On 20 October, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem. Attempting to tie the ongoing violence in Jerusalem to events in the early twentieth century, Netanyahu made an ahistorical leap accusing the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al- Husseini, of convincing Hitler to commit genocide. Recounting the first meeting between the two in November 1941, Netanyahu proclaimed: “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll come here [to Palestine].’ ‘So what should I do with them?’ he asked. He said, ‘Burn them.'”
Aside from being historically inaccurate, Netanyahu’s claims are farcical. By that logic, it took a powerless colonial appointee to convince a staunch anti-Semite and leader of a highly militarized state to carry out one of the largest genocidal projects in human history. As Yousef Munayyer explained in the Nation, “Netanyahu’s aim was to advance the argument that Palestinian behavior, toward Israel in particular, is motivated primarily by a deep-seated hatred of Jews that is inseparable from their very identity.” Netanyahu’s remark prompted criticism worldwide, and social media users employed the hashtag #MuftiChangedMyMind to mock the prime minister’s outlandish claims. An array of satirical memes were posted to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.