseini saw the Holocaust as German revenge for a putative Jewish sabotaging of their war effort in World War I, and has written that “Haj Amin al-Husseini was an antisemite. This is clear from his writings. I am not saying he was just an anti-Zionist, he hated the Jews, ‘Jews were evil'”.In a study dedicated to the role and use of the Holocaust in Israeli nationalist discourse, Idith Zertal reexamining al-Husseini’s antisemitism, states that ‘in more correct proportions, [he should be pictured] as a fanatic nationalist-religious Palestinian leader’.
Evaluations of Husseini’s historical significance
Robert Fisk, discussing the difficulties of describing al-Husseini’s life and its motivations, summarized the problem in the following way:
‘(M)erely to discuss his life is to be caught up in the Arab–Israeli propaganda war. To make an impartial assessment of the man’s career—or, for that matter, an unbiased history of the Arab–Israeli dispute—is like trying to ride two bicycles at the same time.’
Peter Novick has argued that the post-war historiographical depiction of al-Husseini reflected complex geopolitical interests that distorted the record.
‘The claims of Palestinian complicity in the murder of the European Jews were to some extent a defensive strategy, a preemptive response to the Palestinian complaint that if Israel was recompensed for the Holocaust, it was unjust that Palestinian Muslims should pick up the bill for the crimes of European Christians. The assertion that Palestinians were complicit in the Holocaust was mostly based on the case of the Mufti of Jerusalem, a pre-World War II Palestinian nationalist leader who, to escape imprisonment by the British, sought refuge during the war in Germany. The Mufti was in many ways a disreputable character, but post-war claims that he played any significant part in the Holocaust have never been sustained. This did not prevent the editors of the four-volume Encyclopedia of the Holocaust from giving him a starring role. The article on the Mufti is more than twice as long as the articles on Goebbels and Göring, longer than the articles on Himmler and Heydrich combined, longer than the article on Eichmann—of all the biographical articles, it is exceeded in length, but only slightly, by the entry for Hitler.’
In 2014 Schwanitz and Rubin claimed Husseini exercised a huge influence on Hitler and was indeed the architect of the Final Solution, a thesis Mikics, who regards Husseini as a ‘radical anti-semite, finds both ‘astonishing’ and ‘silly’, since it would logically entail the collateral thesis that the Zionist movement triggered the Holocaust.
Gilbert Achcar sums up al-Husseini’s significance:
“One must note in passing that Amin al-Husseini’s memoirs are an antidote against Holocaust denial: He knew that the genocide took place and boasted of having been perfectly aware of it from 1943 on. I believe he is an architect of the Nakba (the defeat of 1948 and the departure of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who had been driven out of their lands) in the sense that he bears a share of responsibility for what has happened to the Palestinian people.”
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Story 3: The Hostile Takeover Of The Internet by Obama — More Taxes, More Regulation, More Control of Freedom of Speech, More Government Intervention into Business — Abolish The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — Do Not Mess With The Internet — Videos
Sen Ted Cruz (RTX) Warns Of “Obamacare For The Internet” – Net Neutrality – America’s Newsroom
Coming Soon: The Department of the Internet
The Negative Consequences of Net Neutrality Explained in 2 Minutes
Net Neutrality Neuters the Internet
The Truth About Net Neutrality
Advocates say that Net Neutrality means guaranteeing free speech on the Internet. Without it, big telecoms could control what you see and how you see it. But what is the truth about Net Neutrality?
2:00 – Brief Technical Introduction
9:20 – Major Concerns
14:53 – Monopoly History
35:57 – ISP Foul Play
48:05 – Event Timeline
1:02:08 – FCC Corruption
1:09:36 – Conclusions
Blackburn to Continue Fight Against FCC Net Neutrality in 114th Congress
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Judge Napolitano: Orwellian ‘Net Neutrality’ Anything But Neutral
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Net Neutrality: What’s the Libertarian Position?
 Henderson: ‘Net Neutrality won’t work’; Ebeling: ‘The Fed distorts resource allocation’
Obama’s Net Neutrality Plan: Techno Control Grid
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NET NEUTRALITY: Blackburn Discusses on Glenn Beck Program
The Fallacy of Net Neutrality: Thomas Hazlett on the FCC & Consumer Protection
“I’m very confident a hundred years from now we won’t have an FCC,” says Thomas Hazlett, Reason contributor and George Mason economics professor.
Internet service providers are coming under scrutiny from both the FCC and net neutrality supporters who want to ensure unrestricted consumer access to the Web. However, Hazlett points out that the fear over ISPs limiting Web content is unfounded and government “has no idea what the optimal business model is” to effectively regulate.
Hazlett sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to discuss net neutrality, the Internet, and and his Encounters Broadside book “The Fallacy of Net Neutrality.”
Hank vs. Hank: The Net Neutrality Debate in 3 Minutes
On Net Neutrality, Time to Regulate the Regulators
by THE EDITORS
The Federal Communications Commission’s decision to effectively convert broadband Internet providers into regulated utility companies, stifling both technological innovation and consumer choice, is the latest example of the footrace dynamic that will dominate national domestic politics from now until January 2016: The Obama administration — or one of its purportedly independent enablers in the FCC and other federal agencies — announces sweeping and unilateral regulatory change, and the Republican-controlled legislative branch hustles to outmaneuver it. Given the respective timelines involved in executive fiat and lawmaking, the administration will almost always have a head start — but that should not stop Congress from catching up as quickly as possible.
At issue here is the question of “net neutrality,” an increasingly elastic term describing how an Internet service provider (ISP) treats any given packet of data moving through its network. On one side of the ideological divide, partisans of “neutrality” insist that every packet be treated in precisely the same way as every other packet, that none be given priority. On the other side is reality, in which the bandwidth demands of sending an e-mail from a home computer are different from those of streaming live video to a wireless device. That Netflix, for example, should be permitted to pay an Internet service provider to fast-lane its videos is, for the ideological neutralists, the first step toward another one of those science-fiction corporate dystopias that the anti-capitalists keep promising us, in this case one in which every Internet service provider becomes a “walled garden” in which consumers are hostage to the self-interested caprices of their ISPs, and therefore customers of an ISP that has an arrangement with Facebook might be relegated to pokey service when trying to use Instagram — or be blocked entirely from accessing certain Facebook competitors.
Internet users will notice that that hasn’t happened, and hasn’t shown any likelihood of happening, despite the absence of FCC regulations forbidding it. Even in the settings that most resemble “walled gardens” — for example, in-flight Internet services that do allow providers to enjoy absolute monopoly, for the duration of the flight at least — the trend has been in the opposite direction: When consumers made it clear that they were annoyed by Gogo’s unwillingness to support YouTube and streaming-video services, new products (notably services provided by the airlines themselves) came into the market to meet consumers’ demand for being able to while away that ORD–JFK segment watching funny cat videos.
The FCC’s move, then, is a typical federal regulatory enterprise: a non-solution to a non-problem.
While mainly motivated by a naïve ideological enthusiasm, net-neutrality activists fear, not without some reason, that the dominant operating model for ISPs will be something like that of cable-television providers. (Indeed, many cable-television providers are ISPs.) Specifically, they fear that ISPs will come to resemble cable companies circa 2010. The irony there is that it is the Internet itself — without any enabling regulation from the FCC — that has provided the beginnings of a solution to the problem of the general awfulness of the American cable company, with gleeful “cord-cutters” replacing their cable services with AppleTV, Hulu, and the like.
Neutrality as an operating principle has largely prevailed among ISPs in the absence of a federal mandate largely because consumers like it that way. But consumers may not always like it that way: For example, those who want faster service for downloading movies at the moment are largely restricted to paying for faster service across the board rather than paying for faster service when they want faster service — imagine the FAA’s insisting that if customers want to fly first-class on one trip, they have to fly first-class all the time. The FCC’s new rules are not aimed at preserving the effective neutrality that prevails today — they are ideologically informed measures aimed at preventing innovations in the marketplace that consumers might prefer to the current model.
To accomplish this, the FCC is reclassifying broadband providers as “telecommunication services” under Title II of the Communications Act . . . of 1934. The FCC’s recourse to a law passed during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt should give us all an idea about the sort of cutting-edge thinking that is at work here.
There is much that is unnecessary in these rules. For example, the regulation against blocking access to lawful websites addresses a situation that is largely unknown. (Some providers that serve customers of businesses open to the public do block pornographic sites, which does not seem unreasonable.) Likewise, the call for greater transparency in protocols speaks to a desirable end, though one that is hardly crying out for federal intervention.
On the other hand, the ban on creating “fast lanes” for services that would benefit from them forecloses what might be a fruitful avenue of innovation. More worrisome still is the vast, open-ended powers that federal regulators have granted themselves: The FCC has — with no congressional mandate — just given itself a mandate to forbid anything that it believes to be other than “reasonable,” or anything it judges will “harm consumers or edge providers.” (“Edge providers” essentially means those who create or distribute content.) And, of course, there is cronyism: As Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune reports, Internet-based pay-television services of the sort being contemplated by Sony (and possibly by Apple) would be specifically exempt from the fast-lane rules.
