A challenge to David Cesarani



by Lenni Brenner
24 September 2006



To: kate.kazeniac@perseusbooks.com

Hi Kate,

I promised to review David Cesarani's book and I'll keep my word. But I have a proposal that will bring even more publicity to Becoming Eichmann.

I'm going to Scotland, 1/21-27/07. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign is presenting performances of Perdition, a play by the late Jim Allen. He based his play on a chapter in my book, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. Now I'll accompany it with lectures and documents.

In 1987, Cesarani and Martin Gilbert, another historian, were instrumental in getting London's Royal Court Upstairs theater to stop rehearsals of the play on the grounds that it was it was biased against Zionism, anti-Semitic, etc. Allen & I then debated Gilbert and a leader of the British Zionist movement on nationwide TV, after enormous publicity generated by the closing down of the play. Cesarani later admitted, in London's Jewish Chronicle, that the British public felt that the Zionists had deprived them of their right to see the play and make up their own minds about its merits. Subsequently the play was produced on several occasions with praise from important critics. And now Ken Loach, Perdition's director for Allen in 1987, has won the top film prize at Cannes.

Naturally I'll discuss Cesarani's role, then, and his present book which, among other things, deals with relations between Eichmann and Reszö Kasztner, the Zionist who Allen denounced as a collaborator. But I propose that Cesarani and I go further and debate the factual merits of Perdition and the larger question of Zionist/Nazi relations.

We could debate in Scotland or his home city, London, either during my stay in Scotland or immediately before or after 1/21-27. And we can look for a TV or radio show that will carry the event.

I'm an author making a proposal to a fellow author. We all want publicity for our books. If he accepts my challenge, win, lose or draw, the wide British public will know about Becoming Eichmann.

Naturally, if you have any questions re this proposal, contact me immediately. But can you pass this note along to Cesarani? And can you send me his email address so that I can deal with him directly?

Thanks, in advance, for your time and trouble in this regard,

Lenni Brenner
BrennerL21@aol.com