Nitza Davidovitch & Nissim Dana. Israel Affairs. Volume 23, Issue 2. April 2017.
Holocaust denial is a general term given to a variety of arguments that share the diminution of the Holocaust or the responsibility of its perpetrators. Holocaust denial involves different types of arguments that fall under several main themes: the diminution and depreciation of the scale of the genocide (‘6 million is an ungrounded number’); challenging the reliability of evidence of the Holocaust (‘Holocaust films are part of propaganda productions’); the argument that the Holocaust was fabricated to serve Zionist interests (‘The Holocaust is a forgery invented by the Zionists to justify the dispossession of the Palestinians’); the Holocaust is part of Europe’s suffering in the war and not a premeditated extermination programme (‘There was no intentional programme to annihilate the Jews’); and blaming the Jews for the events (‘The Holocaust was a justified response to the actions of the Jews’).
A study of the facts and sources presented by Holocaust deniers indicates that while some evidence may be authentic, it is not presented in the correct context. Thus, for example, in a research report published in the journal of the revisionist movement, Fred Leuchter argued that laboratory tests performed on samples taken from the gas chambers in Auschwitz showed no traces of cyclone gas but failed to note the possibility that the gas had evaporated over time and that the sample might not have been properly handled in the laboratory, or that the samples had been collected by breaking parts of the wall instead of sampling from the surface of the walls. The chemist Gramer Rudolf likewise argued that no gas was used to exterminate Jews, based on the absence of Prussian Blue residue that is characteristic to cyclone B on the walls of the Treblinka gas chambers, but admitted that ‘it is not entirely possible to rely on the chemical approach’. Other Holocaust deniers used images or mathematical calculations to argue that it was not feasible to kill such a large number of victims, or that most of the victims died of illnesses rather than intentional extermination.
These arguments have been contradicted by a long string of testimonies, documents, photographs, and films. Enormous quantities of evidence of the Holocaust remain, despite Nazi attempts to destroy it. The enormous body of evidence is what makes it possible for the Holocaust memory to become a universal value, and what undermines and challenges the objectivity and impartiality of Holocaust deniers. Still, the deniers themselves object to being called by this term, and they consider themselves part of the scientific community that re-examines history (‘revisionism’). Nonetheless, despite their attempt to assume a cloak of science, scholars claim that Holocaust denial has nothing to do with the conventional investigation of historical facts. In contrast to such scientific investigation, which includes elaboration, review, and accuracy of historical facts, Holocaust deniers base their approach on the presumption that the Holocaust, as it is understood in mainstream historiography, never occurred.
The reasons and motives for Holocaust denial are diverse and stem from, among other things, the need to cleanse the personal and collective consciences of perpetrators and collaborators; ‘Holocaust envy’ originating in a view of Holocaust victims as the ultimate victims; the desire of minorities to argue that they are no less victims than are the Jews; the desire to annul Germany’s financial debts to the victims and prevent future claims for restitution; de-legitimization of the State of Israel and Zionism, whose establishment and very existence are frequently associated with the Holocaust; part of an anti-Jewish agenda originating in xenophobia; denial as part of the defence of the Palestinians who were supposedly made to pay the price of the Holocaust ‘invention’ by virtue of which the Jews obtained compensation, security guarantees, weapons acquisitions, and gain the position of just victims. All these and more have created the situation in which Holocaust denial has become common in the Western and Muslim worlds. It is our aim in the current article to address the changes that have occurred in Holocaust denial over time, from individuals in the West to Neo-Nazi groups and anti-Semitic organizations, and more recently among Muslim and Arab entities, especially the more radical of them.
Development of the Denial Discourse in the Arab World
Ironically, the term ‘Holocaust denial’ emerged immediately upon the end of World War II as part of the efforts to minimize the Nazi horrors. The first deniers argued that the deaths of 6 million Jews were merely an exaggeration of historical facts and a complete fiction. Those deniers were not part of a large group, but their arguments became the foundation of the organized, structured denial that would follow. In a book published in 1947 in objection to the Nuremberg trials, French fascist Maurice Bardèche commenced efforts to refute the Holocaust and to defend the reputation of the Nazis by claiming that death in the concentration camps was a result of hunger and disease and not premeditated extermination. He conceded the existence of a Nazi ‘final solution to the Jewish problem’ but argued that its aim was to transfer the Jews to ghettos in Eastern Germany and not to systematically murder them; hence the Nazi defendants in the Nuremberg trials were unaware of the massive murder that was taking place in the camps and first heard about it in the courtroom. In 1948, Paul Rassiner, Frenchman and former socialist, who was himself a prisoner at Buchenwald, joined the attack against the historical facts to become the widely considered pioneer of Holocaust denial. His main arguments, published in a series of books, were that the Holocaust survivors exaggerated their stories and that the people who were really responsible for the horrors that occurred in the camps were the prisoners who were in charge of camp administration and not the SS. He subsequently shifted the focus of his attack and stated that the Holocaust was a ‘genocide myth’ invented by the Zionist entity. Rassiner’s writings were translated into other languages and functioned as the ‘opening shot’ of the Holocaust denial literature.
