Holocaust History: Academics Go To War Over The Best Way To Study the Holocaust


Ahead of international conference in Jerusalem, two rival camps of genocide scholars are at each other’s throats, including accusations of anti-Semitism and debates over the Holocaust

Remember the Jew who was stranded on a deserted island and built two synagogues: the one in which he worships and one in which he will never step foot?

It is hard to not think of this old joke in light of the ongoing spat between two rival camps of genocide scholars. This feud, which focuses on the question of how to best to study the Holocaust, is likely to reach new heights (or lows) this week with an international conference held in Jerusalem, which is hosted by one group and denounced by the other.

If the issue at hand — people’s unabating tendency to systematically massacre each other — wasn’t so tragic, the current academic controversy over it would almost be comical.

Mixing scholarly debate with nasty ad hominem attacks, the latest episode in this saga revolves around an Israeli scholar named Israel Charny. A co-founder of the world’s first association for genocide scholars, Charny is now accusing the competitor organization of marginalizing the Holocaust, delegitimizing the State of Israel and overall latent anti-Semitism.

Charny even conducted research — including hiring a surveying company — to demonstrate the other genocide scholars group’s alleged bias. The accused academics retort that his study on their alleged biases doesn’t stand up to scientific standards, questioning Charny’s scholarly credentials.

Read the Remainder at Times of Israel