Prof. David Cesarani has replied to yesterday’s blog, as follows:
Dear Michael Hoffman,
I am not sure what your are referring to in the Daily Telegraph, but if you listen carefully to what I said on 'Moral Maze' you will hear that I did not recommend repression. I said that to policy makers in Whitehall and the White House stability is most important and the most predictable way to accomplish that in the short term is a Tiananmen Sq style solution. So it might appeal to some of them. I specifically said that I was glad that I was not forced to make such a decision. I was asked onto the programme partly to give a historical perspective and wanted to explain that (a) democratic revolutions do not always have benign, even democratic outcomes (b) the western powers don't usually care which way it goes as long as they can continue to do business - so it is wise to be wary of anything US or British or EU leaders say.
By the way, you may know that the 'lessons of the Holocaust' do not apply to the Palestinians but as someone who has been involved with the Israeli peace movement since 1982, I think they do.
The Daily Telegraph report concerning Cesarani’s statement is here.
Prof. Cesarani is referring to his appearance on the 45 minute "Moral Maze" BBC radio program of Feb. 2, which can be heard online here (he is the second “witness” on the program). He compares, for example, Christian Russia very unfavorably with Bibi Netanyahu’s “Israel,”and is then asked if it would be the right thing to crush the Egyptian opposition.
He replied, "If you were to take the pragmtaic, wholly expedient view of Whitehall or the White House, a Tiananmen Square style outcome would be desirable.”
When the interviewer expressed shock at Cesarani’s statement, Prof. Cesarani proceeds to say that "The West is no longer weeping that much over Tiananmen Square because we’re doing a lot of business with China. So, many business interests would say, quietly, that, perhaps, well the way in which the Chinese managed their transition was preferable.”
These are horrible, callous sentiments expressed by a “Holocaust human rights" activist. On the Contrary rejects Prof. Cesarani’s apologia, which amounts to pilpul. Moreover, if the “lessons of the Holocaust” apply to the Palestinians, in his view, how can he fail to include the Israeli state in the list of thug nations (allegedly like Russia) which he denominates?