"Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews," Netanyahu said in the speech. "And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, 'If you expel them, they'll all come here (Palestine).'
"'So what should I do with them?'" Netanyahu said Hitler asked the mufti, who responded: "Burn them."
Netanyahu, whose father was an eminent historian, was quickly harangued by opposition politicians and experts on the Holocaust who said he was distorting the historical record.
They noted the meeting between Husseini and Hitler took place on November 28, 1941. More than two years earlier, in January 1939, Hitler had addressed the Reichstag, Nazi Germany's parliament, and spoke clearly about his determination to exterminate the "Jewish race".
"To say that the mufti was the first to mention to Hitler the idea to kill or burn the Jews is not correct," Dina Porat, a professor at Tel Aviv University and the chief historian of Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial museum, told Israel Radio.