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Israel's Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood
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  • Cited by 61
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    Lewin, Eyal 2019. Post-Holocaust Studies in a Modern Context. p. 200.

    Sokolić, Ivor 2019. International Courts and Mass Atrocity. p. 53.

    Ndlovu, Mphathisi 2019. New Media and Ndebele Hiraeth: Memory, Nostalgia and Ndebele Nationalism on Selected News Websites. African Journalism Studies, p. 1.

    Tshuma, Lungile Augustine and Ndlovu, Mphathisi 2018. Remembering the past against the grain: an analysis of the reconstructions of the past in The Sunday News 's ‘Lest We Forget ’ column. Nations and Nationalism,

    Bernbeck, Reinhard 2018. An Emerging Archaeology of the Nazi Era. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 47, Issue. 1, p. 361.

    Bird, Stephanie 2018. Nazis disguised as Jews and Israel’s pursuit of justice: the Eichmann trial and the kapo trials in Robert Shaw’s The Man in the Glass Booth and Emanuel Litvinoff’s Falls the Shadow. Holocaust Studies, Vol. 24, Issue. 4, p. 466.

    Czech, Herwig Druml, Christiane and Weindling, Paul 2018. Medical Ethics in the 70 Years after the Nuremberg Code, 1947 to the Present. Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, Vol. 130, Issue. S3, p. 159.

    Lebovic, Nitzan 2018. The History of Political Melancholy as an Alternative History of Zionism. Rethinking Marxism, Vol. 30, Issue. 3, p. 462.

    Shinar Levanon, Ofer 2017. Self-Censorship in Contexts of Conflict. p. 221.

    Amir, Merav 2017. Revisiting politicide: state annihilation in Israel/Palestine. Territory, Politics, Governance, Vol. 5, Issue. 4, p. 368.

    Lustick, Ian S. 2017. The Holocaust in Israeli Political Culture: Four Constructions and Their Consequences. Contemporary Jewry, Vol. 37, Issue. 1, p. 125.

    Harpaz, Guy and Jacobsen, Elisha 2017. The Israeli collective memory and the Masada Syndrome: a political instrument to counter the EU funding of Israeli non-governmental human rights organizations. Mediterranean Politics, Vol. 22, Issue. 2, p. 257.

    Foscarini, Giorgia 2017. Collective memory and cultural identity. Ethnologies, Vol. 39, Issue. 2, p. 81.

    Arthur, Paul 2016. Where We Dwell in Common. p. 35.

    Goldberg, Amos 2016. Narrative, Testimony, and Trauma. Interventions, Vol. 18, Issue. 3, p. 335.

    Goldberg, Amos 2016. Empathy and its Limits. p. 52.

    WRIGHT, FIONA 2016. Palestine, my love: The ethico-politics of love and mourning in Jewish Israeli solidarity activism. American Ethnologist, Vol. 43, Issue. 1, p. 130.

    Vadasaria, Shaira 2015. Necronationalism: managing race, death and the nation's skeletons. Social Identities, Vol. 21, Issue. 2, p. 117.

    Yair, Gad 2015. The Germans: Cultural trauma and the Israeli habitus. American Journal of Cultural Sociology, Vol. 3, Issue. 2, p. 254.

    Zandberg, Eyal 2015. “Ketchup Is the Auschwitz of Tomatoes”: Humor and the Collective Memory of Traumatic Events. Communication, Culture & Critique, Vol. 8, Issue. 1, p. 108.

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Book description

The ghost of the Holocaust is ever present in Israel, in the lives and nightmares of the survivors and in the absence of the victims. In this compelling and disturbing analysis, Idith Zertal, a leading member of the new generation of revisionist historians in Israel, considers the ways Israel has used the memory of the Holocaust to define and legitimize its existence and politics. Drawing on a wide range of sources, the author exposes the pivotal role of the Holocaust in Israel's public sphere, in its project of nation building, its politics of power and its perception of the conflict with the Palestinians. She argues that the centrality of the Holocaust has led to a culture of death and victimhood that permeates Israel's society and self-image. For the updated paperback edition of the book, Tony Judt, the world-renowned historian and political commentator, has contributed a foreword in which he writes of Zertal's courage, the originality of her work, and the 'unforgiving honesty with which she looks at the moral condition of her own country'.


‘… a path-breaking analysis of how the memory of the Holocaust has been used in Israel not only to equate Palestinians with Nazis and justify the West Bank occupation and the building of settlements there but also to provide the rationale for nuclear weapons systems.’

Amos Elon Source: New York Review of Books

‘This is a brilliant and unsettling book that charts new, deeply submerged territories of the collective consciousness and sub-consciousness of Israeli society. The book is a major contribution to our understanding of the history of Israeli life and mentality.’

Shlomo Ben Ami - Emeritus Professor of Modern History, Tel Aviv University, and former foreign minister of Israel

‘The book is admirably perceptive, nuanced, and sophisticated … Dr Zertal is not a linear historian or mere chronicler of events. She is an intellectual and cultural historian of the highest distinction.’

Avi Shlaim - Professor of International Relations, University of Oxford

‘A moving and profound reflection on the role of mourning, death and victimhood in Israel.’

Henry Rousso Source: L’Express

‘Idith Zertal's excellent book follows the history of the manipulation of the Holocaust from the inception of Israel to the assassination of Prime Minster Yitzhad Rabin.‘

Source: Book Forum

‘… interesting and worthy of discussion …‘

Source: Birmingham Jewish Recorder

'… can hardly be faulted on matters of detail and accuracy … Zertal successfully deconstructs a number of myths in recent Israeli historiography.'

Source: The Times Literary Supplement

‘Zertal successfully deconstructs a number of myths in recent Israeli historiography … and the young generation in Israel today will not have heard of many of the myths deconstructed with so much admirable gusto in this book.'

Source: The Times

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