Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s public statements denying the Holocaust and challenging Israel shocked the Western world. However, Ahmadinejad’s statements had precedents in the Middle East. Political leaders in Israel and Palestine have politicized the Holocaust since it occurred. Israeli leaders have used the memory of the Holocaust to establish international support for the Israeli state, while Palestinian leaders have challenged Israeli narratives to establish support for the Palestinian cause. In championing the Palestinian cause by questioning established narratives of the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad, too, sought to increase political support and fulfill political goals. The history of the Holocaust has been less important in Middle Eastern discourse than the political ends to which it has been applied.
Palestinian uses of violent and nonviolent tactics are varied and diverse. Using Chenoweth and Stephan's quantitative and qualitative work on nonviolent versus violent movements, I show that when the Palestinians utilized nonviolent means against the Israeli occupation during the first intifada they was reasonably successful in gaining Israeli concessions. This is contrasted with the use of violent means during the second intifada, which caused harsh repression and sanctions from the Israelis. I conclude that if Palestinians desire to once again rise up against the occupation, they should do so through nonviolent means so as to have a higher probability of success.