As an Internet-based concern, National Review Online has a strong preference for an open, rambling, largely unregulated Internet. We believe that intense FCC oversight is as likely to undermine those freewheeling ways and “permissionless innovation” as to preserve them — look at any other industry in which the FCC stands athwart commerce. There are measures that can and should be taken to increase competition among ISPs, and, as Julian Sanchez of Cato points out, in the event of truly cumbrous and destructive collusions between ISPs and content providers, then the prudent response would be case-by-case intervention carried out by the Federal Trade Commission rather than preemptive blanket regulation by the FCC. It takes a certain kind of crackedness to believe that “free and open” and “under heavy federal regulation” are synonymous.
Congress has the authority to legally limit the FCC’s ambitions in this matter, and it should do so, even though such efforts would probably run into an Obama veto. That’s a fight worth having. It is high time to regulate the regulators and remind the bureaucrats who in this republic is in fact empowered to make law. Likewise, Jason Chaffetz’s initiation of an Oversight Committee investigation into whether the White House improperly colluded with the FCC in formulating these new rules is to be encouraged — if only for the potential amusement in learning whether improper collusion was instrumental in this crusade against improper collusion.
Far from being dysfunctional, the Internet is one of the critical aspects of life in these United States, one that is brilliantly functional and wonderfully innovative in no small part because of the laissez-faire approach that government has historically taken toward it. Why anybody would want to make it more like a utility company is a mystery — unless one appreciates that, for those suffering from a certain progressive inclination, federal regulation is thought to be desirable in and of itself, and that the freewheeling ways of the Internet are a standing rebuke to those who would regiment and regulate practically every aspect of life.
Republican lawmakers investigate White House net neutrality push
Congressional Republicans are demanding to know how much the White House influenced the Federal Communications Commission while the agency crafted net neutrality rules.
The FCC has until Monday afternoon to produce unredacted email messages, focused on net neutrality rules, between FCC staff and officials with the Obama administration, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz said in a letter to the FCC Friday. The Utah Republican is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Chaffetz’s committee is “investigating the potential involvement of the White House” in the creation of proposed net neutrality rules that the FCC is scheduled to vote on next Thursday, he said in the letter. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will propose regulations that would reclassify broadband as a regulated telecommunications service instead of a lightly regulated information service.
An FCC spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for a comment on Chaffetz’s letter.
Several congressional Republicans have accused the White House of improperly influencing the FCC net-neutrality rule-making process, after Obama called on the agency to reclassify broadband as a regulated public utility in November. Wheeler appeared to change his position and embrace that idea after the president urged the independent agency to do so, critics have said.
But U.S. presidential administrations have repeatedly weighed in on FCC proceedings during the past 30-plus years, net neutrality advocate Public Knowledge has noted.
Chaffetz’s letter to the FCC came just two days after Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told Wheeler they were expanding an investigation into agency rule-making processes.
The Energy and Commerce Committee’s probe covers a wide range of FCC process concerns beyond net neutrality, but new reports detailing White House contact with the FCC on net neutrality raise “additional concerns about whether the commission is managing its affairs with the independence and openness required by its mandate,” committee leaders said in a Wednesday letter to Wheeler.
Republican concerns about Obama administration influence over the FCC were fueled by a Feb. 4 Wall Street Journal report saying the White House last year had set up a “parallel version of the FCC” to push for regulation of broadband providers.
Chaffetz’s letter asks for specific email messages sent by Obama administration officials to the FCC in April. On Friday, Vice.com published an exchange between administration officials and FCC staff that the website obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
GOP, tech industry mostly out of step over net neutrality issue
By NOAH BIERMAN AND EVAN HALPER contact the reporters Politics and Government U.S. Congress Federal Communications Commission John Thune Ted Cruz Rand Paul
- Silicon Valley executives and activists are increasingly irritated by the feeling the GOP is not on their side
- GOP lawmakers argue that FCC net neutrality proposal amounts to a government takeover of the Web
- GOP lawmakers in Congress are unified in opposition to the administration approach on net neutrality
Thee intensifying debate over how to keep the Internet open and ripe for innovation has heightened tensions between Republican congressional leaders and tech entrepreneurs they have been trying to woo.
As tech firms and cable companies prepare for a fight that each says will shape the future of the Internet, Silicon Valley executives and activists are growing increasingly irritated by the feeling that the GOP is not on their side.
Republican leaders have struggled to explain to their nascent allies in the Bay Area why they are working so hard to undermine a plan endorsed by the Obama administration to keep a level playing field in Internet innovation, enforcing what the administration and its allies call “net neutrality.”
FCC chief seeks to treat Web as public utility in net neutrality fight
Arguments from the GOP that the plan amounts to a government takeover of the Web — “Obamacare for the Internet,” as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called it — are falling flat with many tech innovators.
“This is one of the most prominent moments in Internet freedom,” said Julie Samuels, executive director of Engine, a nonpartisan advocacy group that brings policymakers together with tech start-ups. “I don’t think any party can afford to be on the wrong side of this conversation.”
But Republicans, she said, are on the wrong side.
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote this month to adopt the net neutrality plan proposed last week by the panel’s chairman, Tom Wheeler. The plan would regulate Internet service providers, such as Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc., as public utilities and would ban them from offering high-speed lanes to companies that pay more.
Republicans have promised to push legislation to overturn any such move, but most high-tech companies support it.
The fight comes at a time when Republicans had been making gains in Silicon Valley, a constituency of well-heeled donors and coveted millennial-generation voters who have generally been loyal to Democrats.
Prominent Republicans, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), have taken members of Congress on listening tours of tech companies. Tech money has begun flowing into GOP campaign accounts. Presidential hopefuls, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have made an aggressive case that the GOP better understands the values of privacy and freedom in the digital world.
GOP leaders had hoped to build on those gains at an event in Washington called Reboot Congress, which started Wednesday evening, where top Republican lawmakers plan to join Silicon Valley business leaders to discuss the future of the Internet.
Republicans have hoped to seize on recent Democratic policy moves that riled tech companies, including a push for strict anti-piracy rules and the Obama administration’s continued backing of National Security Agency surveillance of Internet users.
The FCC makes a breakthrough on net neutrality–but the battle isn’t over
But the hot issue in Silicon Valley now is net neutrality. And on that issue, the GOP and the tech industry are mostly out of step.
Republicans argue that intervention by a big government agency is the wrong approach to leveling the playing field for companies that depend on the Internet. That’s especially true now, as conservatives accuse Obama of a broad pattern of regulatory overreach in healthcare, the environment and immigration.
“As is often the case in Washington, those who want more power create the specter of a false threat that is not occurring in the marketplace today,” Cruz said in an interview in which he warned that new regulations could lead to new taxes and put a chill on innovation. “The power of regulation is like a camel’s nose under the tent,” he said.
In Congress, GOP lawmakers are unified in opposition to the administration approach.
That includes tech-savvy California Republicans such as Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), who warns that the administration approach “will result in over-regulation and years of fruitless litigation.” McCarthy joined his House leadership colleagues in warning regulators that imposing net neutrality rules would “deter investment and stifle one of the brightest spots in our economy.”
Many Internet entrepreneurs disagree.
“The argument is a red herring,” said Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which fights alongside GOP lawmakers on privacy and surveillance issues but is helping lead the attack against them on net neutrality.
“Nobody is talking about wanting the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet. That would be terrible,” McSherry said. “All they would be doing is putting in rules of the road for broadband providers.”
Republicans, she said, are essentially helping big corporations squeeze out innovation. “Politically, this is a real mistake,” she said.
It is unclear to what extent the issue will overshadow other Silicon Valley priorities. But it is certainly making the GOP a tougher sell.
“It is close to a litmus test,” said Paul Sieminski, a Republican who is the general counsel to Automattic, the company that operates Web-making tool WordPress.com.
“It’s such a fundamental issue for the Internet,” said Sieminski, who has been active in fighting for net neutrality. “I guess it is a proxy on where a candidate may stand on a lot of issues related to the Internet.”
The fight goes beyond wealthy entrepreneurs making or seeking their fortunes in start-up companies. Silicon Valley is adept at mobilizing consumers eager to protect what they see as a core value of the digital age.
The FCC received nearly 4 million comments on the net neutrality rules — most urging them to enforce stricter regulations — before Wheeler announced his proposal last week.
Groups such as Fight for the Future, whose donors include technology companies, said they have helped initiate tens of thousands of calls from their members to regulators and lawmakers using technology that bypasses switchboards.
Polls also showed overwhelming support for the concept that big carriers such as Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast should not be allowed to charge more to companies that want a fast lane.
That may have propelled a shift among some Republicans, who once questioned the need for any new regulations.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is proposing a bill that would let Congress, rather than regulators, set the terms for net neutrality. In establishing the concept, however, the measure also would take away the FCC’s authority to make any new regulations in the fast-changing broadband marketplace.
Thune and others frame their disagreement with Obama and federal regulators as one over process, asserting that Congress would better protect openness on the Internet yet avoid burdensome regulations.
“I worry that online innovators will be subject to the Mother-may-I system in which startups have to hire regulatory lawyers before they hire engineers,” Thune said Wednesday night as the Reboot conference began at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Washington.
Silicon Valley activists are unimpressed. They don’t trust the GOP-controlled Congress on this issue.
