Word crimes: reclaiming the language of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Holocaust inversion

KLAFF, Lesley (2019). Word crimes: reclaiming the language of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Holocaust inversion. Israel studies, 24 (2), 73-90.

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Official URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/israelstudies...
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.2979/israelstudies.24.2.07


The word 'Holocaust', which literally means "a complete burned sacrifice" has been accepted in the English speaking world as the principal referent to the Nazi mass murder of Jews (and other groups) since the capture of Eichmann in 1960 and his trial in 1961. Some texts describe the Holocaust in broader terms to include within its boundaries not just the murder of Jews but all the Nazi Government's antisemitic actions from 1933. Today the word 'Holocaust' has been revived in political debates concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to describe Israel's behaviour towards, and treatment of, the Palestinians. This is problematic because the name given to an event together with the understanding of that name significantly affects the perception and understanding of that event, and because the use of "holocaust" with non-Nazi referents is of concern to those with some investment in guarding and perpetuating the memory of the Jewish slaughter of the Hitler period. This article considers the contemporary use of the Holocaust as a means to criticise Israel and "the Jews" in political debates concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with particular reference to Britain and concludes with the view that antisemitism has returned to Britain in the guise of anti-Nazism.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Holocaust, holocaust inversion, antisemitism, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Nazi, IHRA Definition.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Law and Criminology Research Group
Departments: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Law and Criminology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.2979/israelstudies.24.2.07
Depositing User: Lesley Klaff
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2018 08:50
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019 14:45
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22901

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