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Jocelyn Bowie
College of Arts and Sciences

Last modified: Friday, February 17, 2012

Historian to address antisemitism and Holocaust denial in Iran

Feb. 17, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Meir Litvak, an Israeli scholar who specializes in the history of antisemitism, especially in the Middle East, will give a lecture next week at Indiana University on "Iranian Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial."

Litvak is a an associate professor in the Department of Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University, where he is director of the Center for Iranian Studies and a senior research fellow at the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. He will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, in Swain Hall East 105.

The lecture, sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, is free and open to the public. It comes at a time of increasing debate in the U.S. and internationally over what steps, from economic sanctions to military action, should be taken to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

"Professor Litvak is an eminent historian of modern-day antisemitism, especially in the Middle East, and Arab and Iranian responses to the Holocaust. Given the current prominence of Iran in the news, the lecture should be of great interest," said Alvin Rosenfeld, director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and the Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies and professor of English at IU Bloomington.

Litvak is the author of the award-winning "From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust," in which he and co-author Ester Webman track how attitudes toward the Holocaust became entangled with broader anti-Zionist and antisemitic sentiments in the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948.

He is also the author of "Shi'i Scholars in 19th Century Iraq: The Shi'i 'Ulama of Najaf and Karbala" and (with Moshe Aharonov) the forthcoming "Iran: From a Persian Empire to an Islamic Revolution," and of the chapter "Israel and Antisemitism" in the 2010 volume "Antisemitism: A History." An expert on modern Shi'i and Iranian history and modern Islamic movements, Litvak received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1991.

For more information on the lecture, contact the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism at 812-856-6014 or