“They’re cynical attempts,” Evan Greer, campaign manager for Fight for the Future, said of the legislative proposals, “last-ditch efforts by cable lobbyists who know they’ve been beat in the court of public opinion.”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Net neutrality (also network neutrality, Internet neutrality, or net equality) is the principle that Internet service providersand governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003 as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier.
There has been extensive debate about whether net neutrality should be required by law, particularly in the United States. Debate over the issue of net neutrality predates the coining of the term. Advocates of net neutrality such as Lawrence Lessighave raised concerns about the ability of broadband providers to use their last mile infrastructure to block Internet applications and content (e.g. websites, services, and protocols), and even to block out competitors
Neutrality proponents claim that telecom companies seek to impose a tiered service model in order to control the pipeline and thereby remove competition, create artificial scarcity, and oblige subscribers to buy their otherwise uncompetitive services . Many believe net neutrality to be primarily important as a preservation of current freedoms. Prominent supporters of net neutrality include Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet Protocol, and Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Web.
Examples of net neutrality violations include when the internet service provider Comcast intentionally slowed peer-to-peercommunications. In 2007, one other company was using deep packet inspection to discriminate against peer-to-peer, file transfer protocol, and online games, instituting a cell-phone style billing system of overages, free-to-telecom value added services, and bundling. Critics of net neutrality argue that data discrimination is desirable for reasons like guaranteeingquality of service. Bob Kahn, co-inventor of the Internet Protocol, called the term net neutrality a slogan and opposes establishing it, but he admits that he is against the fragmentation of the net whenever this becomes excluding to other participants. On 31 January 2015, AP News reported the FCC will present the notion of applying (“with some caveats”) Title II (common carrier) of the Communications Act of 1934 to the internet in a vote expected on 26 February 2015.Adoption of this notion would reclassify internet service from one of information to one of telecommunications and, according to Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, ensure net neutrality. The Obama administration said that it would not let the public see its 332 page net neutrality plan until after the FCC voted on its implementation.
Network neutrality is the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. According to Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu, the best way to explain network neutrality is as a principle to be used when designing a network: that a public information network will end up being most useful if all content, sites, and platforms are treated equally. A more detailed proposed definition of technical and service network neutrality suggests that service network neutrality is the adherence to the paradigm that operation of a service at a certain layer is not influenced by any data other than the data interpreted at that layer, and in accordance with the protocol specification for that layer.
The idea of an open Internet is the idea that the full resources of the Internet and means to operate on it are easily accessible to all individuals and companies. This often includes ideas such as net neutrality, open standards, transparency, lack of Internet censorship, and low barriers to entry. The concept of the open Internet is sometimes expressed as an expectation of decentralized technological power, and is seen by some as closely related to open-source software.
Proponents often see net neutrality as an important component of an open internet, where policies such as equal treatment of data and open web standards allow those on the Internet to easily communicate and conduct business without interference from a third party. A closed Internet refers to the opposite situation, in which established corporations or governments favor certain uses. A closed Internet may have restricted access to necessary web standards, artificially degradesome services, or explicitly filter out content.
The concept of a dumb network made up of dumb pipes has been around since at least the early 1990s. The idea of a dumb network is that the endpoints of a network are generally where the intelligence lies, and that the network itself generally leaves the management and operation of communication to the end users. In 2013 the software company MetroTech Net, Inc. (MTN) coined the term Dumb Wave which is the modern application of the Dumb Pipe concept to the ubiquitous wireless network. If wireless carriers do not provide unique and value added services, they will be relegated to the dumb pipe category where they can’t charge a premium or retain customers.
The end-to-end principle is a principle of network design, first laid out explicitly in the 1981 conference paper End-to-end arguments in system design by Jerome H. Saltzer, David P. Reed, and David D. Clark. The principle states that, whenever possible, communications protocol operations should be defined to occur at the end-points of a communications system, or as close as possible to the resource being controlled. According to the end-to-end principle, protocol features are only justified in the lower layers of a system if they are a performance optimization, hence, TCP retransmission for reliability is still justified, but efforts to improve TCP reliability should stop after peak performance has been reached. They argued that reliable systems tend to require end-to-end processing to operate correctly, in addition to any processing in the intermediate system. They pointed out that most features in the lowest level of a communications system have costs for all higher-layer clients, even if those clients do not need the features, and are redundant if the clients have to re-implement the features on an end-to-end basis. This leads to the model of a minimal dumb network with smart terminals, a completely different model from the previous paradigm of the smart network with dumb terminals. Because the end-to-end principle is one of the central design principles of the Internet, and because the practical means for implementing data discrimination violate the end-to-end principle, the principle often enters discussions about net neutrality. The end-to-end principle is closely related, and sometimes seen as a direct precursor to the principle of net neutrality.
Traffic shaping is the control of computer network traffic in order to optimize or guarantee performance, improve latency, and/or increase usable bandwidth by delaying packets that meet certain criteria. More specifically, traffic shaping is any action on a set of packets (often called a stream or a flow) which imposes additional delay on those packets such that they conform to some predetermined constraint (a contract or traffic profile). Traffic shaping provides a means to control the volume of traffic being sent into a network in a specified period (bandwidth throttling), or the maximum rate at which the traffic is sent (rate limiting), or more complex criteria such as GCRA.
If the core of a network has more bandwidth than is permitted to enter at the edges, then good QoS can be obtained without policing. For example the telephone network employs admission control to limit user demand on the network core by refusing to create a circuit for the requested connection. Over-provisioning is a form of statistical multiplexing that makes liberal estimates of peak user demand. Over-provisioning is used in private networks such as WebEx and the Internet 2 Abilene Network, an American university network. David Isenberg believes that continued over-provisioning will always provide more capacity for less expense than QoS and deep packet inspection technologies.
Discrimination by protocol
Favoring or blocking information based on the communications protocol that the computers are using to communicate.
On 1 August 2008, the FCC formally voted 3-to-2 to uphold a complaint against Comcast, the largest cable company in the United States, ruling that it had illegally inhibited users of its high-speed Internet service from using file-sharing software. FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin said that the order was meant to set a precedent that Internet providers, and indeed all communications companies, could not prevent customers from using their networks the way they see fit unless there is a good reason. In an interview, Martin said, “We are preserving the open character of the Internet”. The legal complaint against Comcast related to BitTorrent, a transfer protocol that is especially apt at distributing large files such as video, music, and software on the Internet. Comcast admitted no wrongdoing in its proposed settlement of up to US$16 dollars per share in December 2009.
Discrimination by IP address
During the early decades of the Internet, creating a non-neutral Internet was technically infeasible. Originally developed to filter malware, the Internet security company NetScreen Technologies released network firewalls in 2003 with so called deep packet inspection. Deep inspection helped make real-time discrimination between different kinds of data possible, and is often used for internet censorship.
In a practice called zero-rating, companies will reimburse data use from certain addresses, favoring use of those services. Examples include Facebook Zero and Google Free Zone, and are especially common in the developing world.
Sometimes ISPs will charge some companies, but not others, for the traffic they cause on the ISP’s network. French telecoms operator Orange, complaining that traffic from YouTube and other Google sites consists of roughly 50% of total traffic on the Orange network, reached a deal with Google, in which they charge Google for the traffic incurred on the Orange network. Some also thought that Orange’s rival ISP Free throttled YouTube traffic. However, an investigation done by the French telecommunications regulatory body revealed that the network was simply congested during peak hours.
Favoring private networks
Favoring communications sent over the private networks run by individual organizations over information sent over the general Internet Protocol. Examples include Comcast’s deal with Xbox.
There is some disagreement about whether peering is a net neutrality issue.
In the first quarter of 2014, streaming website Netflix reached an arrangement with ISP Comcast to improve the quality of its service to Netflix clients. This arrangement was made in response to increasingly slow connection speeds through Comcast over the course of the 2013, where average speeds dropped by over 25% of their values a year before to an all time low. After the deal was struck in January 2014, the Netflix speed index recorded a 66% increase in connection.
Netflix agreed to a similar deal with Verizon in 2014 after Verizon DSL customers connection speed dropped to less than 1 Mbit/s early in the year. Netflix spoke out against this deal with a controversial statement delivered to all Verizon customers experiencing low connection speeds using the Netflix client. This sparked an internal debate between the two companies that led to Verizon obtaining a cease and desist order on June 5, 2014 that forced Netflix to stop displaying this message.
Legal enforcement of net neutrality principles takes a variety of forms, from provisions that outlaw anti-competitive blocking and throttling of Internet services, all the way to legal enforcement that prevents companies from subsidizing Internet use on particular sites.
Arguments for net neutrality
Proponents of net neutrality include consumer advocates, human rights organizations such as Article 19, online companies and some technology companies.Many major Internet application companies are advocates of neutrality. Yahoo!, Vonage, eBay, Amazon, IAC/InterActiveCorp. Microsoft, along with many other companies, have also taken a stance in support of neutrality regulation. Cogent Communications, an international Internet service provider, has made an announcement in favor of certain net neutrality policies. In 2008, Google published a statement speaking out against letting broadband providers abuse their market power to affect access to competing applications or content. They further equated the situation to that of the telephony market, where telephone companies are not allowed to control who their customers call or what those customers are allowed to say. However, Google’s support of net neutrality has recently been called into question.
