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© Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
A young opposition supporter kisses an Egyptian flag as he is carried on his father's shoulders among the crowd in Tahrir Square
A "Holocaust" historian and former Israeli kibbutznik, "Professor David Cesarani, floated the idea of there being a Tiananmen Square-style massacre in Egypt as a way of quelling potential post-Mubarak anarchy.

"And there has been no outrage. No Twitterstorm, no blog-based apoplexy, no heated radio phone-ins. Perhaps talking about the massacre of Egyptians is normal these days.

"Professor Cesarani was asked by Michael Portillo about the 'moral dilemma' of how to deal with what comes after Mubarak. What if it's worse than Mubarak? Should it be crushed?

"Professor Cesarani said that if one takes the 'wholly pragmatic view,' then 'the outcome of a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown is desirable and is predictable.' Because, he said, 'if you allow this popular democratic movement to run on unchecked, you cannot predict what's going to happen. But you can predict probably that after a short, sharp, massive clampdown at huge human cost, there will be a sullen stability.'

"Portillo was startled. 'Quite a lot of people would be quite shocked to hear what you said - that a Tiananmen-style outcome would be desirable.'

"Cesarani responded that, 'The West is no longer weeping that much over Tiananmen Square because we're doing a lot of business with China. So, many business interests would say, quietly, that, perhaps, well the way in which the Chinese managed their transition was preferable.'

"Another panellist, Matthew Taylor, former adviser to Tony Blair and now chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, later described Cesarani's comments on Tiananmen Square as 'incredibly brave' and said: 'In a way, I can see his argument."

- Brendan O'Neill

David Cesarani is professor of history at Royal Holloway, University of London, England. He advised the British government office responsible for "Holocaust" memorial day and was a member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office delegation to the Intergovernmental Taskforce for "International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research." He is the editor of The Final Solution: Origins and Implementation (1994) and Bystanders to the Holocaust: A Re-evaluation (2002) and the author of Justice Delayed: How Britain Became a Refuge for Nazi War Criminals (1992).