I was just reading a Haaretz story about the orchestrated Israeli government campaign against Human Rights Watch in response to the latter’s support for the Goldstone Report. The article noted that Elie Wiesel signed a letter to the Guardian which praised Robert Bernstein’s bitter, disjointed diatribe against HRW in the NY Times Op Ed section. But this passage really stood out:
Human Rights Watch said that the criticism has come from right-wing blogs, but also from Israeli non-profit groups, such as NGO Monitor in Jerusalem, which is funded by U.S. donors and includes Elie Wiesel on its advisory board.
I can remember when I was a teenager in the 1960s, my rabbi took me to hear Elie Wiesel speak at local synagogues throughout the N.Y. metropolitan area. In those days, Wiesel was viewed as a cross between a Jewish saint and seer. Night had just come out and he was THE Jewish witness to the unspeakable horror of the Holocaust.
But Elie Wiesel has long since ceased serving that role. He is morally conflicted about opposing the Occupation fearing that his opposition will be used against Israel by anti-Semites or some such. This perspective has long ceased to have any legitimacy if it ever did.
The news that Wiesel sits on the board of one of the most odious far-right Israeli NGOs seals the deal as far as I’m concerned. Wiesel might as well be a Likudnik (maybe he is). Henceforth, I will consider him such.
Here are the other NGO Monitor board members with whom Wiesel is keeping company : Judea Pearl, Alan Dershowitz, Martin Gilbert, James Woolsey AND Elliot Abrams. You know what happens when you lay down with dogs like these…
I read “Night” and was amazed by Wiesel’s candor and his courage. He understands suffering on the most intimate and spiritual level. This is why I find it impossible to understand his willingness to deny the suffering of the Palestinian people. I guess I find it difficult to understand this of the Jewish people as a whole, although there are many who are trying to push back against the inhumanity of Zionism and its victimization of Palestinians.
I am beginning to see the crass sniping and dirty fighting against the human rights organizations by Israel as acts of desperation. Finally, the chickens are coming home to roost and Israel sees the world will no longer allow them to continue brutalizing the Palestinians.
Elie Wiesel is an odious hypocrite who has made a profession out of being a Holocaust victim.
He said he lost all his $15M holocoust-fund through Madoff. At 10%/yr with Madoff, over 10 yr, he would have had put in $7M only. A great mind he is.
Well, I do hope the old man will not starve to death without his $15M, though I suppose if he had $7M to throw at Madoff, he must still be OK.
Elie Wiesel has irritated me ever since I read his unbearably self-righteous open letter “To a Young Palestinian Arab” years ago. Only people that are able to criticize their own have moral authority. I do not think he deserves the status he has in the U.S.
The fact that someone is able to speak or write eloquently, even about humanity and human feelings, is no guarantee that he is in fact a decent human being. In fact, being a professional Holocaust victim as Elie Wiesel clearly is, is more than a little bit creepy. He has said some wonderful things, but if he does not live by them himself, and he clearly does not where Israel is concerned, then he is a hypocrite and a phony.
Richard Silverstein says
The problem w. Wiesel & so many other Jews is that they are schizoid when it comes to Israel. When they deal with the world they are open, liberal, tolerant, even progressive. When they deal w. Israel they retreat into some other atavistic survival mode they often betrays those other values. There is clearly a disconnect between those two states of being in the world.
yaacov lozowick says
Have you ever noticed that the bulk of your blog is either ad-hominem attacks, innuendo, a dash of specualtion, and general bad mouthing? Ah, and lots of point-scoring, as in “I know what I’m talking about and you don’t”. There’s lots of that.
It convinces only the people who see the world as you do, of course, but as for the rest of us, not only is it not convincing or even particularly interesting, it’s mostly simply distatsteful.
I expect you’ll delete this for being what you call “snarky”, but any reasonable reader (of which you don’t seem to have many) wuold agree that your own bad manners are far worse.
Richard Silverstein says
Yes, I had noticed many of my right-wing pro-Israel readers’ contributions could be characterized that way.
I’m rather amused that people with yr political views presume you’re in the majority based on such slim evidence. Shall we compare how many readers you have to my blog’s readership?
I’m absolutely crestfallen to learn that I’ve disappointed you. I’ll just have to close up shop & learn how to reform myself. Perhaps you can begin by giving me lessons in the truly tasteful.
This is the 4th time you’ve written a comment saying you predicted or expected I’d delete it. You’d think you’ve learned yr lesson by the 2nd or 3rd time. If you really DO want yr comment deleted read my comment rules & write something that violates them. Then I’ll be happy to take the action you seem to hope for & expect.
Bad manners? I didn’t know you’re the arbiters of manners. Where did you learn yours & what gives you the right to determine the quality of anyone else’s??
Yaacov, you’re yacking here. Apologists for Israeli bad behavior need to make up their mind whether they’re going to stick with the old tried and true, “the whole evil world is out to get us because they hate us” line, which would infer you’re an embattled minority arguing against a massive world majority, or whether you’re going to whine, as you do here, that we’re some radical leftist “fringe” (you idiots don’t seem to even notice the basic contradiction). You just see-saw back and forth between one line or the other, depending on the circumstances. Just pick one narrative, already.
Of course, inconvenient to your jibe here is the fact, pointed out by Richard, that his blog gets far more readership and traffic than your far right-wing blog does.
Once the corrupting, distortive influence/pressure on American foreign policy is successfully countered, and once the effective guilt-tripping of Germany to get her to toe the line on Israel ceases to be effective, the Western world will more uniformly isolate Israel until she decides to behave in a humane, at least somewhat civilized manner toward her neighbors and currently (illegally) occupied ‘subjects’. It’s a matter of time, but as time passes, the occupied Palestinians continue to suffer horribly, particularly in blockaded Gaza.
Conrad Barwa says
I haven’t read ‘Night’ in Europe it made much less impact than Primo Levi’s work which takes a different attitude towards the Holocaust and is grounded more in a humanist background rather than mystical one.
That said, Wiesel, has really been discredited a long time ago in my eyes; there are a lot of global issues where the US could have made an impact and I don’t see Wiesel making an impact or devoting much attention to many of them. Spending lots of time and energy and being paid for telling us that the Holocaust was evil or why we should support Israel does not strike me as where much attention is needed. I always thought moral figures who seek to speak out on the international stage should try and give some ‘voice to the voiceless’ not back the powerful. Backing out of a genocide conference which was to include a discussion of the Armenian genocide – the first modern genocide and one which was explicitly referred to y Hitler – under Israeli pressure to avoid giving offence to their Turkish allies, was appalling and disgusting and to me was the last straw, indicating that this individual has no moral backbone to stand up for what is right, even when it might entail personal and social discomfiture.
this is ideologically consistent for Weisel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Irgun_members
Elie Wiesel. As a student in Sorbonne, Wiesel translated from Hebrew to Yiddish for the Irgun newspaper (November 1947 – January 1949).