Hobsbawm and His Admirers

This is a guest post by Paul Bogdanor

Almost 20 years ago, the communist historian Eric Hobsbawm gave the following answers in an interview:

Q: In 1934, millions of people are dying in the Soviet experiment. If you had known that, would it have made a difference to you at that time? To your commitment? To being a communist?
A: … Probably not…
Q: What that comes down to is saying that had the radiant tomorrow actually been created, the loss of 15, 20 million people might have been justified?
A: Yes.
(Times Literary Supplement, October 28, 1994)

More recently, the author David Pryce-Jones recalled witnessing another such exchange:

At a dinner to which we were both invited, [Hobsbawm] first glorified Castro’s Cuba to another guest, the British ambassador there at the time, and then went on to say that a nuclear bomb ought to be dropped on Israel, because it was better to kill 5 million Jews now than 200 million innocent people in a world war later.
(National Review, October 29, 2012)

Tomorrow, Independent Jewish Voices will be holding a book launch in London. IJV is a fringe group that likes to flaunt its ethical superiority to the vast majority of British Jews who do not hate the Jewish state.

IJV is dedicating the event to Eric Hobsbawm.