Holocaust denial, which began in France, was warmly received by racist groups and individuals in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. Rassiner was no longer working alone and Holocaust denial was no longer a marginal phenomenon. American Holocaust deniers argued that the massacre was an invention of the Jews in order to control the global economy and increase global support for Israel. For example, David Hogan of Harvard University argued that no Jew was killed after Kristallnacht. In his book titled The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, Butz, a professor from Northwestern University, derided the Holocaust as a Zionist hoax designed to assist Zionism in realizing its aims, listing what he viewed as the various invented aspects of the extermination legend, which is how he labelled the Jews’ accounts of the Holocaust.
Holocaust denial gained public momentum in the 1970s, due inter alia to global interest in ‘the new Jew’, Judaism in general, and the experiences of the Jews in World War II. Holocaust deniers, most of whom were not academic scholars or historians, sought to couch their arguments in scientific and academic terms, and began to call their involvement ‘revisionism’, which meant the re-examination of history. Holocaust denial, which until then had been a marginal occupation performed by individuals, became organized and institutionalized. Academic scholars in France, the United States, Britain, and other places published works of an academic nature to support their arguments. In 1978 the Institute for Historical Review was established to distribute Holocaust denial literature through journals and annual conferences that became the centre of the revisionist movement. The movement attracted many activists who shared the position that the Holocaust never happened.
Until then Holocaust denial as a discipline unto itself developed in the Western world independently of the Arab-Muslim world. Beginning in the 1970s, however, in response to the growing sophistication of the denial discourse in the West, the Eichmann trial, and the intensification of the Israeli‒Palestinian conflict, a quantitative and qualitative change occurred in the Arabs’ attitude toward the Holocaust. It has been argued that the Arab position on the Holocaust has always been a ‘mirror image’ of the attitudes of Israeli and Western society to the Holocaust: the more the Holocaust became a significant element in the collective identity of Israel, and the more it captured a central place in the political discourse in the West, the stronger the denial theme became in the Arab world. Still, paradoxically, as the Holocaust denial discourse in the Arab world increased, the Arab world also increased the use of the symbols, language, and discourse of the Holocaust in their national struggle. The purpose of this article is to present this paradox – Holocaust denial in the Arab world versus the use of Holocaust memory as a means of manipulation.
Development of the Holocaust Denial Discourse in the Arab-Muslim World
The Israeli‒Palestinian conflict was fertile ground for the development of the Holocaust denial discourse in the Arab world. The changes and developments of this discourse were strongly associated with the intensity and complexity of the conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian nations and with internal developments in Israeli society. What began as recognition of facts and changed into the obliteration and diminution of facts, became a sweeping and absolute denial over time. Scholars tend to divide the Arab world’s responses to the Holocaust into several stages that are closely related to other historic developments. The first stage, from the mid-1940s to the 1950s, was characterized by indirect and implicit denial. In that period, the Arab world accepted the events but tended to minimize their extent, obliterating the singularity of the Holocaust, and downplaying its significance as genocide. The press and the leaders of the Arab world used ambiguous concepts or epithets to describe the Jews’ fate. The discourse in that period reflected awareness of the gravity of the events concurrently with attempts to minimize them, claiming that the Jews inflated the numbers and that their fate was no different from the fates of other European nations. Still, according to Litvak and Webman, there was no sweeping denial of the Holocaust or justification of the Nazi atrocities in the Arab media.
