Top critical review
An eye for an eye is not necessarily a good deal
on 12 July 2016
This book introduced the clichéd term “banality of evil” but I don't know what else. I found it confusing, obscure and badly written, like so much of the material published in the New Yorker where it first appeared in 1963.
Although Arendt was Jewish, she was critical of the Israeli authorities over what was obviously a show trial. She upset the Jewish establishment in the United States and elsewhere which has blatantly used the Holocaust for its own ends even to this day to establish an unshakeable alliance between the US and Israel, regardless of America's own interests. Arendt herself points out that the Arab population of Palestine bore no responsibility for the Holocaust but ended up suffering as a result.
One can understand this attitude by the American Jewish establishment as we are talking about a crime that was unparalleled in history but, at the same time, what did Israel gain by kidnapping Eichmann, flying him to Jerusalem and then executing him? An eye for an eye is not necessarily a good deal.
Israel has realized this. Its enemies are no longer anti-Semitic Europeans but its own Arab population and neighbors and it has never executed anyone since, regardless of the horror of the crimes committed. One wonders if one day an Israeli civil servant will be kidnapped from his place of residence in another country and taken to an Arab state, tried for the killings of thousands of Arab civilians and hanged a couple of hours later.
In finishing, I want to make it clear that I have nothing against Israel, a state for which I have a great deal of sympathy although Israel does not need anybody's sympathy as it can look after itself.