Individuals who support net neutrality include Tim Berners-Lee, Vinton Cerf, Lawrence Lessig, Robert W. McChesney, Steve Wozniak, Susan P. Crawford, Ben Scott, David Reed, and U.S. President Barack Obama. On November 10, 2014, President Obama recommended the FCC reclassify broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service in order to preserve net neutrality. On November 12, 2014, AT&T stopped build-out of their fiber network until it has “solid net neutrality rules to follow”. On 31 January 2015, AP News reported the FCC will present the notion of applying (“with some caveats”) Title II (common carrier) of the Communications Act of 1934 to the internet in a vote expected on 26 February 2015.
Control of data
Supporters of network neutrality want to designate cable companies as common carriers, which would require them to allow Internet service providers (ISPs) free access to cable lines, the model used for dial-up Internet. They want to ensure that cable companies cannot screen, interrupt or filter Internet content without court order. Common carrier status would give the FCC the power to enforce net neutrality rules.
SaveTheInternet.com accuses cable and telecommunications companies of wanting the role of gatekeepers, being able to control which websites load quickly, load slowly, or don’t load at all. According to SaveTheInternet.com these companies want to charge content providers who require guaranteed speedy data delivery…to create advantages for their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video services – and slowing access or blocking access to those of competitors. Vinton Cerf, a co-inventor of the Internet Protocol and current vice president of Google argues that the Internet was designed without any authorities controlling access to new content or new services. He concludes that the principles responsible for making the Internet such a success would be fundamentally undermined were broadband carriers given the ability to affect what people see and do online.
Digital rights and freedoms
Lawrence Lessig and Robert W. McChesney argue that net neutrality ensures that the Internet remains a free and open technology, fostering democratic communication. Lessig and McChesney go on to argue that the monopolization of the Internet would stifle the diversity of independent news sources and the generation of innovative and novel web content.
User intolerance for slow-loading sites
Users with faster Internet connectivity (e.g., fiber) abandon a slow-loading video at a faster rate than users with slower Internet connectivity (e.g., cable or mobile). A “fast lane” in the Internet can irrevocably decrease the user’s tolerance to the relative slowness of the “slow lane”.
Proponents of net neutrality invoke the human psychological process of adaptation where when people get used to something better, they would not ever want to go back to something worse. In the context of the Internet, the proponents argue that a user who gets used to the “fast lane” on the Internet would find the “slow lane” intolerable in comparison, greatly disadvantaging any provider who is unable to pay for the “fast lane”. Video providers Netflix and Vimeo in their comments to FCC in favor of net neutrality use the research of S.S. Krishnan and Ramesh Sitaraman that provides the first quantitative evidence of adaptation to speed among online video users. Their research studied the patience level of millions of Internet video users who waited for a slow-loading video to start playing. Users who had a faster Internet connectivity, such as fiber-to-the-home, demonstrated less patience and abandoned their videos sooner than similar users with slower Internet connectivity. The results demonstrate how users can get used to faster Internet connectivity, leading to higher expectation of Internet speed, and lower tolerance for any delay that occurs. Author Nicholas Carr and other social commentators have written about the habituation phenomenon by stating that a faster flow of information on the Internet can make people less patient.
Competition and innovation
Net neutrality advocates argue that allowing cable companies the right to demand a toll to guarantee quality or premium delivery would create an exploitative business model based on the ISPs position as gatekeepers. Advocates warn that by charging websites for access, network owners may be able to block competitor Web sites and services, as well as refuse access to those unable to pay. According to Tim Wu, cable companies plan to reserve bandwidth for their own television services, and charge companies a toll for priority service.
Proponents of net neutrality argue that allowing for preferential treatment of Internet traffic, or tiered service, would put newer online companies at a disadvantage and slow innovation in online services. Tim Wu argues that, without network neutrality, the Internet will undergo a transformation from a market ruled by innovation to one ruled by deal-making. SaveTheInternet.com argues that net neutrality puts everyone on equal terms, which helps drive innovation. They claim it is a preservation of the way the internet has always operated, where the quality of websites and services determined whether they succeeded or failed, rather than deals with ISPs. Lawrence Lessig and Robert W. McChesney argue that eliminating net neutrality would lead to the Internet resembling the world of cable TV, so that access to and distribution of content would be managed by a handful of massive companies. These companies would then control what is seen as well as how much it costs to see it. Speedy and secure Internet use for such industries as health care, finance, retailing, and gambling could be subject to large fees charged by these companies. They further explain that a majority of the great innovators in the history of the Internet started with little capital in their garages, inspired by great ideas. This was possible because the protections of net neutrality ensured limited control by owners of the networks, maximal competition in this space, and permitted innovators from outside access to the network. Internet content was guaranteed a free and highly competitive space by the existence of net neutrality.
Preserving Internet standards
Network neutrality advocates have sponsored legislation claiming that authorizing incumbent network providers to override transport and application layer separation on the Internet would signal the decline of fundamental Internet standards and international consensus authority. Further, the legislation asserts that bit-shaping the transport of application data will undermine the transport layer’s designed flexibility.
Alok Bhardwaj argues that any violations to network neutrality, realistically speaking, will not involve genuine investment but rather payoffs for unnecessary and dubious services. He believes that it is unlikely that new investment will be made to lay special networks for particular websites to reach end-users faster. Rather, he believes that non-net neutrality will involve leveraging quality of service to extract remuneration from websites that want to avoid being slowed down.
Some advocates say network neutrality is needed in order to maintain the end-to-end principle. According to Lawrence Lessig and Robert W. McChesney, all content must be treated the same and must move at the same speed in order for net neutrality to be true. They say that it is this simple but brilliant end-to-end aspect that has allowed the Internet to act as a powerful force for economic and social good. Under this principle, a neutral network is a dumb network, merely passing packets regardless of the applications they support. This point of view was expressed by David S. Isenberg in his paper, “The Rise of the Stupid Network”. He states that the vision of an intelligent network is being replaced by a new network philosophy and architecture in which the network is designed for always-on use, not intermittence and scarcity. Rather than intelligence being designed into the network itself, the intelligence would be pushed out to the end-user’s device; and the network would be designed simply to deliver bits without fancy network routing or smart number translation. The data would be in control, telling the network where it should be sent. End-user devices would then be allowed to behave flexibly, as bits would essentially be free and there would be no assumption that the data is of a single data rate or data type.
Contrary to this idea, the research paper titled End-to-end arguments in system design by Saltzer, Reed, and Clark argues that network intelligence doesn’t relieve end systems of the requirement to check inbound data for errors and to rate-limit the sender, nor for a wholesale removal of intelligence from the network core.
Arguments against net neutrality
Opposition includes the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Goldwater Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, and the Ayn Rand Institute. Opponents of net neutrality include hardware companies and members of the cable and telecommunications industries, including major telecommunications providers, such as Comcast and AT&T.
A number of these opponents created a website called Hands Off The Internet (which no longer exists) to promote their arguments against net neutrality. Principal financial support for the website came from AT&T, and members included technology firms and pro-market advocacy group Citizens Against Government Waste.
Network neutrality regulations are opposed by Internet engineers such as professor David Farber and TCP inventor and Qualcomm Director Bob Kahn.Robert Pepper is senior managing director, global advanced technology policy, at Cisco Systems, and is the former FCC chief of policy development. He says: “The supporters of net neutrality regulation believe that more rules are necessary. In their view, without greater regulation, service providers might parcel out bandwidth or services, creating a bifurcated world in which the wealthy enjoy first-class Internet access, while everyone else is left with slow connections and degraded content. That scenario, however, is a false paradigm. Such an all-or-nothing world doesn’t exist today, nor will it exist in the future. Without additional regulation, service providers are likely to continue doing what they are doing. They will continue to offer a variety of broadband service plans at a variety of price points to suit every type of consumer”. Bob Kahn, another computer scientist and Director at Qualcomm, has said net neutrality is a slogan that would freeze innovation in the core of the Internet.
Farber has written and spoken strongly in favor of continued research and development on core Internet protocols. He joined academic colleagues Michael Katz,Christopher Yoo, and Gerald Faulhaber in an op-ed for the Washington Post strongly critical of network neutrality, essentially stating that while the Internet is in need of remodeling, congressional action aimed at protecting the best parts of the current Internet could interfere with efforts to build a replacement.
Financing infrastructure improvements
Some opponents of net neutrality argue that prioritization of bandwidth is necessary for future innovation on the Internet. Telecommunications providers such as telephone and cable companies, and some technology companies that supply networking gear, argue telecom providers should have the ability to provide preferential treatment in the form of tiered services, for example by giving online companies willing to pay the ability to transfer their data packets faster than other Internet traffic. The added revenue from such services could be used to pay for the building of increased broadband access to more consumers.
Conversely, opponents say that net neutrality regulation would make it more difficult for Internet service providers (ISPs) and other network operators to recoup their investments in broadband networks. John Thorne, senior vice president and deputy general counsel of Verizon, a broadband and telecommunications company, has argued that they will have no incentive to make large investments to develop advanced fibre-optic networks if they are prohibited from charging higher preferred access fees to companies that wish to take advantage of the expanded capabilities of such networks. Thorne and other ISPs have accused Google and Skype of freeloading or free riding for using a network of lines and cables the phone company spent billions of dollars to build.
