Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood, by Idith Zertal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Cambridge Middle East Studies 21. 208 pages. Biographies to p. 216. Glossary to p. 222. Bibliography to p. 230. Index to p. 236. $30.00 cloth. Published in Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 35, no. 3 (139), Spring 2006. p. 123.
In late summer of 2005 on the order of Ariel Sharon’s government, several thousand Israeli settlers departed the Gaza Strip. In protest, some settlers donned Star of David patches, which Jews had been forced to wear under Nazi domination. Settlers, among them Holocaust survivors and their children, contended that withdrawal would lead to another Holocaust.
Such an assertion of persecution and victimization in terms of the Holocaust has a long history, according to Israeli writer, Idith Zertal, in her recently translated book from Hebrew, Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood. Zertal’s work explores the growing reliance upon Holocaust discourse in Israel, as she candidly states, “Politicians, journalists, and historians let themselves speak out in the name of the Holocaust dead. They/we all use Holocaust images for their/our purposes. Some of these images are threatening, others are trivial, all are distorting” (197). Read the rest of this entry »