Contesting the “Zionist” Narrative: Arab Responses to the Holocaust

Esther Webman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Using several anecdotal examples as case studies, this chapter examines Arab responses to the Holocaust and highlights continuities and changes in Arab attitudes and in academic research since the emergence of an Arab-Holocaust discourse. It juxtaposes these examples with the reactions to the signing of the reparations agreement between Israel and West Germany in September 1952. The chapter shows that despite the changes in the discourse, most of the themes that appeared after World War II still prevail and that the Holocaust is used as a tool in the Arab–Israeli conflict to contest the legitimacy of Zionism and the state of Israel. In view of the crisis in Jewish–Muslim relations, especially since the eruption of the Arab–Israeli conflict, the rescue stories, even if they are myths, are instrumental as a pedagogical tool for improving Muslim-Jewish relations, encouraging interfaith dialogue, combating Holocaust denial, and immunizing anti-Zionism and anti-Israel rhetoric from accusations of antisemitism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to the Holocaust
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781118970492
ISBN (Print)9781118970508
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


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