Counterweight to server-side non-neutrality
Those in favor of forms of non-neutral tiered Internet access argue that the Internet is already not a level playing field: large companies achieve a performance advantage over smaller competitors by replicating servers and buying high-bandwidth services. Should prices drop for lower levels of access, or access to only certain protocols, for instance, a change of this type would make Internet usage more neutral, with respect to the needs of those individuals and corporations specifically seeking differentiated tiers of service. Network expert
Richard Bennett has written, “A richly funded Web site, which delivers data faster than its competitors to the front porches of the Internet service providers, wants it delivered the rest of the way on an equal basis. This system, which Google calls broadband neutrality, actually preserves a more fundamental inequality.”
Tim Wu, though a proponent of network neutrality, claims that the current Internet is not neutral, because its implementation of best effort generally favors file transfer and other non-time sensitive traffic over real-time communications.
Prevent overuse of bandwidth
Since the early 1990s, Internet traffic has increased steadily. The arrival of picture-rich websites and MP3s led to a sharp increase in the mid-1990s followed by a subsequent sharp increase since 2003 as video streaming and Peer-to-peer file sharing became more common. In reaction to companies including YouTube, as well as smaller companies starting to offer free video content, using substantial amounts of bandwidth, at least one Internet service provider (ISP), SBC Communications (now AT&T Inc.), has suggested that it should have the right to charge these companies for making their content available over the provider’s network.
Bret Swanson of the Wall Street Journal wrote in 2007 that the popular websites of that time, including YouTube, MySpace, and blogs, were put at risk by net neutrality. He noted that, at the time, YouTube streamed as much data in three months as the world’s radio, cable and broadcast television channels did in one year, 75 petabytes. He argued that networks were not remotely prepared to handle the amount of data required to run these sites. He also argued that net neutrality would prevent broadband networks from being built, which would limit available bandwidth and thus endanger innovation.
One example of these concerns was the series of tubes analogy, which was presented by US senator Ted Stevens on the floor of the US senate in 2006.
Tim Wu, though a proponent of network neutrality, claims that the current Internet is not neutral as its implementation of best effort generally favors file transfer and other non-time-sensitive traffic over real-time communications. Generally, a network which blocks some nodes or services for the customers of the network would normally be expected to be less useful to the customers than one that did not. Therefore, for a network to remain significantly non-neutral requires either that the customers not be concerned about the particular non-neutralities or the customers not have any meaningful choice of providers, otherwise they would presumably switch to another provider with fewer restrictions.
While the network neutrality debate continues, network providers often enter into peering arrangements among themselves. These agreements often stipulate how certain information flows should be treated. In addition, network providers often implement various policies such as blocking of port 25 to prevent insecure systems from serving as spam relays, or other ports commonly used by decentralized music search applications implementing peer-to-peer networking models. They also present terms of service that often include rules about the use of certain applications as part of their contracts with users.
Most consumer Internet providers implement policies like these. The MIT Mantid Port Blocking Measurement Project is a measurement effort to characterize Internet port blocking and potentially discriminatory practices. However, the effect of peering arrangements among network providers are only local to the peers that enter into the arrangements, and cannot affect traffic flow outside their scope.
Jon Peha from Carnegie Mellon University believes it is important to create policies that protect users from harmful traffic discrimination, while allowing beneficial discrimination. Peha discusses the technologies that enable traffic discrimination, examples of different types of discrimination, and potential impacts of regulation.
Quality of service
Internet routers forward packets according to the diverse peering and transport agreements that exist between network operators. Many networks using Internet protocols now employ quality of service (QoS), and Network Service Providers frequently enter into Service Level Agreements with each other embracing some sort of QoS.
There is no single, uniform method of interconnecting networks using IP, and not all networks that use IP are part of the Internet. IPTV networks are isolated from the Internet, and are therefore not covered by network neutrality agreements.
The IP datagram includes a 3-bit wide Precedence field and a larger DiffServ Code Point that are used to request a level of service, consistent with the notion that protocols in a layered architecture offer services through Service Access Points. This field is sometimes ignored, especially if it requests a level of service outside the originating network’s contract with the receiving network. It is commonly used in private networks, especially those including Wi-Fi networks where priority is enforced. While there are several ways of communicating service levels across Internet connections, such as SIP, RSVP, IEEE 802.11e, and MPLS, the most common scheme combines SIP and DSCP. Router manufacturers now sell routers that have logic enabling them to route traffic for various Classes of Service at “wire-speed”.
With the emergence of multimedia, VoIP, IPTV, and other applications that benefit from low latency, various attempts to address the inability of some private networks to limit latency have arisen, including the proposition of offering tiered service levels that would shape Internet transmissions at the network layer based on application type. These efforts are ongoing, and are starting to yield results as wholesale Internet transport providers begin to amend service agreements to include service levels.
Advocates of net neutrality have proposed several methods to implement a net neutral Internet that includes a notion of quality-of-service:
- An approach offered by Tim Berners-Lee allows discrimination between different tiers, while enforcing strict neutrality of data sent at each tier: “If I pay to connect to the Net with a given quality of service, and you pay to connect to the net with the same or higher quality of service, then you and I can communicate across the net, with that quality and quantity of service”. “[We] each pay to connect to the Net, but no one can pay for exclusive access to me.”
- United States lawmakers have introduced bills that would now allow quality of service discrimination for certain services as long as no special fee is charged for higher-quality service.
Alok Bhardwaj has argued that net neutrality preservation through legislation is consistent with implementing quality of service protocols. He argues legislation should ban the charging of fees for any quality of service, which would both allow networks to implement quality of service as well as remove any incentive to abuse net neutrality ideas. He argues that since implementing quality of service doesn’t require any additional costs versus a non-QoS network, there’s no reason implementing quality of service should entail any additional fees. However, the core network hardware needed (with large number of queues, etc.) and the cost of designing and maintaining a QoS network are both much higher than for a non-QoS network.
Broadband Internet access has most often been sold to users based on Excess Information Rate or maximum available bandwidth. If Internet service providers(ISPs) can provide varying levels of service to websites at various prices, this may be a way to manage the costs of unused capacity by selling surplus bandwidth (or “leverage price discrimination to recoup costs of ‘consumer surplus‘”). However, purchasers of connectivity on the basis of Committed Information Rate or guaranteed bandwidth capacity must expect the capacity they purchase in order to meet their communications requirements.
Various studies have sought to provide network providers the necessary formulas for adequately pricing such a tiered service for their customer base. But while network neutrality is primarily focused on protocol based provisioning, most of the pricing models are based on bandwidth restrictions.
Some opponents of net neutrality legislation point to concerns of privacy rights that could come about as a result, how those infringements of privacy can be exploited. While some believe it is hyperbole to suggest that ISPs will just transparently monitor transmitted content, or that ISPs will have to alter their content, there is the concern that ISPs may have profit motives to analyze what their subscribers are viewing, and be able to use such information to their financial advantage. For example, an ISP may be able to essentially replicate the “targeting” that has already been employed by companies like Google. To critics such as David Clark, a senior research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the proper question is “who has the right to observe everything you do”?
Framing of debate
Former Washington Post columnist, and Fox News commentator, Jeffrey Birnbaum, who currently works for the BGR Group (a lobbying firm which is employed byComcast) has called the debate “vague and misleading.”
- Jump up^ Tim Wu (2003). “Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination”. Journal on telecom and high tech law. Retrieved 23 Apr 2014.
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This idea of net neutrality…[Lawrence Lessig] used to call the principle e2e, for end to end
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Story 1: The American People’s Grievance: Barack Obama Is An Islamic Terrorist Denier — Evil or Stupid? — Stupid Is As Stupid Does — Yes, Both –Videos
“Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.” And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit. That’s how they try to radicalize young people. We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists. (Applause.) And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”
~President Barack Obama, February 18, 2015
Forrest Gump (1/10) Best Movie Quote – Life is Like a Box of Chocolates (1994)
Obama schools Right Wing It is not Islamic Terrorism!
Afterburner w/Bill Whittle — Showtime: Evil or Stupid?
Bernard Haykel: How Islamic is the Islamic State?
“To say that IS is outside of the interpretive parameters of Islam is factually incorecct. […] There is no question that these people are drawign inspiration from Islamic texts. And they know these texts better than most Muslims”, Professor Bernard Haykel of Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies responds to an open rejection letter of the IS movement signed by 126 Sunni scholars.
Talking to War and Peace Talk, Professor Haykel also shared insights on the strand of Islamic tradition IS draws on and the reasons why these Sunni critics have been hesistant to condemn IS members as heretics.
The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on November 14, 2014.
The Folly of Bombing the Islamic State
“Bin Laden was very proud that he had only spent 500.000 dollars on the 9/11 attacks. The US in response to those attacks has probably spent 3 trillion dollars. So as a return on investment, Bin Laden has done really well”.
Professor Bernard Haykel of Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies elaborates on the current US-led airstrike-campaign against the Islamic State. He explores how that will be framed by the jihadist Sunni movements Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and argues that these strikes will confirm their narrative of a conspiracy between the West, the Jews and the Shia Muslims. He stresses that “IS is not a Western problem, it is a Middle Eastern problem”. He also argues very strongly against foreign intervention, saying that: “Every time the West has intervened in the Middle East for the last 200 years it has led to a much worse situation both for the people of the region and for the West.”