The second stage commenced with the capture and trial of Adolph Eichmann, which was a turning point in the Holocaust discourse in the Arab world. In contrast to the discourse in the Western press, the Arab media assumed a hostile position on all aspects of the affair: the trial was portrayed as a ‘farce’, ‘theatre’, and ‘a political move from beginning to end’, and merely one more example of Israeli propaganda. The main motifs in the Holocaust discourse in this period were Israel’s alleged instrumental use of the Holocaust and a comparison of Israeli actions vis-à-vis the Palestinians to the Nazis’ atrocities against the Jews, on the one hand, and Holocaust denial and an attempt to prove collusion between the Nazis and Zionism, on the other. Furthermore, there was another motif that included regret that Eichmann’s work was not completed. This may be viewed as a hybrid response that both recognizes the events (the fact that they are sorry that they were not completed) and at the same time refuses to recognize the events, due to the emotional complexity of recognizing an aggressor as a victim. Expression of such complexity was evident in an op-ed published on 21 March 1997 in Haaretz by Hazem Sariya, who argued that it is difficult to accept that ‘even the devil [the Jews] was once an angel’. According to Sariya, recognizing the Holocaust entails acceptance that the Jews are the ultimate victim, which conflicts with the Palestinians’ experience of themselves as victims in the present.
The third and most significant stage in the Holocaust discourse commenced in the late 1970s, whereby the Arabs began to adopt and rely on the arguments of ‘professional’ Holocaust deniers in the West in attempt to provide a scientific semblance to their claims. The Holocaust denial discourse underwent a type of ‘ramping up’ when, for the first time, the Arabs began to adopt pseudo-scientific and pseudo-historic arguments as the foundations of their statements. Thus, for example, Mahmoud Abbas, current Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman and president of the Palestinian Authority, based his doctoral thesis titled ‘The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism’ on Western Holocaust deniers, including Robert Faurisson who claimed that the gas chambers were not meant for the killing of the Jews but to cremate bodies so as to prevent the spread of disease. Abbas’ conclusion was that the number of Jewish victims who died in the Holocaust was less than 6 million:
After the war information was disseminated that six million Jewish victims died in the Holocaust. It was disseminated as if the war of extermination referred mainly to the Jews … the number of Jewish victims may be six million and may be much less, even less than one million. It seems that it is the interest of the Zionist movement to inflate the numbers of the war casualties so that their achievements and benefits would be as great as possible, which led to the fixation of these numbers in the global public opinion, so that the latter would feel more guilty and have more sympathy toward Zionism. Scholars discussed the number six and reached amazing conclusions, according to which the number of Jewish victims was no more than several hundreds of thousands.
By this time, the Holocaust discourse had adopted the tactic of citing studies, reports, and official documents, distorting them or taking them out of context. For example, Muhammad Nimr Madany published a book which argued that the ‘final solution to the Jewish problem’ (i.e. the Nazi plan for the extermination of European Jewry) was a programme to resettle them in Palestine and establish a Zionist entity. According to Madany, Hitler was in fact doing the Zionists’ bidding by assisting them to realize their dream of an independent state while the Zionists, for their part, betrayed him by inventing lies.
Today, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, Holocaust denial in the media and in Arab public discourse has become ‘normalized’. In an official response to the Stockholm Convention published in 2000, Hamas even went as far as to declare its official position in support of Holocaust denial.
What is supposedly called the Holocaust … is an unfounded invented story … the inventions of these grand illusions of a supposed crime that never happened … clearly reveals the racist face of the Zionists who believe in the superiority of the Jewish race over all other nations.
Furthermore, Hamas prevents United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA) in Gaza from teaching about the Holocaust, which it calls ‘a false Zionist story’.
Several arguments currently dominate Arab media and the discourse of Holocaust denial. A key argument is that the Holocaust was invented by the Jews in order to promote their own interests. For example, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad quickly declared early in his term in 2005 that he rejected the historical argument that the Nazis burned millions of Jews and imprisoned them in concentration camps. According to Ahmadinejad, this was a myth and deception fabricated by the Zionists. Another example is found in an item published by Saeb Ali Jerwan in a Palestinian daily, in which he wrote that ‘[the] distorted myth called the “Holocaust” and is exploited [by the Jews] to generate emotions in their favor’. He also added that ‘the propagation of this myth in the West is proof of the Jews’ control of global media at the expense of the Palestinians, whose catastrophe was not awarded similar recognition’. The official daily of the Palestinian Authority, several days before the 2001 Holocaust Memorial Day, published the following article, titled ‘Marketing the Ashes’:
Zionist propaganda has turned [the Holocaust] into a means for gaining economic and political gains … and the number of six million Jews who were burned in the Nazi Auschwitz camps is a propaganda lie … Is there no expiry date for this chicken that lays golden eggs for the Jews?… If Zionism fails to find an enemy that oppresses and banishes the Jews, it invents one by itself, and such is the case of the Holocaust.
