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“.