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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Prof. David Cesarani replies to Hoffman

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.

Yours sincerely,
David Cesarani

(End quote)

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?



Noor al Haqiqa said...

What an absolutely ghastly sentiment. People do have some horrendous ideas and that is just as foul as columnist Virginia Ironside of The Independent newspaper by stating that she, like all "good mothers", would put a pillow over the head of her baby if it was suffering from a disability rather than deal with suffering "that could go on for years".

I have no illusions about the politics involved in Egypt but the people are trying to bring about change; whether they are being used or not, they are expressing what must be said.

If this man has taught his own childrem freedom of thought and the wherewithall to express such needs, would he be as cavalier if one or two of them were down in Tahrir?

Unknown said...

David Cesarani is, as many who are like him, trying to weasel himself out of what he said. He showed, as "Noor Al Haqiqa" said, "an absolutely ghastly sentiment".

Did the "professor" ever ponder why those young Egyptians in Tahrir Square are demonstrating?

I believe the professor knows. He also knows that establishment of democracy in Egypt maybe dangerous to Israel. I have heard this many times coming from Israel. Some of them even announced that they preferred dictatorship to democracy to safeguard the peace treaty concluded between them and Egypt.

What puzzles me, which is in the meantime contradictory to itself, is that Israel always took pride in being the only democratic country in the ME, and multiple time mentioned that Arabs were barbaric because they were not democratic.

Indeed hypocrisy is something one find himself forced to mention whenever he hears such callous sentiment and words which in my opinion are more than suggestive.

sportsnews said...

From Haaretz:

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, who heads the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the Yitzhar settlement, wrote in his book "The King's Torah" that even babies and children can be killed if they pose a threat to the nation.