Book Discussion: Genocide, the Holocaust and Israel-Palestine by Omer Bartov

Photo Courtesy: Bloomsbury Publishing


Omer Bartov’s Genocide, the Holocaust and Israel-Palestine discusses some of the most current debates over the study, commemoration and politicization of the Holocaust through key crucial perspectives. Bartov analyzes the tensions between Holocaust and genocide studies, which have repeatedly enriched and clashed with each other. He persuasively argues for the significance of personal testimony and local history in understanding mass murder’s nature, examining how legal rhetoric has both revealed and concealed individual and societal culpability. This book traces several first-person histories and lay a better understanding of events otherwise perceived as inexplicable and, lastly, draws on the author’s own personal trajectory to consider links between the fate of Jews in World War II and the plight of Palestinians during and in the aftermath of the formation of the state of Israel.



Bartov demonstrates that these five perspectives, rarely if ever previously discussed in a single book, are intricately linked, and shed much light on each other. Therefore the Holocaust and other genocides must be seen as interconnected catastrophes in the modern era. To understand such vast human tragedies necessitates scrutinizing them on the local and personal scale. This in turn calls for historical empathy, accomplished via personal-biographical introspection; and true, open-minded, and rigorous introspection, without which historical understanding tends toward obfuscation, brings to light uncomfortable yet clarifying connections, such as that between the Holocaust and the Nakba, the mass flight and expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948.



Omer Bartov

Co-Chair, Genocide, Holocaust and Disaster Studies and Member, Board of Governors, CGC; Samuel Pisar Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Brown University



Jan Gross

Norman B. Tomlinson ’16 and ’48 Professor of War and Society, Emeritus; and Professor of History, Emeritus, Princeton University


Benny Morris

Emeritus Full Professor, Department of Middle East Studies, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


Amal Jamal

Professor of Political Science and Head of the Walter Lebach Institute for the Study of Jewish-Arab Coexistence, Tel-Aviv University



Soumava Basu

Soumava Basu

President and Founder, CGC


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