Remembering the Historian Who Helped Shatter the Eichmann Myth

David Cesarani, a recently deceased historian of the Holocaust and of British Jewry, was among the first to demonstrate, on the basis of the documentary record, the falsity of Hannah Arendt’s depiction of Adolf Eichmann as a “banal” and faceless bureaucrat without ideological investment in Nazism. Jeffrey Herf explains:

[In 2004,] Cesarani was [the] first of historians writing outside Israel to come up with a seemingly obvious yet previously neglected idea. It was to read Israel’s pre-trial interrogation of Eichmann as well as the transcript of the Eichmann trial itself. . . . The transcript includes the verdict written by the three Israeli judges, Benjamin Halevi, Yitzḥak Raveh, and Moshe Landau. Cesarani’s accomplishment lay in part in bringing the judges’ verdict to the attention of an English-speaking audience. For the 40 years from 1964 to 2004, [the analysis of those] who knew the most about the case and who had studied it most closely had played almost no role in the international discussion of Eichmann. Instead, it was Arendt, who had been absent for many weeks of the most important parts of the trial, who dominated the global view of a man driven by bureaucratic punctiliousness and mindless obedience to orders. . . .

By informing readers of the nuanced, balanced, deeply informed, and sophisticated legal and historical verdict reached by the judges in Jerusalem, Cesarani shattered decades of condescension and ignorant neglect that had for too long obscured [the verdict] from global view.

Read more at Fathom

More about: Adolf Eichmann, Hannah Arendt, History & Ideas, Holocaust

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security