The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on November 14, 2014.
Prof Haykel on the Islamic State and Al Qaeda
Is a Fractured Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s Future?
Genieve Abdo and Bernard Haykel – “Understanding the Complexities of Sunni — Shi’a Relations”
Who are the Muslim Brotherhood? – Truthloader
U.S. Policy and Islamism after the Arab Spring – Shimon Shamir – Clip from “Reflections on Islamism”
The History of the Muslim Brotherhood in 3 minutes
Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Overview
The American Muslim Brotherhood President – Barack Hussein Obama
The Great Deception New World Order & Muslim Brotherhood
An Alternative for U.S. Policy – Shimon Shamir – Clip from “Reflections on Islamism”
Islamism and Intervention against ISIS — Shimon Shamir – Clip from “Reflections on Islamism”
Reflections on Islamism: From the Muslim Brotherhood to the Islamic State
Obama Behind Muslim Brotherhood Caliphate Conspiracy
Former Muslim Brotherhood member: “Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim Terrorist”
Barack Obama is a Member of the Muslim Brotherhood
Treason Exposed! Obama Used Benghazi Attack to Cover Up Arms Shipments to Muslim Brotherhood
Why doesn’t Obama say “Islamic” terrorism?
While Obama Appeases Islamic Terrorists, Egyptian President Condemns Them! • Kelly File • 1/9/15 •
President Obama Islam Speech Summit Extremism (Full Speech) – We aren’t at war with Islam
Forrest Gump (1/9) Movie CLIP – Peas and Carrots (1994) HD
Remarks by the President in Closing of the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism
South Court Auditorium
4:20 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Everybody, please have a seat.
Well, thank you, Lisa, for the introduction. Lisa is an example of the countless dedicated public servants across our government, a number of who are here today, who are working tirelessly every single day on behalf of the security and safety of the American people. So we very much appreciate her. And thanks to all of you for your attendance and participation in this important summit.
For more than 238 years, the United States of America has not just endured, but we have thrived and surmounted challenges that might have broken a lesser nation. After a terrible civil war, we repaired our union. We weathered a Great Depression, became the world’s most dynamic economy. We fought fascism, liberated Europe. We faced down communism — and won. American communities have been destroyed by earthquakes and tornadoes and fires and floods — and each time we rebuild.
The bombing that killed 168 people could not break Oklahoma City. On 9/11, terrorists tried to bring us to our knees; today a new tower soars above New York City, and America continues to lead throughout the world. After Americans were killed at Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon, it didn’t divide us; we came together as one American family.
In the face of horrific acts of violence — at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, or at a Jewish community center outside Kansas City — we reaffirmed our commitment to pluralism and to freedom, repulsed by the notion that anyone should ever be targeted because of who they are, or what they look like, or how they worship.
Most recently, with the brutal murders in Chapel Hill of three young Muslim Americans, many Muslim Americans are worried and afraid. And I want to be as clear as I can be: As Americans, all faiths and backgrounds, we stand with you in your grief and we offer our love and we offer our support.
My point is this: As Americans, we are strong and we are resilient. And when tragedy strikes, when we take a hit, we pull together, and we draw on what’s best in our character — our optimism, our commitment to each other, our commitment to our values, our respect for one another. We stand up, and we rebuild, and we recover, and we emerge stronger than before. That’s who we are. (Applause.)
And I say all this because we face genuine challenges to our security today, just as we have throughout our history. Challenges to our security are not new. They didn’t happen yesterday or a week ago or a year ago. We’ve always faced challenges. One of those challenges is the terrorist threat from groups like al Qaeda and ISIL. But this isn’t our challenge alone. It’s a challenge for the world. ISIL is terrorizing the people of Syria and Iraq, beheads and burns human beings in unfathomable acts of cruelty. We’ve seen deadly attacks in Ottawa and Sydney and, Paris, and now Copenhagen.
So, in the face of this challenge, we have marshalled the full force of the United States government, and we’re working with allies and partners to dismantle terrorist organizations and protect the American people. Given the complexities of the challenge and the nature of the enemy — which is not a traditional army — this work takes time, and will require vigilance and resilience and perspective. But I’m confident that, just as we have for more than two centuries, we will ultimately prevail.
And part of what gives me that confidence is the overwhelming response of the world community to the savagery of these terrorists — not just revulsion, but a concrete commitment to work together to vanquish these organizations.
At the United Nations in September, I called on the international community to come together and eradicate this scourge of violent extremism. And I want to thank all of you — from across America and around the world — for answering this call. Tomorrow at the State Department, governments and civil society groups from more than 60 countries will focus on the steps that we can take as governments. And I’ll also speak about how our nations have to remain relentless in our fight — our counterterrorism efforts — against groups that are plotting against our counties.
But we are here today because of a very specific challenge — and that’s countering violent extremism, something that is not just a matter of military affairs. By “violent extremism,” we don’t just mean the terrorists who are killing innocent people. We also mean the ideologies, the infrastructure of extremists –the propagandists, the recruiters, the funders who radicalize and recruit or incite people to violence. We all know there is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist, so there’s no way to predict who will become radicalized. Around the world, and here in the United States, inexcusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different faiths, by people of different faiths — which is, of course, a betrayal of all our faiths. It’s not unique to one group, or to one geography, or one period of time.
But we are here at this summit because of the urgent threat from groups like al Qaeda and ISIL. And this week we are focused on prevention — preventing these groups from radicalizing, recruiting or inspiring others to violence in the first place. I’ve called upon governments to come to the United Nations this fall with concrete steps that we can take together. And today, what I want to do is suggest several areas where I believe we can concentrate our efforts.
First, we have to confront squarely and honestly the twisted ideologies that these terrorist groups use to incite people to violence. Leading up to this summit, there’s been a fair amount of debate in the press and among pundits about the words we use to describe and frame this challenge. So I want to be very clear about how I see it.
Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.” And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit. That’s how they try to radicalize young people. We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists. (Applause.) And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam. (Applause.)
Now, just as those of us outside Muslim communities need to reject the terrorist narrative that the West and Islam are in conflict, or modern life and Islam are in conflict, I also believe that Muslim communities have a responsibility as well. Al Qaeda and ISIL do draw, selectively, from the Islamic texts. They do depend upon the misperception around the world that they speak in some fashion for people of the Muslim faith, that Islam is somehow inherently violent, that there is some sort of clash of civilizations.
Of course, the terrorists do not speak for over a billion Muslims who reject their hateful ideology. They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism. No religion is responsible for terrorism. People are responsible for violence and terrorism. (Applause.)
And to their credit, there are respected Muslim clerics and scholars not just here in the United States but around the world who push back on this twisted interpretation of their faith. They want to make very clear what Islam stands for. And we’re joined by some of these leaders today. These religious leaders and scholars preach that Islam calls for peace and for justice, and tolerance toward others; that terrorism is prohibited; that the Koran says whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind. Those are the voices that represent over a billion people around the world.
But if we are going to effectively isolate terrorists, if we’re going to address the challenge of their efforts to recruit our young people, if we’re going to lift up the voices of tolerance and pluralism within the Muslim community, then we’ve got to acknowledge that their job is made harder by a broader narrative that does exist in many Muslim communities around the world that suggests the West is at odds with Islam in some fashion.
The reality — which, again, many Muslim leaders have spoken to — is that there’s a strain of thought that doesn’t embrace ISIL’s tactics, doesn’t embrace violence, but does buy into the notion that the Muslim world has suffered historical grievances — sometimes that’s accurate — does buy into the belief that so many of the ills in the Middle East flow from a history of colonialism or conspiracy; does buy into the idea that Islam is incompatible with modernity or tolerance, or that it’s been polluted by Western values.
So those beliefs exist. In some communities around the world they are widespread. And so it makes individuals — especially young people who already may be disaffected or alienated — more ripe for radicalization. And so we’ve got to be able to talk honestly about those issues. We’ve got to be much more clear about how we’re rejecting certain ideas.
So just as leaders like myself reject the notion that terrorists like ISIL genuinely represent Islam, Muslim leaders need to do more to discredit the notion that our nations are determined to suppress Islam, that there’s an inherent clash in civilizations. Everybody has to speak up very clearly that no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents doesn’t defend Islam or Muslims, it damages Islam and Muslims. (Applause.)
And when all of us, together, are doing our part to reject the narratives of violent extremists, when all of us are doing our part to be very clear about the fact that there are certain universal precepts and values that need to be respected in this interconnected world, that’s the beginnings of a partnership.
As we go forward, we need to find new ways to amplify the voices of peace and tolerance and inclusion — and we especially need to do it online. We also need to lift up the voices of those who know the hypocrisy of groups like ISIL firsthand, including former extremists. Their words speak to us today. And I know in some of the discussions these voices have been raised: “I witnessed horrible crimes committed by ISIS.” “It’s not a revolution or jihad…it’s a slaughter…I was shocked by what I did.” “This isn’t what we came for, to kill other Muslims.” “I’m 28 — is this the only future I’m able to imagine?” That’s the voice of so many who were temporarily radicalized and then saw the truth. And they’ve warned other young people not to make the same mistakes as they did. “Do not run after illusions.” “Do not be deceived.” “Do not give up your life for nothing.” We need to lift up those voices.
