The evolution of arab perceptions of the holocaust

Esther Webman*

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Esther Webman gives an historical overview of Arab perceptions of the Holocaust from 1945 to the first decade of the twenty-first century. She shows that there was indeed empathy with the Jewish victims of the Holocaust immediately after the war and gives heartening examples from empathetic literary fiction. However, even in these early stages, before the creation of the State of Israel which led to the foundations of the subsequent discourse on the Holocaust in Arab countries, dealing with the Holocaust was often mixed with politics because of the conflict over Palestine. Webman describes the prominent standpoint in the Arab discourse, which is that the Arabs had and still have to pay “the price” of losing Palestine to the Jews because of the Holocaust, although they took no part in it. The article delineates the development of a new emerging discourse which acknowledges the Holocaust and leaves outright Holocaust denial more and more to Islamists. However, the mainstream discourse still minimises the Holocaust and uses it for the delegitimisation of Israel and Zionism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerceptions of the Holocaust in Europe and Muslim Communities
Subtitle of host publicationSources, Comparisons and Educational Challenges
EditorsGünther Jikeli, Joëlle Allouche-Benayoun
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789400753075
ISBN (Print)9789400753068, 9400753063
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013

Publication series

NameMuslims in global societies series


  • Middle East
  • Zionist movement
  • Jewish history
  • Holocaust survivor
  • Jewish immigration


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