Another argument used in the Arab discourse is that it was not feasible for the Nazis to kill 6 million Jews in such a short time. An example of this argument appears in an item in the Egyptian newspaper al-Akhbar, in which an Egyptian priest of Cairo University states that ‘even if we delete a zero from the six million, and are left with one-tenth of this number, this would still be an exaggeration and would call for investigation’. Abdel Rahman Abbad, Secretary General of the Muslim Soldiers and Ulama, explained on the official Palestinian Authority television channel why this number is an exaggeration:
[The Jews] inflate every act that others perform against any Jew in the world. This is the context in which the Holocaust issue emerges, an issue that [preoccupies] the entire world … There is a place called ‘Yad Vashem of the Holocaust and Heroism’ that speaks of the killing of six million Jews, even though it is known that there were not six million Jews on the entire European continent.
Paradoxically, the same discourse that denies, minimizes, and depreciates the events of the Holocaust also seeks to equate the actions of the Nazis—which allegedly never happened—with Israel’s alleged atrocities against the Palestinians. ‘Treblinka camp may not have been real, but Khiam camp in southern Lebanon is also real. It is possible that the Auschwitz camp was witness to a huge massacre, but so was Qana camp in southern Lebanon’ (Muhammad Samak in al-Haram). Elsewhere, a government-funded Egyptian newspaper stated that Israel’s foundation is blatantly of a Nazi character and that it operates ‘according to the same Nazi logic, according to which they are superior to everyone and they have the right to rob people, exploit their resources, and impose their will on others’. Attempts to draw a parallel between past events and current events have expanded and reached new heights. Today, the Arab world both denies and praises the Holocaust, disparages the non-completion of the Holocaust, equates the Holocaust with the Palestinian Nakba, and also adopts the Holocaust by expropriating the Holocaust discourse to promote its own goals.
Palestinian Appropriation and Representation of the Holocaust Discourse
Following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 the Arabs began writing historical accounts and structuring their identities, creating mirror images of the Holocaust, using terminology associated with the annihilation of the Jews. The Jewish Holocaust discourse had a powerful impact on the Palestinian Nakba narrative, which became a founding myth in Palestinian identity, with the term Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’, coined by the Syrian scholar Constantin Zureik as early as August 1948 to describe the Arab failure to destroy the nascent Jewish state at birth as ‘one of the most difficult experiences that the Arabs suffered along their long history’ whereby ‘a land was taken from its inhabitants in order to become the homeland of a group of people who arrived from all ends of the earth and who established a state despite the objections of the country’s owners’. Immediately after the 1948 war, even before the scope of the Palestinian dispersal had been fully recognized, Zureik stated that the situation between the Jews and the Palestinians had reversed itself: ‘The displacement and expulsion that had characterized Jewish fate now became the fate of Palestinians.’ After the war, defeat and expulsion were to become experiences that would shape the Palestinian self-consciousness and undermine their motivation to lead a national struggle; the subsequent 1967 defeat reinforced their sense of misery and despair, as was the case in the 1973 war.
Only in the mid-1990s, with the collapse of the Oslo Accords and the growing animosity between the parties did the Palestinians enter a post-revolutionary period and begin to incorporate the Nakba into their national identity and struggle. The change in the Nakba’s centrality marked the beginning of national recovery. In that period, Arab intellectuals and public opinion leaders became increasingly dissatisfied with the representation of the Holocaust in Arab discourse. In this period, a new approach to the Holocaust emerged, challenging the denial discourse, seeking to replace it with a discourse that recognized the Jewish tragedy and drew universal lessons from the Holocaust events. These efforts were strongly criticized but also removed part of the taboo from the use of Holocaust terminology. Holocaust terminology was gradually introduced into the terminology of the Palestinian struggle and the Nakba became ‘the moral heir of the Holocaust’.
The Nakba memory became a ‘counter-memory’ to the Jewish Holocaust. Seeking to imitate the Jewish moral and political empowerment derived from the collective recollection of a mass tragedy, the Arabs transformed the ‘Jewish problem’ into the ‘Palestinian problem’ whereby the Palestinians were depicted as ‘victims of the victims’, or in the words of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish: ‘The Jews’ Jews.’ Taysir Khalid, member of the PLO executive committee, put it in similar terms:
He [President Obama] spoke yesterday of the suffering of the Jews; we also speak of the suffering of the Jews, and against the suffering of the Jews during the regime of … the cruel Nazi regime. But that was 70 years ago. He forgets that the victims of the Nazi regime, the victims of the cruel Nazi [regime], are perpetrating the same methods, the same criminal methods. He forgot, Barack Obama.
