The Holocaust is alive and well in the Jewish world, and it has become the subject of the largest and most powerful political and media campaigns in modern history.
From a small group of Jewish intellectuals in the 1930s, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the current Israeli-Arab conflict, to a series of recent Israeli governments and Israeli newspapers, and finally to the current war between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Jewish community has repeatedly and forcefully asserted its right to define the Holocaust in its own way.
It has also played a major role in the shaping of international law and international relations.
This article seeks to clarify and contextualize this central question in a way that is both comprehensive and inclusive.
The purpose is to explain why the Holocaust has remained so controversial and controversial in modern times, to identify key historical events, and to explore what it means to understand and talk about the Holocaust today.
The article begins with a discussion of the history of the concept of the “Holocaust,” and then goes on to examine the role of the Jewish people in the formation of international legal and political institutions and to discuss the current political and moral crisis faced by the Jewish state in the wake of the recent Gaza conflict.
It then considers how the Holocaust became so widely accepted, and what is needed to understand the historical circumstances surrounding its reception in modern society and to examine how it has shaped the way that Jews have responded to the challenges of contemporary life and the world.
The author concludes with a brief discussion of some of the ways in which the Holocaust may be understood today and asks why this is so.
© 2016 The Jerusalem University Press.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.