And in all this work, the greatest resource are communities themselves, especially like those young people who are here today. We are joined by talented young men and women who are pioneering new innovations, and new social media tools, and new ways to reach young people. We’re joined by leaders from the private sector, including high-tech companies, who want to support your efforts. And I want to challenge all of us to build new partnerships that unleash the talents and creativity of young people — young Muslims — not just to expose the lies of extremists but to empower youth to service, and to lift up people’s lives here in America and around the world. And that can be a calling for your generation.
So that’s the first challenge — we’ve got to discredit these ideologies. We have to tackle them head on. And we can’t shy away from these discussions. And too often, folks are, understandably, sensitive about addressing some of these root issues, but we have to talk about them, honestly and clearly. (Applause.) And the reason I believe we have to do so is because I’m so confident that when the truth is out we’ll be successful. Now, a second challenge is we do have to address the grievances that terrorists exploit, including economic grievances. Poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist, any more than poverty alone causes somebody to become a criminal. There are millions of people — billions of people — in the world who live in abject poverty and are focused on what they can do to build up their own lives, and never embrace violent ideologies.
Conversely, there are terrorists who’ve come from extraordinarily wealthy backgrounds, like Osama bin Laden. What’s true, though, is that when millions of people — especially youth — are impoverished and have no hope for the future, when corruption inflicts daily humiliations on people, when there are no outlets by which people can express their concerns, resentments fester. The risk of instability and extremism grow. Where young people have no education, they are more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and radical ideas, because it’s not tested against anything else, they’ve got nothing to weigh. And we’ve seen this across the Middle East and North Africa.
And terrorist groups are all too happy to step into a void. They offer salaries to their foot soldiers so they can support their families. Sometimes they offer social services — schools, health clinics — to do what local governments cannot or will not do. They try to justify their violence in the name of fighting the injustice of corruption that steals from the people — even while those terrorist groups end up committing even worse abuses, like kidnapping and human trafficking.
So if we’re going to prevent people from being susceptible to the false promises of extremism, then the international community has to offer something better. And the United States intends to do its part. We will keep promoting development and growth that is broadly shared, so more people can provide for their families. We’ll keep leading a global effort against corruption, because the culture of the bribe has to be replaced by good governance that doesn’t favor certain groups over others.
Countries have to truly invest in the education and skills and job training that our extraordinary young people need. And by the way, that’s boys and girls, and men and women, because countries will not be truly successful if half their populations — if their girls and their women are denied opportunity. (Applause.) And America will continue to forge new partnerships in entrepreneurship and innovation, and science and technology, so young people from Morocco to Malaysia can start new businesses and create more prosperity.
Just as we address economic grievances, we need to face a third challenge — and that’s addressing the political grievances that are exploited by terrorists. When governments oppress their people, deny human rights, stifle dissent, or marginalize ethnic and religious groups, or favor certain religious groups over others, it sows the seeds of extremism and violence. It makes those communities more vulnerable to recruitment. Terrorist groups claim that change can only come through violence. And if peaceful change is impossible, that plays into extremist propaganda.
So the essential ingredient to real and lasting stability and progress is not less democracy; it’s more democracy. (Applause.) It’s institutions that uphold the rule of law and apply justice equally. It’s security forces and police that respect human rights and treat people with dignity. It’s free speech and strong civil societies where people can organize and assemble and advocate for peaceful change. It’s freedom of religion where all people can practice their faith without fear and intimidation. (Applause.) All of this is part of countering violent extremism.
Fourth, we have to recognize that our best partners in all these efforts, the best people to help protect individuals from falling victim to extremist ideologies are their own communities, their own family members. We have to be honest with ourselves. Terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIL deliberately target their propaganda in the hopes of reaching and brainwashing young Muslims, especially those who may be disillusioned or wrestling with their identity. That’s the truth. The high-quality videos, the online magazines, the use of social media, terrorist Twitter accounts — it’s all designed to target today’s young people online, in cyberspace.
And by the way, the older people here, as wise and respected as you may be, your stuff is often boring — (laughter) — compared to what they’re doing. (Applause.) You’re not connected. And as a consequence, you are not connecting.
So these terrorists are a threat, first and foremost, to the communities that they target, which means communities have to take the lead in protecting themselves. And that is true here in America, as it’s true anywhere else. When someone starts getting radicalized, family and friends are often the first to see that something has changed in their personality. Teachers may notice a student becoming withdrawn or struggling with his or her identity, and if they intervene at that moment and offer support, that may make a difference.
Faith leaders may notice that someone is beginning to espouse violent interpretations of religion, and that’s a moment for possible intervention that allows them to think about their actions and reflect on the meaning of their faith in a way that’s more consistent with peace and justice. Families and friends, coworkers, neighbors, faith leaders — they want to reach out; they want to help save their loved ones and friends, and prevent them from taking a wrong turn.
But communities don’t always know the signs to look for, or have the tools to intervene, or know what works best. And that’s where government can play a role — if government is serving as a trusted partner. And that’s where we also need to be honest. I know some Muslim Americans have concerns about working with government, particularly law enforcement. And their reluctance is rooted in the objection to certain practices where Muslim Americans feel they’ve been unfairly targeted.
So, in our work, we have to make sure that abuses stop, are not repeated, that we do not stigmatize entire communities. Nobody should be profiled or put under a cloud of suspicion simply because of their faith. (Applause.) Engagement with communities can’t be a cover for surveillance. We can’t “securitize” our relationship with Muslim Americans — (applause) — dealing with them solely through the prism of law enforcement. Because when we do, that only reinforces suspicions, makes it harder for us to build the trust that we need to work together.
As part of this summit, we’re announcing that we’re going to increase our outreach to communities, including Muslim Americans. We’re going to step up our efforts to engage with partners and raise awareness so more communities understand how to protect their loved ones from becoming radicalized. We’ve got to devote more resources to these efforts. (Applause.)
And as government does more, communities are going to have to step up as well. We need to build on the pilot programs that have been discussed at this summit already — in Los Angeles, in Minneapolis, in Boston. These are partnerships that bring people together in a spirit of mutual respect and create more dialogue and more trust and more cooperation. If we’re going to solve these issues, then the people who are most targeted and potentially most affected — Muslim Americans — have to have a seat at the table where they can help shape and strengthen these partnerships so that we’re all working together to help communities stay safe and strong and resilient. (Applause.)
And finally, we need to do what extremists and terrorists hope we will not do, and that is stay true to the values that define us as free and diverse societies. If extremists are peddling the notion that Western countries are hostile to Muslims, then we need to show that we welcome people of all faiths.
Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding. (Applause.) Generations of Muslim immigrants came here and went to work as farmers and merchants and factory workers, helped to lay railroads and build up America. The first Islamic center in New York City was founded in the 1890s. America’s first mosque — this was an interesting fact — was in North Dakota. (Laughter.)
Muslim Americans protect our communities as police officers and firefighters and first responders, and protect our nation by serving in uniform, and in our intelligence communities, and in homeland security. And in cemeteries across our country, including at Arlington, Muslim American heroes rest in peace having given their lives in defense of all of us. (Applause.)
And of course that’s the story extremists and terrorists don’t want the world to know — Muslims succeeding and thriving in America. Because when that truth is known, it exposes their propaganda as the lie that it is. It’s also a story that every American must never forget, because it reminds us all that hatred and bigotry and prejudice have no place in our country. It’s not just counterproductive; it doesn’t just aid terrorists; it’s wrong. It’s contrary to who we are.
I’m thinking of a little girl named Sabrina who last month sent me a Valentine’s Day card in the shape of a heart. It was the first Valentine I got. (Laughter.) I got it from Sabrina before Malia and Sasha and Michelle gave me one. (Laughter.) So she’s 11 years old. She’s in the 5th grade. She’s a young Muslim American. And she said in her Valentine, “I enjoy being an American.” And when she grows up, she wants to be an engineer — or a basketball player. (Laughter.) Which are good choices. (Laughter.) But she wrote, “I am worried about people hating Muslims…If some Muslims do bad things, that doesn’t mean all of them do.” And she asked, “Please tell everyone that we are good people and we’re just like everyone else.” (Applause.) Now, those are the words — and the wisdom — of a little girl growing up here in America, just like my daughters are growing up here in America. “We’re just like everybody else.” And everybody needs to remember that during the course of this debate.
As we move forward with these challenges, we all have responsibilities, we all have hard work ahead of us on this issue. We can’t paper over problems, and we’re not going to solve this if we’re always just trying to be politically correct. But we do have to remember that 11-year-old girl. That’s our hope. That’s our future. That’s how we discredit violent ideologies, by making sure her voice is lifted up; making sure she’s nurtured; making sure that she’s supported — and then, recognizing there are little girls and boys like that all around the world, and us helping to address economic and political grievances that can be exploited by extremists, and empowering local communities, and us staying true to our values as a diverse and tolerant society even when we’re threatened — especially when we’re threatened.
There will be a military component to this. There are savage cruelties going on out there that have to be stopped. ISIL is killing Muslims at a rate that is many multiples the rate that they’re killing non-Muslims. Everybody has a stake in stopping them, and there will be an element of us just stopping them in their tracks with force. But to eliminate the soil out of which they grew, to make sure that we are giving a brighter future to everyone and a lasting sense of security, then we’re going to have to make it clear to all of our children — including that little girl in 5th grade — that you have a place. You have a place here in America. You have a place in those countries where you live. You have a future.