Standard vocabulary from the Jewish discourse was thus incorporated into the Arab discourse: the combination ‘Nakba and resistance’ was coined on the basis of the combination ‘Holocaust and revival’. ‘Diaspora’, ‘genocide’ and ‘memory’ are all terms coined by the Jews yet adopted by the Arabs. The national Arab discourse came to be based on the discourse of victims and misery inspired by the Jews. Palestinian academic Isam Salim of the Islamic University in Gaza stated:
False arguments began to sprout about Jews being murdered here and there and about the Holocaust. Of course all these lies and claims are baseless. No Dachau! No Auschwitz! These were only sites of disinfection. They started to create propaganda in the media about being persecuted, murdered, and exterminated. After the war, investigative committees began to operate and in 1946, they operated here and there in order to create this entity [Israel], this entity was implanted as a cancer on our land, the land of our forefathers, our land and our children’s land. They always portrayed themselves as victims and made an exhibition of Holocaust and Heroism (Yad Vashem). What heroism? And what Holocaust? Our nation is the heroic one, and the Holocaust was perpetrated against our nation. We were the victims, but we will not remain victims forever!
The Arabs thus adopted the metaphors of the Holocaust to define the Jews and Nazis. They aspire to be the ‘generation of the Holocaust with rocks in their hands’. They view themselves as the real Jews and as those who live in exile. This approach is reflected both metaphorically but also tangibly in the persistence of terms that reinforce a sense of victimhood, such as insistence on use of the term ‘refugees’ even though an individual is no longer considered a refugee after three generations. Metaphorically, the motif of the Jew is reproduced as a Nazi who persecutes the Palestinians. For example, only recently Fatah published on its Facebook page a caricature showing an Israeli rocket marked by a Nazi cross, landing on a Palestinian child Figure 1 who is running with a fork and plate in his hand.
A senior PLO/PA official, Jibril Rajoub, said in a television interview that Hitler could learn about cruelty and evil from the Zionists:
I am sure that had Hitler returned, he would learn from them about the art of breaking people’s spirits, humiliating people, causing suffering, destroying people, and mass massacres. The world should come and see the centers of the cities Hebron and Nablus.
Edwards called this appropriation of Holocaust metaphors ‘the theft of the Holocaust’. This phenomenon allows the Arabs to introduce meaning and to restructure reality ‘at the expense’ of events that, tragic as they may be, are not comparable with the dimensions of the Holocaust.
Despite the fundamental difference between genocide and a struggle between two rival nations, the Arabs make frequent use of the term ‘karitha’, or holocaust. In this manner, they attempt to convey and clarify the extent of their catastrophe and the suffering caused to them since the Jewish state was founded. Thus, by appropriating Holocaust terminology, the Holocaust for Arabs is no longer a German‒European‒Christian product but a product of the Middle East. In their view, it was not the Third Reich that brought the Holocaust but the renewed settlement of Jews in Palestine in the early twentieth century, the massive immigration to Palestine, the British Mandate, the UN resolution and proclamation of the Jewish state in 1948—they are the Arab holocaust. Hamas summarized this in a television programme in 2009 broadcast on the occasion of the Pope’s visit: ‘Come here [to Gaza], Pope No. 16! Come and see the tragedy of the Palestinian people instead of going to the Wailing Wall, instead of going to what is called [the museum] of the fictitious Zionist holocaust.’
A review of the Arab-Palestinian discourse with regard to the national struggle reveals jargon that corresponds to the Israeli-Jewish discourse concerning Holocaust events. For example, the Jews’ ‘right of return’ promised to them in the Bible, was replaced by the Palestinians’ right to return to the place from which they were banished; the refugees after the Holocaust have been replaced by Palestinian refugees; the victims of the Holocaust who are referred to as having sacrificed their life as martyrs (kedoshim) have become the ‘shahids’ of the Palestinian discourse, who die for their homeland. Expulsion, escape, selection, and camps—experienced by the Jews in World War II—have found their way into the Nakba narrative:
In the course of the 1948 war, the Zionist gangs established detention camps for the civil population that was arrested after being banished from the villages. These camps were and are similar to the camps established by Nazi Germany in World War II … it has already been proven in the past that their method of operation was … to divide [them] into three groups by their destiny: expulsion, execution, or arrest.
