From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust

From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust

by Meir Litvak, Ester Webman
     
 

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Based on years of research conducted mostly in Arabic sources, Meir Litvak and Ester Webman track the evolution of post-World War II perceptions of the Holocaust and their parallel emergence in the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948. Following the establishment of the State of Israel, Arab attitudes toward the Holocaust became entangled with broader

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Overview

Based on years of research conducted mostly in Arabic sources, Meir Litvak and Ester Webman track the evolution of post-World War II perceptions of the Holocaust and their parallel emergence in the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948. Following the establishment of the State of Israel, Arab attitudes toward the Holocaust became entangled with broader anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiments. Litvak and Webman track this discourse through the work of leading intellectuals and turn to representations of the Holocaust in the media and culture of Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and among the Palestinian people. Their chronological history, which spans sixty years, provides a remarkable perspective on the origins, development, and tenaciousness of anti-Holocaust belief.

From Empathy to Denial is the first comprehensive investigation of Holocaust denial in the Arab world, and is based on years of painstaking historical research of mostly Arabic language sources. The authors explore how Holocaust denial emerged after the Second World War, how it paralleled the wider Arab-Israeli conflict after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and how it subsequently became entangled with broader anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiment. In particular Litvak and Webman look at the role of leading intellectuals, the media and other cultural forms in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and among the Palestinians and how their representation of the Holocaust has evolved in the last sixty years.

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Editorial Reviews

Shofar

An excellently documented and exceptionally objective book chronicling the evolution of Arab perceptions of the Holocaust

— Hilal Khashan

H-German

Litvak and Webman have produced an outstanding and timely piece of scholarship on this very sensitive and vitally important topic.

— Francis R. Nicosia

The Chronicle of Higher Education

[An] important new book.

— Jeffrey Herf

H-German - Francis R. Nicosia

Litvak and Webman have produced an outstanding and timely piece of scholarship on this very sensitive and vitally important topic.

The Chronicle of Higher Education - Jeffrey Herf

[An] important new book.

Shofar - Hilal Khashan

An excellently documented and exceptionally objective book chronicling the evolution of Arab perceptions of the Holocaust

From the Publisher
"a huge step forward in scholarship on Arab attitudes vis-a-vis the Holocaust. It fills a major gap in our knowledge by providing a detailed survey and...analysis of the key themes on the issue, in a detached, scholarly manner....In a sweep of research that covers the sixty-plus year period from the end of the Second World War to the present-day, Litvak and Webman thoroughly mine Arab public commentary on the Holocaust...to present a clear, compelling yet nuanced portrait of the various strands of Arab attitudes on the issue and how they developed over the decades...their principal finding 'that Arab attitudes keep pace with the evolution of that conflict' underscores the organic connection between history and politics that continues to dominate the Middle East today."—Robert Satloff, Director, The Washington Institute

"This is an important and exceptionally well researched book, one that, despite being completely non-political, will immediately become part of the contemporary discourse about Israel/Arab relations."—Deborah Lipstadt, Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University

"Litvak and Webman have produced an outstanding and timely piece of scholarship on this very sensitive and vitally important topic."—Francis R. Nicosia, H-German

"[An] important new book."—Jeffrey Herf, The Chronicle of Higher Education

"An excellently documented and exceptionally objective book chronicling the evolution of Arab perceptions of the Holocaust." - Hilal Khashan, Shofar

"A painstakingly researched and documented description of the Holocaust as seen by the Arab world... the first truly comprehensive study of this painful topic, it makes for a reading as necessary as it is painful." The Muslim World Book Review

"The authors have delivered a painstakingly researched and documented description of the Holocaust ... The first truly comprehensive study of this painful topic." — Murad Wilfried Hofmann, The Muslim World Book Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231700740
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
04/30/2009
Series:
Columbia/Hurst Series
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Robert Satloff

Meir Litvak and Ester Webman's work constitutes a huge step forward in scholarship on Arab attitudes vis-à-vis the Holocaust. It provides a detailed survey and systematic analysis of the key themes on the issue. In a detached, scholarly manner, Litvak and Webman thoroughly mine Arab public commentary on the Holocaust in books, journals, magazines, and newspapers, presenting a clear, compelling, yet nuanced portrait of the various strands of Arab views on the issue and their growth over decades, especially in reaction to critical milestones in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Indeed, the authors' principal finding is that 'Arab attitudes keep pace with the evolution of that conflict,' underscoring an organic connection between history and politics that continues to dominate the Middle East today.

Deborah Lipstadt

This is an important and exceptionally well researched book, one that, despite being completely non-political, will immediately become part of the contemporary discourse on Israeli-Arab relations.

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Meet the Author

Meir Litvak is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History, Tel Aviv University and is the author of Shi'i Scholars in 19th Century Iraq: The Shi'i 'Ulama of Najaf and Karbala.

Esther Webman is a research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University.

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