Ultimately, those are the antidotes to violent extremism. And that’s work that we’re going to have to do together. It will take time. This is a generational challenge. But after 238 years, it should be obvious — America has overcome much bigger challenges, and we’ll overcome the ones that we face today. We will stay united and committed to the ideals that have shaped us for more than two centuries, including the opportunity and justice and dignity of every single human being.
Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)
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Story 2: Memo To Obama Administration: Read Graeme Wood’s Atlantic Monthly Article: What ISIS Really Wants? — Videos
Journalist Graeme Wood on the Islamic State: VICE Meets
Islamic State militants ‘burn to death 45 in Iraq
Islamic State: The New Terror
The Battle for Iraq: Shia Militias vs. the Islamic State
The Islamic State (Full Length)
The Islamic State, a hardline Sunni jihadist group that formerly had ties to al Qaeda, has conquered large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the group has announced its intention to reestablish the caliphate and has declared its leader, the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the caliph.
The lightning advances the Islamic State made across Syria and Iraq in June shocked the world. But it’s not just the group’s military victories that have garnered attention — it’s also the pace with which its members have begun to carve out a viable state.
Flush with cash and US weapons seized during its advances in Iraq, the Islamic State’s expansion shows no sign of slowing down. In the first week of August alone, Islamic State fighters have taken over new areas in northern Iraq, encroaching on Kurdish territory and sending Christians and other minorities fleeing as reports of massacres emerged.
VICE News reporter Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining unprecedented access to the group in Iraq and Syria as the first and only journalist to document its inner workings.
Embedded with Al-Qaeda in Syria: ISIS and al-Nusra
Three years ago, an uprising against the Assad regime turned into what looked like a straightforward civil war between Syrian government forces and rebels. However, over time, what had started as a largely secular opposition movement began to take on more of a radical Islamist tone, with two al Qaeda offshoots — the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra — becoming the dominant forces on the ground across the rebel-held North.
One VICE filmmaker managed to secure unprecedented access to both al-Qaeda factions battling Syria’s government forces, despite the risk of journalists being kidnapped. This is a remarkable portrait of the foreign volunteers and local Syrians willing to fight and die to establish a new caliphate on Europe’s doorstep.
Ghosts of Aleppo (Full Length)
A City Left in Ruins: The Battle for Aleppo
Should ISIS Be Burning Captives? (David Wood)
Who Are The Salafis and Wahhabies Yusuf Estes Islam
Bernard Haykel: How Islamic is the Islamic State?
Prof Haykel on the Islamic State and Al Qaeda
IS is a symptom of a deep feeling amongst Sunni Arabs of being disenfranchised. […] It is the same sentiment that led to the emergence of Al-Qaeda.”
Professor Bernard Haykel of Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies elaborates on the root causes for the rise of the Islamic State, as a movement responding to the systemic disenfranchisement of Sunnis in the region.
Professor Haykel also explains why IS surpassed Al Qaeda in popularity and why the Arabian Peninsula has so vigorously supported U.S.- led airstrikes against IS.
Talking to War and Peace Talk, Professor Haykel responded to questions such as:
Why do people from the West join the Islamic State?
Why do the recruits burn their passports?
Should Western governments withdraw citizenship from jihadis?
What should be done about returning jihadis?
Can they be de-radicalized?
The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on November 14, 2014.
The Folly of Bombing the Islamic State
Killing Al-Baghdadi: the end of the Caliphate or part of the narrative?
SIS Tilting the Chess Board: The Dawn of a New Middle East Balance of Power – H. van Lynden lecture
The Henriette van Lynden lecture ‘ISIS Tilting the Chess Board: The Dawn of a New Middle East Balance of Power’, organised by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was held on Friday, 14 November 2014 in de Rode Hoed, Amsterdam.
The rise of ISIS as a failure of governance & the need for a broader response than CT-policy, by Ms. Mina al-Oraibi [0:6:36]
Links of ISIS ideology to Saudi Arabia’s wahabism and policy options by Prof. Bernard Haykel [0:19:52]
Iran’s interests and vision in the fight against ISIS by Dr. Ali Vaez [0:35:44]
Panel discussion moderated by Ernesto Braam [0:50:20]
Audience Q&A [1:05:25]
Ms. Mina al-Oraibi
Born in Iraq, she is the deputy editor-in-chief of prominent Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. She is an expert on transitions in the Arab region and American military doctrine. She regularly speaks with heads of state in the Middle East.
Prof. Bernard Haykel
Professor of Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University, specialised in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region. In addition, he is an Islam expert who focuses on Salafi movements and the roots of ISIS ideology. Particularly noteworthy is his contribution to the leading bestseller ‘Global Salafism’.
Dr. Ali Vaez
As an expert on Iran at the International Crisis Group in Washington D.C., he is a sought-after speaker on Iran’s influence in the region. He regularly appears on BBC and CNN, and publishes in Foreign Policy and the International Herald Tribune, among others.
Genieve Abdo and Bernard Haykel – “Understanding the Complexities of Sunni — Shi’a Relations”
Rising Sunni-Shiite violence threatens security in Iraq
Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 1
Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 2
Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 3
Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 4
Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 5
Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 6
Clifford Chanin interviews Professor Bernard Haykel part 7
Christiane Amanpour interviews Princeton Professor Bernard Haykel on Yemen
Bernard Haykel: Saudi Arabia’s Royal Family and the State
Bernard Haykel: Saudi Arabia’s Relationship with the U.S.
What ISIS Really Wants
By Graeme Wood
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.
Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.
The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.
We have misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al‑Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it. The Islamic State supporters I spoke with still refer to Osama bin Laden as “Sheikh Osama,” a title of honor. But jihadism has evolved since al-Qaeda’s heyday, from about 1998 to 2003, and many jihadists disdain the group’s priorities and current leadership.
Bin Laden viewed his terrorism as a prologue to a caliphate he did not expect to see in his lifetime. His organization was flexible, operating as a geographically diffuse network of autonomous cells. The Islamic State, by contrast, requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it. (Its bureaucracy is divided into civil and military arms, and its territory into provinces.)
We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. Peter Bergen, who produced the first interview with bin Laden in 1997, titled his first book Holy War, Inc. in part to acknowledge bin Laden as a creature of the modern secular world. Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out. He requested specific political concessions, such as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. His foot soldiers navigated the modern world confidently. On Mohammad Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut.
Nearly all the Islamic State’s decisions adhere to what it calls, on its billboards, license plates, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology.”
There is a temptation to rehearse this observation—that jihadists are modern secular people, with modern political concerns, wearing medieval religious disguise—and make it fit the Islamic State. In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.
The most-articulate spokesmen for that position are the Islamic State’s officials and supporters themselves. They refer derisively to “moderns.” In conversation, they insist that they will not—cannot—waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam.
To take one example: In September, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide. (As if to show that he could terrorize by imagery alone, Adnani also referred to Secretary of State John Kerry as an “uncircumcised geezer.”)
But Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.
The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.
Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.
Control of territory is an essential precondition for the Islamic State’s authority in the eyes of its supporters. This map, adapted from the work of the Institute for the Study of War, shows the territory under the caliphate’s control as of January 15, along with areas it has attacked. Where it holds power, the state collects taxes, regulates prices, operates courts, and administers services ranging from health care and education to telecommunications.
In November, the Islamic State released an infomercial-like video tracing its origins to bin Laden. It acknowledged Abu Musa’b al Zarqawi, the brutal head of al‑Qaeda in Iraq from roughly 2003 until his killing in 2006, as a more immediate progenitor, followed sequentially by two other guerrilla leaders before Baghdadi, the caliph. Notably unmentioned: bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al Zawahiri, the owlish Egyptian eye surgeon who currently heads al‑Qaeda. Zawahiri has not pledged allegiance to Baghdadi, and he is increasingly hated by his fellow jihadists. His isolation is not helped by his lack of charisma; in videos he comes across as squinty and annoyed. But the split between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State has been long in the making, and begins to explain, at least in part, the outsize bloodlust of the latter.
Zawahiri’s companion in isolation is a Jordanian cleric named Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, 55, who has a fair claim to being al-Qaeda’s intellectual architect and the most important jihadist unknown to the average American newspaper reader. On most matters of doctrine, Maqdisi and the Islamic State agree. Both are closely identified with the jihadist wing of a branch of Sunnism called Salafism, after the Arabic al salaf al salih, the “pious forefathers.” These forefathers are the Prophet himself and his earliest adherents, whom Salafis honor and emulate as the models for all behavior, including warfare, couture, family life, even dentistry.
The Islamic State awaits the army of “Rome,” whose defeat at Dabiq, Syria, will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse.
Maqdisi taught Zarqawi, who went to war in Iraq with the older man’s advice in mind. In time, though, Zarqawi surpassed his mentor in fanaticism, and eventually earned his rebuke. At issue was Zarqawi’s penchant for bloody spectacle—and, as a matter of doctrine, his hatred of other Muslims, to the point of excommunicating and killing them. In Islam, the practice of takfir, or excommunication, is theo