The concentration camps and ghettos of the Jews became the refugee camps in the West Bank and transformed Gaza into a ghetto. The German work camps became Jewish work camps: ‘The Palestinian prisoners were exploited for forced labour by the Israeli military leadership … they were used for any labour that might bolster the Israeli economy and its military abilities Figures 2-4.’
The Jewish prime minister is Hitler; the Jews who are silent are comparable to the German citizens who took no action to oppose the Nazi regime; the persecution of and crimes against the Jews are now persecution of and crimes against the Palestinians:
It appears as if the national Palestinian Authority is subject to war on several fronts simultaneously … among the explosive items – the crazed settlement item that Netanyahu’s government continues through racist settlers that act similarly to crazy wounded wolves that are excited by the smell of blood, and whose actions against our nation are more despicable than any Zionist account of the Nazi Holocaust.
In Arab Holocaust denial, the Israelis have replaced the Nazi death pits with their own death pits:
They gathered all the men in rows, with 7-8 in a row. They told them to dig a deep ditch in the cemetery along the fence where the museum now is … the first row stood near the ditch, they shot at them with automatic revolvers, they died, and then they asked the second row to bury them, and in this way [they killed them] one row after another.
The ovens of the Nazis have similarly been replaced by those of the Jews:
They [the Israelis] are the ones committing the holocaust, their knife cuts into the length and breadth of our flesh…They opened the ovens to burn people in them. They destroyed the villages and burned the cities. And when one oven stopped operating, they turned on another hundred. Their hands are bloody with the blood of our children.
The mass extermination of the Jews has become the mass extermination of the Palestinians, as one senior Fatah official stated:
[The Israeli occupation is committing] mass destruction [in Gaza] like the Nazis committed in Europe in the 1940s, while the world remains silent, with the exception of a few voices here and there, and our Arab home front is paralyzed.
The Jewish tragedy has thus been turned upside down and incorporated into the Palestinian narrative in support of the Palestinian cause. Holocaust denial coexists with Holocaust exploitation precisely because the Holocaust did indeed occur.
Holocaust denial existed even as smoke rose from the crematoriums. While it seemed at the time that this phenomenon resulted from human incapacity to comprehend the extent of the catastrophe or the magnitude of evil, as the gas chambers cooled it became increasingly clear that Holocaust denial was not based on an inability to comprehend but on a lack of willingness to acknowledge the wrongs done to the Jews. Since the end of World War II, Holocaust denial has shifted from a marginalized objectionable practice to a position at the centre of the Arab-Palestinian discourse. The Holocaust, which until the end of the twentieth century Holocaust deniers mainly sought to disregard, minimize, and depreciate, became at the beginning of the twenty-first century an entire world of concepts and representations that could be used to tug at the world’s conscience on behalf of the supposed Palestinian victims and their misery. This trend occurred concurrently with the growing intensity of the Holocaust discourse, and the Arab world does not recognize the inherent contradiction that this poses. For example, while adopting an official position of Holocaust denial Hamas is one of the leading users of Holocaust symbols, terms, and representations in its national struggle against Israel. This is a paradox that points to several trends. First, it points to Palestinian unwillingness to recognize the Holocaust, contrary to the belief that the Holocaust never occurred. Second, the Palestinians view the establishment of the State of Israel as an example of how victims can be leveraged for national revival. As long as Israel left the Holocaust in a concealed place in its collective memory, the Palestinians could not make extensive use of it. It is ironic that the centrality of the Holocaust in Israeli and global discourse is what makes it possible to mobilize and transfer the powerful emotions triggered by one event to another event. The term ‘Nazi’ for example is not merely an insult but a carefully selected word that has deep historical significance and emotional connotations that go beyond the conscious level. It is the very veracity of the events and their strong incorporation into the national and international discourse that propels Palestinians to increasingly deny the Holocaust and appropriate its concepts. The Palestinians, who consider themselves the indirect victims of the Holocaust, deny the event, apparently due to the inability to apprehend any weakness in the stronger party or feel compassion for those they consider the source of their own catastrophe. The denial discourse is thus integrally entwined in the representation discourse. Arguably, if the Palestinians were truly convinced that the Holocaust is a myth, they would not make such extensive use of it to promote their own interests.