November 22, 2006

Lenni Brenner in the Jewish Chronicle and in full

Here's a letter from Lenni Brenner to the Jewish Chronicle. I have put in bold the bits that the Jewish Chronicle left out:
Your 10/11 article re January performances of Perdition, Jim Allen's 1987 play about Zionist collaboration with the Nazis in 1944 Hungary, says that it was "inspired" by my book, "Zionism in the Age of the Dictators," and that I've challenged historian David Cesarani to "a discussion about the play's Zionist-Nazi relations."

I now learn from your journal that he scorns the proposed debate as a "publicity stunt."

Indeed such an event would command attention, but to his "Becoming Eichmann." Perdition is already one of the most discussed plays in British history.

I hoped to confront Cesarani because pressure from Britain's Zionist establishment, and from him, with his "Report" on Perdition, got the Royal Court Upstairs Theatre to refuse to allow the play, already in rehearsal, to go on.

Their scheme backfired, as he confessed in your July 3, 1987 issue:

"Personal representations coincided with the threat of a mass protest outside the theatre, the combined effect of which made it seem as if pressure were being applied." As far as the public was concerned, it looked as if the theatre "had been bullied into censoring the play."

I hoped that he repented. Becoming Eichmann's paper jacket says that "Cesarani shows how Eichmann unexpectedly developed into the Reich's 'expert' on Jewish matters and reveals his initially cordial working relationship with Zionist Jews in Germany."

He admits that Eichmann went to Palestine in 1937 as the guest of Labor Zionist Fievel Polkes, "a Haganah agent," who "was prepared to offer help to Germany to extend its influence in the region if it facilitated an exodus of Jews to a Jewish national home." (p. 53)

It was a hop, skip and jump from Polkes to Reszo Kasztner, the real life 1944 Labor Zionist villain of Perdition. In a 1954-55 libel trial, he was declared guilty of collaboration by an Israeli judge who later tried Eichmann. Israel's Labor Zionist high court reversed the decision, but admitted that he wrongfully sent an exonerating statement on behalf of a war criminal to the Nuremberg courts. Except that who but a collaborator would do that?

In 2007 Cesarani still can't admit that he was wrong denouncing Perdition in 1987. So I'll have to debate an empty chair. That's OK. The 1987 public saw him and the Zionists as denying them the right to see the play and make up their own minds as to whether or not Zionists collaborated with Hitler. In 2007, the public will go to the play and accompanying lecture, in large part because of Zionist ranting against it, see the chair, and conclude that he knows that no one can defend Zionism's role in Hungary.

Lenni Brenner,
New York City
The JC letter is here.


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