The White House warned Benjamin Netanyahu against “inflammatory rhetoric” Thursday after the Israeli prime minister claimed a Palestinian religious leader provoked the Holocaust.
Netanyahu on Tuesday suggested Hitler was not planning to exterminate the Jews until he met Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian nationalist, in 1941.
Responding sharply to the controversial claim, since pedaled back by the Israeli leader, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, “I don’t think there’s any doubt here at the White House who is responsible for the Holocaust that killed six million Jews.”
“We here continue to stress publicly and privately … the importance of preventing inflammatory rhetoric, accusations or actions on both sides (that) can feed the violence.”
“We believe that inflammatory rhetoric needs to stop.”
Netanyahu’s comments were widely criticized, with Palestinian leaders and the Israeli opposition accusing him of distorting the past, while historians called them inaccurate.
The White House reaction comes after Secretary of State John Kerry met Netanyahu in Berlin, urged Palestinians and Israelis to halt all incitement.