Nakba and Holocaust: Mechanisms of Comparison and Denial in the Israeli Literary Imagination

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This article considers analogies between the Holocaust and the Nakba in Israeli narratives, analogies that became increasingly dominant in political discourse in Israel through journalism, historiography, art, and literature. I focus on two recent works: the memoir +My Holocaust Thief= by Noam Chayut (2009) and the film +Waltz with Bashir= by Ari Folman (2008). Both juxtapose Palestinian refugees and Holocaust victims (and less explicitly, Israeli soldiers and Nazi officers) as a way of rehabilitating a moral self. I ask what kind of political meaning is constructed by this mirroring, by placing the narrative of the other - the Palestinian catastrophe - within a Holocaust-based representation of the Nakba. In a certain sense, thinking through the conceptual framework of the Holocaust focuses attention on the catastrophe of the Jews and relegates the Palestinian catastrophe, once again, to secondary importance, driving it out first as a physical reality and then as a narrative.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)85-98
Number of pages14
JournalJewish Social Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012


  • Israeli literature
  • 2000-2099
  • Chayut, Noam (1979-)
  • Ganevet ha-Sho‘ah sheli (2009)
  • The Girl Who Stole My Holocaust
  • prose
  • war
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • the Holocaust
  • Folman, Ari (1962-)
  • Vals ‘im Bashir (2008)
  • Waltz with Bashir
  • dramatic arts
  • film
  • Israel


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