chapter  19
The Holocaust: Narratives of complicity and victimhood
ByPeter Wien
Pages 14

The Holocaust has been looming large in the relationship between Arabs and Jews since the end of World War II as a means of political rhetoric and mutual allegations. However, the confrontation between Zionists and Palestinians is older than the Holocaust and started as a conflict over land and a competition over political leverage with a colonial power. After World War II and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, it became a conflict over historical memory and its justifying force in claims over statehood. A local conflict and regional processes of decolonization coincided with a change of paradigm in international relations and the emergence of an ethos of genocide prevention, international justice and prosecution. They provided a new context for the reception and dissemination of a particular Holocaust narrative in the Middle East, including Israel and the Arab lands but also, in a broader context, in Muslim societies.1