The Shoah as Israel's political trope

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Focuses on changing attitudes toward the Holocaust as reflected in Israeli ideology and politics. Initially, remembering the horrors of the Holocaust was considered unhealthy; only heroic resisters were remembered. Ben-Gurion was willing to use the "moral debt" owed the Jewish people by approving a reparations agreement with Germany, whereby Israel represented itself as the sole heir of the Jewish victims. He also attempted to use the Eichmann trial for ideological purposes, to distance Israelis from the Jewish victims, but in that he failed. Over time, the Holocaust became an Israeli obsession, providing the lens through which Israel viewed its enemies as Nazis, like in 1967. Under Prime Minister Begin, the Holocaust was invoked in an attempt to unite Israelis and to justify the 1982 war in Lebanon. Subsequently, it has been used to justify Israeli policies in regard to the Palestinians. Contends that the Holocaust lesson "that the world is against us" entails a danger of Jewish fascism. Both Left and Right have used the Holocaust to strengthen Israeli identity. Stresses that there is an obligation to oppose rhetorical, political, and religious misuse of the Holocaust.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDivergent Jewish cultures
Subtitle of host publicationIsrael and America
EditorsDeborah Dash Moore, S. Ilan (Selwyn Ilan) Troen
Place of PublicationNew Haven
PublisherYale University Press
ISBN (Print)0300084269
StatePublished - 2001

Publication series

Name Studies in Jewish culture and society


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