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Book’s provocative conclusions make for fascinating reading

Barry Rubin, late director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel (Rubin passed away shortly after publication of his book), and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, visiting professor at the center, have written “Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East,”  a well researched but highly provocative, controversial book.

Drawing on European, American and Middle East archives, a large number of which had only recently been opened, the authors maintain that there was a collaboration and connection between Nazi Germany and Islamist forces like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt that have determined and still determine the course of events in the Middle East today.  

The authors specifically concentrate on Amin al-Husaini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem between 1921 and 1948. They claim that Al-Husaini was a radical anti-Semite, and even though he was put in power by Britain, he accepted Nazism and might have been even more of a fanatical anti- Semite than Adolf Hitler. He often stated publicly that the Middle East needed to rid itself of its Jews. Did this make Al –Husaini the architect of the “Final Solution?”  

While very well written, what makes this book so fascinating are the implications and conclusions the readers can draw from this work.  Was Al-Husaini actually the architect of the “Final Solution?”  Did the authors have their own agenda in the conclusions they drew?  What impact has the development of Nazism and Islamism had on the modern Middle East?  A careful reading of this book might answer the questions—or maybe not.