Quote of the Day – 16th in our series: "Memory is a political issue"

Today’s quote of the Day – the 16th in our series — comes from remarks made by Israeli historian Tom Segev, interviewed by Ed Sanders in the Los Angeles Times about the significance of the 1961 trial in Jerusalem of Nazi officer Adolph Eichmann, months after Eichmann was captured and secretly abducted from a hiding place in Latin America by Israeli Mossad agents.

As’ad AbuKhalil (The Angry Arab News Service blog) linked to the interview, criticizing Sanders for asking, in a question, why Eichmann was the only person ever to have ever been given the death penalty and executed [he was hung] in Israel.

As’ad noted: “the writer then said: ‘Since Eichmann, Israel has not put anyone else to death. Why?’. Excuse me, but Israel has killed thousands since then but it does not put people to death after a trial anymore. In the case of Arabs, it kills them without trial. Eh, what does it call that? Targeted assassinations?”   This is posted both on the Angry Arab blog, and on his website here .

The interview, apparently inspired by an exhibit in an Israeli museum, is a fascinating exchange.

Sanders wrote: “Fifty years ago this month, Israel seemed to grind to a halt as people huddled around radios, listening to testimony in the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Captured by Israeli secret service agents in Argentina in 1960, Eichmann was tried, and eventually executed, as a chief architect of the Holocaust, in which 6 million European Jews were killed”. The interview is published here.

At the time of the Eichmann trial, Sanders reported, about one-fourth of Israel’s population were Holocaust survivors.

In the interview, Segev told Sanders:
“In a Cabinet meeting minutes three or four days after Eichmann’s capture, [Prime Minister] David Ben-Gurion talks about the need to bring the Holocaust closer to the new Israeli generation, which knows nothing about the Holocaust. Most of the meeting dealt with PR…. All the details are related to selling two ideas: A.) this is a sovereign country with a right to judge the criminal who hurt our citizens. And B.) that Israel represents the Holocaust victims. Israel may not represent the entire Jewish people. This would be too sensitive, especially vis-a-vis Jews in America. But it [Israel] does represent the 6 million victims“.

Continue reading Quote of the Day – 16th in our series: "Memory is a political issue"

Quote of the Day – 15th in our series: from Netanyahu's interview with CNN

In a silly but revealing interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu made several noteworthy quotes.

The choice, for our Quote of the Day series, however, will go to his remarks explicitly saying that “several Palestinian terrorists” are responsible — though no one has yet been charged, much less tried or convicted — for the bloody murders, a week ago, of five members of a Israeli settler family in their home in the Itamar settlement in the northern West Bank, not far from Nablus.

It was the first time that Netanyahu — or any Israeli government official, for that matter — had made such a specific accusation, though in the media and among the general population, this was the immediate and enduring assumption.

Netanyahu’s explanation segues into an argument about the settlements, and about who wants peace more…

Here are the exact words, from the CNN transcript, posted :

“MORGAN: Prime Minister, there was a horrific murder of the Fogel family last week. The details of which are chilling to read. What was your reaction to that, and where are you with the investigation into the perpetrators?

NETANYAHU: This was horrific. It was savagery. I mean, several Palestinian terrorists came into the home of this Jewish family in the West Bank. They stabbed a three-month old baby girl in the heart, cut her throat. They stabbed her four-year old brother in the heart, cut him in the throat. They stabbed the father with another child and stabbed the mother and left them dying in their blood. And then I visited the family and I saw the 12-year-old girl, a sister who came home and saw this unbelievable massacre. So obviously the first response is sheer horror. And my second response was to send a message to the settlers to contain their rage and not respond because we’d have a cycle of reprisals so I asked them to – not to take the law in their own hands, not to have vigilante actions because this would – could generate a blood bath. I thought that was important to stop that. But we’re now looking for the killers. We’ll find them.

MORGAN: Are you making progress?

NETANYAHU: Some. Some. I think we’ll find them.

Continue reading Quote of the Day – 15th in our series: from Netanyahu's interview with CNN