I learned today with sadness that David Cesarani, public historian, researcher and educator on the Holocaust, has died. Although we were at several meetings together I did not know David, but first encountered his work in his biography of Koestler. Later I noticed him on BBC Radio 4 where he was a frequent contributor on Holocaust topics and also argued against the BDS campaign to exclude Israelis from UK academic life. At Engage we followed his enlightening pieces on the boycott and antisemitism with appreciation. He was a haven of objective, scholarly impartiality in a blizzard of misinformation about Israel. He recognised the boycott’s antisemitic associations and in the mood about Israel he perceived, as he put it, “British self-exculpation” about the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Some prime Cesarani – from 2006, The left’s anti-semitism can’t go unchallenged; from 2009 on the Tories’ problematic relationship with European right-wing parties; from 2008 on Britain’s historical role in the Israel-Palestine conflict; from 2011, taking a dim view of Kosminksy’s The Promise; from 2013 for Holocaust Memorial day. A contributor to the Holocaust Educational Trust, There are plenty more links to be found by searching Engage, and via his Guardian page. His more formally academic work also features heavily in Engage’s bibliography.
His wisdom is still with us.