From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust, Meir Litvak and Esther Webman’s impressively researched chronicle of Arab attitudes toward the Holocaust, has won the prestigious Gold Prize—including a cash award of $30,000—in The Washington Institute’s 2010 Book Prize competition. This sweeping account, based largely on Arab public commentary and other Arabic-language sources, covers six decades of postwar history and documents how, after the establishment of the State of Israel, Arab attitudes toward the Holocaust influenced—and were shaped by—broader anti-Zionist sentiment.
The Washington Institute Book Prize, now in its third year, was established to highlight new nonfiction books on the Middle East and is among the world’s most lucrative literary awards.
The Institute awarded the 2010 Silver Prize ($15,000) to Lebanese journalist and public intellectual Michael Young, opinion editor of the Beirut-based Daily Star, for his compelling personal narrative The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle. The Bronze Prize ($5,000) recipient is historian Jeffrey Herf for Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, a vivid examination of the Nazi propaganda campaign aimed at Arabs and Muslims of the Middle East during World War II.
“This year’s award winners include two outstanding examples of rising public interest in the long-overlooked history of the Holocaust’s impact in the Middle East, including the complex relationship between the Holocaust and Arab-Israeli relations,” noted Institute executive director Dr. Robert Satloff. “And we are particularly delighted to recognize the contribution made by Michael Young, whose powerful memoir brings to light the sordid politics that undermine the very idea that Lebanon represents.”
Winners were chosen by a three-person jury: Washington Post editorial board member Jackson Diehl, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, and distinguished historian Walter Laqueur.