Benski, Tova, and Ruth Katz. “Women’s Peace Activism and the Holocaust: Reversing the Hegemonic Holocaust Discourse in Israel.” In The Holocaust as Active Memory: The Past in the Present (ed. Marie Louise Seeberg, Irene Levine, and Claudia Lenz; Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2013, reprinted 2016): 93-112.
The present chapter focuses on Holocaust discourse among activists of the Coalition of Women for Peace, and is an unexpected outcome of a longitudinal study of women’s peace movements in Israel since the late 1980s. The chapter is divided into four parts: First, we present theoretical perspectives of collective memory and trauma. We then turn to the construction of cultural memory of the Holocaust in Israel. The third section examines the socio-political space of the Coalition of Women for Peace, offering a rich description of its constituent groups, their value orientations, and activities. The fourth part, which forms the core of the chapter, centers on the CWP and the Holocaust, and presents the somewhat ambivalent analogies made by the women activists between the Holocaust and the current phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while identifying the various themes that dominate the specific Holocaust discourse that has evolved among these women.